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Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Monstrous imposition returns to threaten Dalston toddlers' playground

For the third time, Colvestone Crescent Grade II listed Primary School's outdoor classroom, and future generations of nursery children, are once again under threat. The adjoining owner has re-applied for planning permission  to block out their sunlight and sky with a three storey 9 metre hight development extending right across the southern boundary of the school's outdoor learning space. The owner's previous application, of the same design, had been refused last year by a Government Planning Inspector on an appeal. Hackney, which had failed to make a decision on the application,  told the Inspector it would have refused the Planning application. 

The new planning application was registered by Hackney planners on 6th December. Our local Green councillor, Zoe Garbett, has been told that any objections must be made by 9th January for an officers' decision to be made on or after 31 January.


This is Colvestone Primary School's outdoor learning space, on the junction with Ridley Road market. The triangular development site is on the left along the southern boundary.


This developer's model shows the planned three storey building's
 relationship with the school's outdoor learning space

The new development will blight future generations of our nursery toddlers. The outdoor nursery space will have a 9 metre blank brick wall towering over them and blocking out the sky all across its southern boundary You can read the application documents and make representations here. You don't need to give detailed reasons ("I object" is good. Ed.).  But if you have time to give reasons, these OPEN Dalston objections will help you identify the issues. 

Numbers count. If there are many objections the application is more likely to be decided by the elected Planning Committee members themselves, rather than just Council officials. 

If you're late, or the Council's on-line consultation is down, then just send your comments by  email to  planning@hackney.gov.uk quoting Ref: 2022/2952 in the subject line.

The developer says that the scheme design is materially the same as the scheme which was rejected by a Government Planning Inspector in 2022. He had commented that "children's playgrounds have a particularly strong requirement for sunlight" and that the amount of sunlight lost would have "a significant adverse effect on the enjoyment of users of the outdoor learning space with particular regard to sunlight".

The developer has now presented more detailed overshadowing illustrations. These show, for example, that on 21 March ( Spring Solstice - the day representing the annual average overshadowing ) "A large area of shadow will cross the playground between midday and 2pm" but then advises that "In reality, the impact will be less significant than that shown due to the likelihood of cloud cover in March." ( 😂 😂 The BRE official Guidelines on Sunlight Planning make no reference to relying on weather forecasting! Ed.) 

This graphic is of the developer's computer modelling of 11am to 2pm on 21 March, showing the encroaching shadow in purple. Shadow won't leave the space until about 3pm.

PS The only reason I can think of, for not developing a more appropriate building on the site, is this 👇 Ed.   



Background story

Dalston has successfully battled two previous schemes. In 2016 our community champion Judith Watt overturned planning permission in judicial review proceedings on the basis that the Planning Committee had been mislead by the developers incorrect overshadowing calculations. 

The community's Friends of Ridley Road applied successfully in 2021 to have the school's open space declared an "Asset of Community Value" because if its importance to social well being and community interests.

Then in 2022 a government planning inspector refused an appeal by a new developer. The Inspector nailed it when commenting that "there would be a reduction in sunlight, which would be likely to make use of the outdoor learning space less attractive and therefore result in this valued area being lesser used." 

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