Finding a voice on the future of Dalston... Dalston Peoples Festival Planning & Regeneration Events.

Finding a voice on the future of Dalston...

 

Sunday 14th July; 1.00 pm till 5.00 pm, The Arcola Theatre, Ashwin Street.

 

Strategic planning in Dalston;  2.30 pm – 4.30 pm.  

Cllr Vincent Stops, LBH Planning Chair will explain recent planning decisions on major developments in Dalston, the modifications achieved through the application process, the limits within which the Council operates and the grounds used to reject some of the applications

 

Local groups including Hackney Planning Watch, Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee, Open Dalston, Rio Cross, Ritson Road Residents, Sustainable Hackney, and Hackney Cyclists will outline their suggestions to better control future development leading to a general discussion on what we’d like to change. Cllr Stops will close the meeting by saying how groups should work to achieve the changes they seek.

 

Guided walks & an agenda for change.  Monday, 15th  to Thursday, 18th July

Every evening a guided walk will start from the CLR James Library at 6.30 pm to foster debate about planning and regeneration issues of a variety of themes and will end in a cafe or bar to agree key actions required.  Each night these ideas will be written up and submitted to the Chair of Planning and Cabinet Member for Regeneration.  Late arrivals should phone Peter Snell on 079 4117 9129 to find out where we’ve got to.

 

Monday 15th, Respecting our heritage (Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee).

Ray Blackburn will talk us through the history and merit of buildings we take for granted, the recent Design for London Dalston Heritage Scoping Report and the work of the CAAC to protect that heritage and implement the report’s recommendations.

How can we protect our history and keep Dalston unique?

 

Tuesday 16th, Sustainable Dalston ( Sustainable Hackney)

Russell Miller will take us to green initiatives such as the eastern curve garden and community gardens on the Rhodes Estate that counteract the loss of green corridors elsewhere.  Transport campaigners will recall how plans for an urban motorway blighted Dalston Lane and the successes achieved by local campaigners for a more sustainable transport system. 

What are the biggest threats to our environment and how can we stop them?

 

Wednesday 17th, The Cultural Quarter (Arcola Theatre/ Evening Economy Forum)

Feimatta Conteh (Arcola) will lead us around sites associated with Dalston’s cultural history, and, when we visit the Arcola will explain what the Council promises to achieve by designating a Dalston Cultural Quarter.  Dan Beaumont, (Dalston Superstore) will then lead us to meet the owners of three very different Dalston venues to understand what they offer.  At his own venue he will explain how the Evening Economy Forum is working to quantify the benefits and work more closely with neighbours.

How can Dalston develop the arts, widen their appeal and minimise nuisance?

 

Thursday 18th, Building a shared future

(Hackney Cooperative Development/ Bootstrap Enterprises)

Dominic Ellison (HCD) and Sara Turnbull (Bootstrap) will guide us around Dalston “not for profit” shared and co-operative work spaces. Both have a waiting list of tenants and can explain just what premises Dalston’s budding entrepreneurs need to develop local business and local jobs in new commercial developments.

How can Council owned sites and new developments create a vibrant daytime economy?

 

Saturday 20th July, 10.00 am till midday, Duke of Wellington, Balls Pond Road (back room)

 

Developing a sustainable local economy  

Cllr. Guy Nicholson, LBH, Cabinet Member for Regeneration  & Andrew Sissons, Hackney Council Head of Regeneration Delivery  will discuss how the priorities identified during the week are addressed in current regeneration plans for Dalston.  Is there scope for something like the Morning Lane fashion hub to promote local business?  Can we do more to ensure new commercial space is appropriate to local need? 

 

For more details contact petersnell@fassettsquare.org.uk or on 079 4117 9129.

For more details contact petersnell@fassettsquare.org.uk or on 079 4117 9129.

 

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Comment by Peter J I Snell on July 15, 2013 at 12:28

Despite difficulties confirming the final line-up and sorting out websites we got off to a flying start yesterday.  Come along tonight to the heritage walk if you can.  Ray is a fully fledged "green badge" guide and has put in a lot of preparation.  I'll bring along my copy of the report on Dalston's heritage by Edmond Bird on Dalston's heritage and how it should be better protected. Everybody is fascinated by the detail and it will form the core of the walk tonight. 

Yesterday Cllr Vincent Stops, LBH Planning Chair explained recent planning decisions on major developments in Dalston and the modifications achieved through the application process despite the limits within which the Council operates.  Ray Blackburn of Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee wanted conservation areas extended to cover the centre of Dalston to better protect the traditional streetscape.  Bill Parry-Davies of Open Dalston used a series of slides to show what had already been lost and what new developments were proposed.  Oliver Schick of Hackney Cyclists explained how the redesign of Dalston Lane to increase bus flow had created a dangerous junction for pedestrians at Queensbridge Road and created conflicts with pedestrians near Dalston Junction station.  He suggested ways in which junctions could be made more permeable to create more direct and safer routes for cyclists. John Thornton of Disability Backup welcomed the formal role they had now been given in the Hackney Planning process and some achievements such as the removal of street clutter such as A boards and tables on public pavements.  He noted that bus access was now far worse than before the changes around Dalston Junction. Russell Miller of Sustainable Hackney warned that current planning policies failed to address the scale of the challenge posed by climate change and the loss of biodiversity.  He characterised new homes with inadequate open space as “prison homes guarded by crippling debt”. 

