Dalston Tower block refused planning permission

Tonight Hackney's Planning committee voted 5:0 against the proposal for the Dalston Towerblock.

Open Dalston has called a celebration  on Thursday 8th March.

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Comment by Benjamin Counsell on March 21, 2012 at 7:47


Today's Independent on the change to planning law;

"People don't want to see high-rise flats being built....so, unfortunately there is little choice other than building on greenfield sites". (Government source).

Well done Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Ltd, well done No Hackney High-rise and well done Russell Miller. The "worst-case scenario" of low-rise urban sprawl on greenfield due to a combination of self-serving greed over ones own property price and sheer environmental ignorance.

And Russell, could you please get back to me regarding my earlier queries about SH policy formation.

Comment by Benjamin Counsell on March 20, 2012 at 9:29

I'm very concerned that an environmentalist group (or at least Russell Miller) regards the policy of densification of inner cities in order to reduce urban sprawl and carbon emmissions (which the European Environment Agency deems "the worst-case scenario") as "distorted nonsense". There's a whole host of policy documents and academic books on the subject but I've been trying to find something basic, concise and accessible that explains this policy which is now mainstream in most major cities of the developed world. I've come across this interview with environmenalist Alex Steffen. Although he talks of North America the issues are the same, including his references to "wealthy Nimbys" and how "what happens in cities that don't grow is that they gentrify and poor people are pushed out. Trying to fight change makes you less sustainable and more unfair."
Read more: http://www.utne.com/Environment/What-Would-It-Take-Carbon-Neutral-C...

Comment by Benjamin Counsell on March 19, 2012 at 18:19

oops...you forgot to mention the 550 homes Bill!

As suspected, Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Ltd dodges these fundamental questions once again. What does this tell us of their motivations?

Are they really concerned with the environment and housing need? Or is this mysterious company just a bunch of affluent property owners who have a vested interest in stunting housing supply in order to inflate their own property prices as much as possible, even if that comes at the cost of low-rise urban sprawl?

And then to have the audacity to pretend they represent Dalston as a whole really takes the biscuit.

Comment by Bill Parry-Davies on March 19, 2012 at 14:42

For Benjamin Counsell to suggest Dalston Square is an example of sustainable development is laughable. A £63million concerte slab has been constructed for use by just one bus route. I calculated that its construction had a carbon cost is akin to Mayors Livingstone & Pipe flying continuously to New York and back for the next 35 years. I think any return fare for them would be a further extravagence and that perhaps Benjamin Counsell should consider joining them.

Comment by Benjamin Counsell on March 19, 2012 at 7:48

Russell, I would dispute that exacerbating London's housing crisis and low-rise urban sprawl is "making the world a better place".

The agenda I'm pursuing is environmentally sustainable urban planning that reduces urban-sprawl and carbon emissions whilst simultaneously addressing the housing shortage so as to lessen the inflationary pressure caused by short supply.

"You are entitled to your perverse affection for  multi-£m, profit grabbing, unaffordable, housing monstrosities but you are in a very tiny minority."

I note that none of your points have anything to do with the critical need to reduce carbon emissions (more of a "rant" one might say). And, actually, my views are pretty mainstream for those who know anything about environmental urban planning.

You may be "sure Bill can answer for himself", but he's managed to dodge these critical questions so far.

Since we're talking about aims and policies, may I ask who decides these for 'Sustainable Hackney'? Has there been any expert opinion sought on policies to be followed, or do you just write press releases etc and assume everyone agrees?

Comment by Russell Miller on March 18, 2012 at 23:25

Whilst I'm sure Bill can answer for himself, I have a question for you Benjamin.

Precisely whose agenda are you pursuing in haranguing on line those who commit so much of their time and energy to making the world a better place?

You are entitled to your perverse affection for  multi-£m, profit grabbing, unaffordable, housing monstrosities but you are in a very tiny minority. 

You appear to have a personal agenda to publicly rubbish to no end other than to harass and spread distorted nonsense.

