OPEN Dalston has sent written comments to Hackney Council in response to its "Dalston Conversation". What follows is just a nutshell version. You can read our full comments and proposals here.
In 2017 the Council decided to dispose of all the sites it owns, in Dalston town centre's "Cultural Quarter", for development and refurbishment. We have proposed that a Development Trust should manage this process with the community's interests and our cultural heritage at its heart.
The Eastern Curve Garden is presently designated by Hackney as a "shopping circuit". We propose that its future be secured,with new planning policies and proper land tenure, and by opening up new routes locally to help people get about whilst safeguarding the Garden's character.
We have identified opportunities for expanding our green space and linking up with new ones. The "Cultural Quarter" environment, particularly Ashwin Street, remains ideal to start this process.
We have proposed developing a neighbourhood planning policy, like St Ives in Cornwall, which will restrict the opportunities for absentee owners and buy-to-let landlords to acquire homes in new developments and make them more affordable to local people.
We have identified the opportunity to capture and recycle the heat and CO2 generated from the proposed new Crossrail2 underground railway. The wasted heat would feed into a network benefitting new homes. Rooftop greenhouse would soak up the wasted CO2 and return it as oxygen to residents.
We have proposed the strengthening of planning polices to ensure that development proposals affecting Ridley Road will not compromise the sustainability of the street market and to ensure that adequate traders' storage facilities, and affordable units for small independent local businesses, will be retained. We have also proposed that change from workplace and cultural uses to residential uses should be resisted unless alternative provision is made.
We have repeated these and similar proposals to Hackney Council and the GLA over many years. Despite the numerous public consultations, they have never received due consideration. We have proposed there now be a community organised public debate with Council representatives. We hope the "Dalston Conversation" will become an actual conversation and that the community will not just be "consulted" but be given the opportunity to participate in Dalston's future development.