Monday 9 August 2021

Dalston's Colvestone Primary School nursery's playground declared an Asset of Community Value

Colvestone Primary School nursery's playground has been designated as an Asset of Community Value by Hackney Council. The decision last Friday 6 August follows a nomination by a group of local residents, the Friends of Ridley Road, last June. 

The Council's formal decision recognises that the uses made of the land, as an outdoor playground and learning space, benefit the social well being or social interests of the local community, such that the land is an asset of community value.

This is the nursery's walled playground, and the development site next door to the south ( left of picture)  

There has been a long-running battle by the local community to protect the toddler's playground for public benefit. It kicked off in 2015 when a planning application was granted to build a three-storey block of flats on an adjoining site, which had been sold off by the Council many years earlier.  The development would have extended across the playground's southern boundary, blighting the children's outlook and much of their direct sunlight.

That application was overturned on a judicial review, brought by local resident Judith Watt,  when the High Court found that the Planning Committee had been misled by the developer's report on the extent of overshadowing which the development would cause. 

Now there is a new planning application, also for a three storey development, which has been made to the Council by the site's new owners Nice Properties and Management Ltd. It is expected to be determined shortly. Numerous objections have been lodged by members of the local community. You can read about the history and objections here. 

The new development plans include a featureless wall of about 9.5metres backing onto the playground and blocking out the sunshine, views & sky  

Designating land as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) can help protect it from being blighted by inappropriate development. Bill Parry-Davies, who made the application on behalf of Friends of Ridley Road said "Social well being and community interest are increasingly overlooked when decisions affecting valuable development land are made.  But with decisions affecting an ACV, any loss or damage to the community  asset requires separate and proper consideration  -  examples could include refusing a planning application if the harm to the asset outweighed the other planning policies which a development would comply with or whether the community uses were protected in a decision to sell educational land for private development, as Hackney has done in the past."  ( Although the school and the playground are both owned by the Council, the playground is held separately from the school, Ed.)
Locals are urged to make, and update, objections to the development application You can now also identify and object to any damage you consider would be done to the community's social interests and well being if the development were to be given permission.

You can search for and find  the planning application documents on the Council's web site  under reference  2020/3496. You can also comment on the application by email to putting 2020/3496 in the subject line.

Colvestone School's playground is the second site on Ridely Road to be declared an asset of community value. The Ridley Road Shopping Village nomination by #SaveRidleyRoad was accepted by the Council in December 2019  The applications reflect increasing community concerns that the area is being targeted for developments which harm the community's interests and social well being. 

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