An artist's impression of the back of the Bradbury Street terrace overlooking Gillett Square, after the development
The plans include constructing an additional 4th storey along the terrace and extending the rear elevation of the terrace further into the Gillett Square and encasing it within polycarbonate plastic and steel cladding. You can access the HCD planning drawings and reports using application number 2018/0792 here The public consultation officially closes on 7th May. If there are numerous objections the application will need to be decided by Hackney's Planning Committee in due course and not just its Head of Planning. You can comment on the application here or by sending an email quoting reference 2018/0792 to email@example.com
Architect's drawing of Gillett Square presently
The proposal has attracted controversy.The exterior walkways, and award-winning "market-pods" which provide affordable and start-up business space, will be removed despite having won widespread acclaim and which do so much to animate the square. The new exterior finish will be one more characteristic of a glossy corporate headquarters rather than affordable work spaces for local people. Hackney Co-Operative Developments (HCD) hope to build replacement pods on the other side of the square.
Architect's drawing of Gillett Square after development
HCD has been revealed not to be the model landlord one might have expected. Very few of its tenants have security of tenure and will simply be evicted if they don't accept HCDs terms for vacating. Although the development will be part-funded by public money from the GLA, HCD has refused to publish its financial viability projections for this costly scheme which produces relatively little new lettable space to justify the expense. To pay for the scheme rent rises in the future look likely . A joint letter from interested parties last October, urging HCD to adopt a more inclusive approach, was rejected.
Architect's drawing of the Bradbury Street front elevations showing the new 4th storey with pitched roof on top.
HCDs historic terrace is mirrored by a terrace of similar scale and period on the south side of Bradbury Street. HCD's heritage consultants comment that "The view along Bradbury Street is deemed an important View within the [Dalston] Conservation Area....[the terrace]possess aesthetic value and make a positive contribution to the Conservation Area."
Bradbury Street looking west lined with the historic Victorian terraces. the terrace to be developed is on the north/right side of the picture
The Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee, which is composed of independent local architects and heritage experts, has commented on HCD's scheme "The proposed building is too large and too high. The volume is overbearing on the Gillett Square side, but also detracts from the collection of buildings of Townscape Merit on Bradbury Street. The dominant pitched form of the roof extension is inappropriate in the predominantly Victorian context and would damage the quality and character of the conservation area." Despite the damage which the scheme would cause to the heritage value of Bradbury Street, HCD's consultants (somehow) conclude that the scheme will "will preserve and enhance Bradbury Street."
A computer modelled image of annual average overshadowing of the Gillett Square public space.
Although the public open space of Gillett Square will still meet official BRE guidelines for a minimum annual average of 2 hours sunlight over 50% of its area, the new development will reduce that area by about 18%. Then, when the north side of Gillett Square is finally developed, the area of sunlit public open space will be reduced further.
An Alternative Scheme
Here is a more modest alternative proposal for increasing affordable workspace by creating a simple mansard roof along the terrace. Without the high pitched roof which HCD proposes, a mansard would not dominate either Bradbury Street or Gillett Square. Neither would it involve spending valuable funds enclosing the building in plastic to create "break out spaces" which generate no additional rental income to pay for the scheme. This alternative would also leave the outdoor "market pods" in place, and the open walkways which add to the square's vitality. The alternative scheme would still generate sufficient income, from the new 4th story workspaces, to enable all the terraces facilities to be upgraded to contemporary standards. So what's wrong with that? HCD hasn't yet adequately explained its reasons for rejecting this alternative option.
You can access the HCD planning drawings and reports using application number 2018/0792 here. The public consultation officially closes on 7th May. If there are numerous objections, and numbers do count, the application will need to be considered by Hackney's Planning Committee in due course You can comment on the application here or by sending an email quoting reference 2018/0792 to firstname.lastname@example.org