Sunday 26 May 2019

Dalston Speaks - a community organised public meeting on Sunday 2nd June

Next Sunday 2nd June, between 1-5pm, local community groups have organised a public meeting to exchange and explore ideas about the future development of Dalston. The meeting is taking place in the former CLR James Library at 24-30 Dalston Lane. All locals are invited.

You can just drop in, listen in or join in the conversations, enjoy the friendly atmosphere, and stay for as long as you want. There'll be exhibitions and short films as well. Hackney's Mayor, Philip Glanville, will also be attending towards the end of the event when questions and proposals arising from the conversations  will be put to him. There's lots to talk about.

Ridley Road street market is under threat. We are all aware of the massive rises in land values and rents for homes, shops and work space in Hackney - young families, small business, artisans and cultural businesses have increasingly been priced out. 

Last October traders in the “Ridley Road Shopping Village” covered market were given just 14 days to get out by the new tax-haven corporate owner which seeks planning permission to build luxury flats and offices in their place. There was a public outcry. What can we do to help preserve the character and affordability of our market, on which so many of us rely, but which is increasingly at risk?

Central Dalston's architectural and cultural heritage is under threat. In November 2015 Hackney Council  decided that its "preferred strategy" for its Dalston sites was to recruit a development partner for a single "comprehensive development/refurbishment". Hackney has bought two of the sites as a "natural extension" of the Dalston Square development. Its plan was a package for "regeneration" which would "maximise capital value and rental revenue for the Council."  

The proposed development sites included part of the Eastern Curve Garden and properties in Ashwin Street and Dalston Lane all  of which are owned by the Council and are presently in affordable social and cultural uses. Hackney's Mayor has denied that the sites will be sold - but  Dalston's experience of Hackney's "comprehensive regeneration" schemes is one of demolition and unaffordable outcomes. What can be done to reduce the risks of  that outcome? Should the development process be controlled by a Community Development Trust? Would Hackney agree to that? Simon Donovan, who is Chief Executive of the Manor House Development Trust, will join the meeting to discuss his experience.

The air we breath in Dalston contains unlawful levels of toxic pollutants, caused mainly by motor vehicles. Its effect is chronic ill health outcomes particularly for children. How can we reduce and mitigate the overall level of  air pollution in the short and long term?  Do the Council's closures of  residential side streets make things worse by forcing more vehicles onto the main roads like Kingsland High Street and Dalston Lane - where there tend to be more schools and housing estates? Can we learn from other boroughs like Walthamstow's mini-holland scheme?

Why have developments on public land not secured more than 15% affordable housing and 10% affordable workspace? Could a neighbourhood plan help achieve more affordable homes and affordable workspace as well as protect community assets and secure community benefits? Our Dalston Speaks event takes place at a time when Hackney has submitted its Local Plan 2033 for government approval and is consulting on a supplementary plan for Dalston's future development.   Crossrail2, which could cause extensive demolitions locally, is waiting in the wings. Anna Doyle of the Soho's  neighbourhood forum will be join Dalston Speaks to recount her experience. 

The spaces between buildings are often overlooked when planning applications are considered - with the result that public space and heritage assets are diminished by dominating neighbours,  by poor design, blighted by overshadowing and made to feel gloomy, cold and unwelcoming.  

The Dalston Speaks event next Sunday 2nd June between 1-5pm provides an opportunity for you to drop in and raise the issues which are of most concern to you, to discuss them with other local people in an informal friendly environment and to contribute to a series of questions which will be put to the Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, who will attend the event towards the end of the afternoon. Don't miss out! Do come along!

PS The local groups promoting the event, in addition to OPEN Dalston, include the Eastern Curve Garden, Save Ridley Road, Hackney Society,  Rhodes Estate Tenants and Residents Association, Colvestone School Parents Association, Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee, the Rio Cross Residents Association and others. The event is hosted by Hackney Council for Voluntary Services.