The crisis we face was created by greed, is perpetuated by ignorance, and enforced by violence.  The ONLY hope is a world built on love, spirit and reason.  From my limited experience of you're on-line persona you appear to be possessed of more of the former than the latter.

In an age of rampant capitalist destruction campaigning for anything progressive demands a great deal of humanity and courage. Posting critical rants on-line simply demands a lack of anything better to do.

Comment by Benjamin Counsell on March 18, 2012 at 14:49

Bill Parry-Davies - I wonder if I might trouble you for a clarification regarding the aims of your Organisation for Promotion of Environmental Needs Ltd?

During the debate regarding the Kingsland proposal I asked numerous times in what context do you refer to yourself as an "environmental group"? And are you concerned with reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change? The only answer I ever got was to refer to your statement of 'aims'. I read these but they seem to be contradictory to what you're actually doing;
You claim to campaign for "excellence in the quality of the built environment", and yet this vague and highly subjective aim only seems aimed at blocking (much needed) large housing developments. Dalston has huge amounts of low-grade derivative architecture of which you say nothing. It has some of the worst conserved period architecture to be found in London (partly due to Hackney Planning's lack of a credible enforcement team) of which you say virtually nothing.
You claim to campaign for "the provision of transportation and amenities" and yet you oppose Rothas' upgrading of the station (again, much needed) and you opposed Dalston Square which gave us a fantastic new library, large new square and soon to open new shops (not to mention a large amount of much needed housing).
You claim to be concerned for the "needs of local residents and businesses" and yet you seem to take pleasure in blocking the provision of hundreds of homes in a housing crisis which would have brought significant amounts of new customers and cash to our struggling high street businesses.
And finally, you claim to be promoting "a sustainable residential and business community", and yet virtually everything you do seems aimed at exacerbating low-rise urban sprawl which the European Environment Agency deems "the worst-case scenario", which is why I asked whether you were concerned with reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change? Do you recognise that taller denser and more compact cities are more environmentally sustainable? And how do you propose we tackle our extreme housing shortage in an environmentally sustainable manner?

Comment by Bill Parry-Davies on March 15, 2012 at 14:41

Thank you Sustainable Hackney for supporting OPEN Dalston and local people in our campaign. You may also note that objections to the Dalston Greed application were received from neighbouring MP Jeremy Corbin and local Islington Councillors, includng its Vice-Chair of their Planning Committee. Islington LBC itself objected to the damage which would be done to the Kingsbury Conservation Area comprising the historic Jewish Burial Ground. The Dalston Area Action Plan policy would permit a building taller than 15 storeys by exception if it is an "exemplar" ie something to be imitated/a pattern to be followed. Hackney's Planning Department must have thought so, but Dalston and (thankfully) the Planning Committee did not. 

Comment by Joan Yeadon on March 8, 2012 at 0:00

It is very unusual for councillors to go against the officer's recommendation.  The next step will probably be an appeal from the applicant.  They can take it all the way to the Secretary of State - and they probably have deep enough pockets to do so.  

Comment by Russell Miller on March 7, 2012 at 23:27

The unanimous decision of the planning committee is a great success for all those campaigning against unsustainable, profit driven, over development.  OpenDalston deserve considerable credit for their hugely popular and carefully measured campaign.  The council chamber errupted in cheers as the planning officer's recommendation to approve the development was soundly rejected.

Hopefully this clear message from the public and elected members will discourage LBH planners from getting so close to dodgy, money grabbing developers.  The planners' job is to balance conflicting pressures and to defend public interest, not to jump into bed with any shark with a few quid to bribe their way past clear planning guidance.

The proposed 18 storey Dalston Carbuncle is way beyond even the tallest buildings contemplated in the Dalston Area Action Plan (10-15 storey) and offered zero affordable housing.  Instead a paultry £1.7m was offered to revamp Dalston Kingsland station from a development estimated to net a minimum £11m in profit for developers.

Graham Loveland and his team need to take note that Development Control means just that.  Enough of the land grabbing and excessive residential building.  Hackney is 4 years ahead of its London Plan targets and most of the new builds are poor quality, unsustainable, get rich quick scandals.

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