Hackney Council’s “Dalston Conversation” - OPEN Dalston’s representations

OPEN Dalston’s members welcome the opportunity to respond to the Council’s Dalston Conversation and make the following comments.

1 Dalston Quarter Development Principles
OPENDalston made written representations to the Council’s Delivery team regarding its “Development Principles” for the Dalston Cultural Quarter ( DCQ). We repeat those representations which remain relevant today and which can be read here. and which are summarised in the Schedule below

2 Dalston Cultural Quarter Heritage Assets
OPENDalston made written representations to the Council regarding Dalston Lane (West) Consevation Area Extension. Research had revealed new evidence, which we wish to re-emphasise, regarding the heritage significance of buildings within and adjoining the “Dalston Cultural Quarter” (“DCQ”). We repeat those representations which remain relevant today and which can be read here.

3 Western Curve and Ashwin Street (west side)
 At the time of TfLs  proposals to develop the Western Curve OPENDalston made written representations to the GLA/TfL and to the Council regarding the opportunities for enhancing green space and pedestrian permeability within and adjoining the DCQ area. Our proposals were not taken up at that time but those opportunities remain relevant today for the vacant land on the west side of Ashwin Street. We repeat those representations which remain relevant today and can be read here.

4 CrossRail2
At the time of CrossRail2’s proposals OPENDalston made written representations to the GLA/TfL and to the Council, and met with a TfL representative, regarding perceived sensitivities and risks which the proposal involved. We suggested alternative locations for the proposed Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction below ground Crossrail2 stations and proposals for the treatment of the above ground ventilation shafts. We received no substantive responses from either body. We repeat our comments which remain relevant today and can be read here.

5 With the passage of time it is necessary to supplement our previous comments outlined above, as follows.

6 Hackney’s proposed submission local plan 2033
We are concerned that the progression towards the Council’s adoption of its draft Local Plan 2303, which includes general principles for Dalston’s future development will pre-empt the Council from incorporating within it the proposals emerging from its Dalston Conversation. The effect would be to render the Dalston Conversation a pointless exercise and affirm the public’s distrust of the Council’s intentions. 

7 The Dalston Conversation:
We consider that the Council should engage in an actual conversation with the local community. We propose that the Council’s Mayor and senior Planning and Property Services officers attend a meeting with the community at the new EartH venue at 11-17 Stoke Newington Rd ( formerly the Savoy cinema). EartH has indicate it would be willing to host such an event

8 Dalston Quarter Development Principles
We consider that the Council should support and assist in the establishment of a Dalston Development Trust, rather than appoint a single private sector development partner, to manage the development of the DCQ vacant sites and the refurbishment of its heritage buildings along the development principles we have previously outlined at 2 above and which are summarised in the Schedule below

9 Developers use of private consultants:
We are aware of many examples where planning applicants have presented consultant expert reports relating, for example, to financial viability, heritage and overshadowing, which have subsequently been shown to be unreliable when reviewed by independent experts paid for by the planning authority. We propose the Council should implement a policy that should a planning applicant wish to submit an experts’ report it should meet the planning authority’s costs of selecting an agreed expert and commissioning the report. The planning applicant would remain at liberty to commission a second expert’s opinion if it wishes to do so.

10 Affordable housing policies:
In view of increasing pressure locally for housing development we consider that the Council should support and assist the community to develop a neighbourhood plan which would provide that a proportion of new homes be reserved for people who actually live in them rather than for absent investors and buy-to-let landlords. We note that St Ives council led the way in successfully developing such policies.

11 Eastern Curve Garden (“the Garden”):
Due to oversight the existing Dalston Area Action Plan failed to have regard to the importance of local green space and bio-diversity. As a result the Garden lacks formal recognition and protection both in terms of planning policy and in its land tenure of Council owned property. The recent Thames House planning permission (2017/0320), which will severely impact on the Garden, is a glaring consequence of this oversight.
The overwhelming success of the Garden community project, and the increasing demands on its faciltiies, are testament to the need to remedy the Garden’s status and the need not merely to preserve and enhance the existing space but to expand it.

12 Ridley Road Market:
The Market is under increasing pressure for development which is putting its sustainability at risk. We consider that the Council planning policies should resist applications for change of use which compromise the retention of facilities for storage of traders’ stock and barrows and that it should resist applications which result in the loss of units affordable to small independent businesses.
We also consider the Council should grant street market traders the security of full Street Trading Licences rather than Temporary Licences unless there are exceptional circumstances personal to the individual trader.

13 Cultural industries: 
Numerous artisans and artists have been driven out of Dalston in recent years as a result of redevelopment . We consider that the Council planning policies should resist applications for change of uses to retail and residential without equivalent alternative provision being made for existing cultural and employment uses.    

Summary of OPEN Dalston’s responses dated 24th March 2017 to the Council’s its “Dalston Quarter Development Principles”.
We consider that the Council’s Development Principles for development of the Dalston Cultural Quarter should include the following wording
a.         Development will not be permitted within the Dalston Quarter which would compromise the existing extent, bio-diversity and continued use of the Eastern Curve Garden and its facilities as an enclosed, secluded and financially sustainable community garden with free public access.The Eastern Curve Garden will be designated as Local Green Space and afforded protection from new development

b.         New development within the Cultural Quarter and on adjoining land, including Thames House and the Kingsland Shopping Centre, will be designed to improve pedestrian permeability through the area without the need to utilise the Eastern Curve Garden as a public thoroughfare

c.         The historic buildings are the key driver to the regeneration of the Cultural Quarter. They, and their settings, will be safeguarded and enhanced. Alterations to the buildings will not be permitted which harm or cause any risk of future harm to their historic structures and character 

d.         Only professional consultants and contractors with conservation accreditation and expertise will be appointed to deal with historic buildings.

e.         Any new development will preserve and enhance the setting of historic buildings and of open spaces and their amenity.

f.          Affordable workspace presently used for cultural, charitable and community (third sector) activities will not be reduced in its amount and will be enhanced in quality

g.         Section 106 planning agreements will secure developer contributions towards the conservation of the area's heritage and the support of the cultural, charitable and community uses to which the land and buildings are put

h.         Cyclists will be required to dismount in areas of pedestrian public realm save where there are demarcated routes for cyclists. If the Council insists on implementing “shared space” for pedestrians and cyclists it should consider requiring cyclists using such space to have third party accident insurance 

i.          Access for motor vehicles from Dalston Lane into, and parking in, Ashwin Street will be removed other than for those with disabilities. 

j.          Any new residential development will be sufficiently remote from performing arts venues within the Cultural Quarter so as to avoid conflict between different uses

November 2018

OPEN Dalston is an association of people who live or work in Dalston. OPEN is an acronym for Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Limited. OPEN's objects are to promote excellence in the quality of the built environment, in the provision of transportation and in the provision of amenities, and to ensure that changes to these have proper regard to the needs of residents and businesses and the maintenance of a sustainable residential and business community.

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