 

In a spirited discussion Ursula Huws of the Rio Cross residents complained that current planning and licensing policies seemed to give priority to business need over residents’ concerns. Disability campaigners were concerned that permeability for cyclists made streets less safe for users with disabilities.  Bill Parry-Davies complained Hackney Planners should be less scared of losing planning decision on appeal. Vincent Stops said Hackney’s rate of success at appeals was already in decline as Planning Inspectors ensured decisions better reflected the light touch policies of the current government.  Dave Holland pointed out that popular protest was needed to effect long term change in the Planning Framework within which decisions are made.  Both Oliver and Ray said current management through guidance instead of rules created a presumption in favour of developer’s proposals.  Oliver said this was highly unusual compared with other European countries and inevitably led to poor planning outcomes while encouraging land owners to hold onto land rather than release it for development.

 

Cllr. Stops then left the meeting so it could discuss concerns about the proposals for the Dalston Cross Shopping Centre for which there is a public consultation exhibition at the Kingsland Shopping Centre on the afternoon of Friday 19th July and the mornIng of Saturday 20th July. In discussion the following points were identified as needing clarification;

·        How it could be described as a retail development when the overwhelming use was to create new flats?

·        Why existing green space would be lost to grey paved areas?

·        Why the plans did not properly fit into existing street patterns?

·        What would be done to mitigate the impact on the existing infrastructure such as child play that was already overstretched?

·        How current use of the Eastern Curve garden could be maintained if it was turned into a public thoroughfare?

·        How would the new flats will benefit local residents space when none are at genuinely affordable rents or prices?

·        What could be done to prevent flats being kept empty as investment properties?

·        Why is the bridge over the railway line not on line with St Marks Rise?

·        How can Dalston take more car use from the new parking spaces?

·        Artisans, designers and light industry are being driven out of Dalston by residential conversions so how will the new development create premises they can use?

·        Will the development so change the demography of Dalston that it will kill the market?

Comment by Peter J I Snell on July 11, 2013 at 21:14

The biggest planning application of them all has to be the one for redeveloping Dalston Kingsland Shopping Centre. Don't miss the public consultation exhibition at the shop on the left hand side of Kingland High Street entrance to the shopping centre.  It's on the afternoon of Friday 19th July and the morning of Saturday 20th July. I'll be asking why their plans do not include a bridge over the railway to the bottom end of Ridley Road market, what they are doing to provide play space for all the new resident's children, if their plans will stop the Eastern Curve garden from being a safe haven for local children and what they've done to check the commercial space the plans will provide meets local need.  Check out the Open Dalston website for their concerns about the plans. 

The "Finding a voice" theme at the Dalston Peoples Festival is an ideal opportunity to learn about the background.  Cllr Vincent Stops has warned he cannot stay at Sunday's meeting if it becomes a lobbying meeting against the development as it would compromise him in considering the application. However in explaining previous planning decisions he promises to help us understand the sort of objections which Hackney's Planning Committee can consider. Panel members are confirmed from Open Dalston, Sustainable Hackney, Hackney Cyclists and Dalston Conservation Area who will add their perspectives on what could be done better.

Ray Blackburn who will lead the Heritage walk on Monday is Secretary of the Dalston Conservation Advisory Committee and also a qualified "green guide".  He will explain that if our conservation areas covered Dalston Town Centre it would have been easier to resist high rise developments destroying the traditional street scape.

Sustainable Hackney and Hackney Cyclists are still working on the detail for Tuesday. We have to go to the Eastern Curve before Marie and Brian hand over to the Woodburner acoustic evening which offically kicks off at 19.00.  Well worth calling back at the end of the walk.  It will look at estate gardening and wildlife initiates, how to promote biodiversity and pesticide free gardening along with past & current transport campaigns.

Wednesday is really not supposed to be a pub crawl. We start by considering lost treasures such as the Dalston Theatre of Varieties, happy that Feimatta will cheer us up explaining the wide range of activities now housed by the Arcola in its new site on Ashwin Street.  But then Dan from Dalston Superstore takes the reins as he leads us to meet the managers of  Visions, Alibi and Ruby's bars to find out about their background and the range of entertainment they provide.  We end up back at his bar as he explains what the Dalston Evening Economy network has done to be "speciallymended" finalists in the national "Pubwatch of the year" competition.

These walks do have a serious purpose.  From each we hope to recruit new activists to our various organisations and generate ideas a sustainable economy in Dalston.  For this goal I think Thursday will be one of the most interesting.  Who better can talk about small business needs than social workspace providers like Dominic from Hackney Cooperative Development and Sara from Bootstrap. This one ends in the HCD meeting room on Bradbury Street - a bit formal perhaps but there's a good quartet on at the HCD owned Vortex Jazz bar once we finish.

I was excited today to hear that both the Hackney Cabinet Member for Regeneration and the Chief Officer for delivering it will attend the final meeting on Saturday morning.  All week I'll be feeding them ideas from our walks on what we want regeneration to deliver. This will be their opportunity to outline exactly what they are doing to maximise benefits to local residents as the big developers flood in.

I know I'll understand much more about how to make Dalston better for us all by the end of the week. Please join the debate and help us get heard.

 

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