Tuesday 22 September 2020

Last chance to save the Ridley Road Shopping Village - an asset of community value

Hackney has formally advertised the planning application for redevelopment of Ridley Road Shopping Village - but it failed to give the 21 days notice legally required for public consultation. It has now extended the time.You can comment on-line here until 1st November or send comments by email to  quoting the planning reference 2017/2897 and the address 51-63 Ridley Road London E8 2NP.  The Council must still consider all comments emailed before the Planning Committee meeting which is presently expected in November. 

If it helps, you can read our objections here

The re-development proposals, by an off-shore developer based in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, has attracted controversy since the outset

An ITV news report from November 2018

The planning application was amended on 27 November 2019 and would, in summary, now involve:

  • the loss of 39 of the 60 units for small independent traders on the ground floor, with space lost being used to service the proposed offices and flats on the upper floors
  • the loss of 50% of the basement's market storage, with the remainder to be offices
  • conversion of the 2 upper floors to "high standard" offices with only 10% to be affordable ( At 80% of market rate - few of the 60 artists presently in occupation could  afford what's "affordable"! Ed.)
  • a new 3rd storey for 1x2-bed and 4x3-bed "very high standard" luxury flats.
  • landscaping, instead of extending the building onto, its forecourt's open space.  

The site had changed hands for £4.5million just 12 months before the developer, Larochette Real Estate Inc, acquired it. It paid £6.5million for the site and has recently filed an amended Viability Assessment claiming that it can not afford any contribution to affordable housing. (Why should it escape community planning obligations if it overpaid for the site? Ed.)

Following a nomination by the local community, last December Hackney declared  that the Shopping Village is an Asset of Community Value. It noted that the existing uses, including facilities for 60 small independent traders, the basement market traders' storage and the upper floors with studios for 60 artists and makers, "furthered the social well being and social interest of the local community". The redevelopment plans will substantially reduce those uses and thus substantially damage the community's interest.

This image is extracted from Hackney's adopted  Local Plan 2033 (LP33 page 227) showing its designation of Ridley Road's north side 

The planning application has been made in the context of Hackney declaring, in its recent officially  approved Local Plan 2033 ), that the whole of the north side of Ridley Road presents "infil development opportunities" (Also known locally as opportunities for gentrification, social cleansing and enrichment of  property speculators. Ed) . 

Hackney claims to be protecting the street market but has recently changed the market stallholders terms and conditions to enable trading licences to be revoked where land is required for development.  Those changes never went to a Council Committee for approval. Larochette's consultants advised that 28 stalls will have to be moved out of the way for at least 12 months when the redevelopment takes place. (That's about 1/4 of the market. Ed.) Other developers are lining up their applications.

Watch this 2 minute trailer of the new film "Ridley Road - a street market under threat". The full 30 minute film is shortly to be publicly released. Through interviews with local traders, residents and the Mayor of Hackney the film reveals the risks which the market's affordability, culture and  heritage, is facing and the community's battle to save it

If you value all that our local Ridley Road market offers, then object now to the development application. And if you want to support our market traders, shop there. ( Use it or lose it - it's much cheaper than the supermarkets.  Ed.)