Disappointment as damaging Dalston application is given approval

SAVE is disappointed to learn that Hackney Council’s Sub-Planning Committee last week approved a 10-storey housing development for Dalston Lane, in contravention of its own policy and despite 136 local objections.

SAVE objected to the scheme on the grounds that it will have a negative impact on the Conservation Areas adjacent to it, particularly the Graham Road – Mapeldene Conservation Area.

The Dalston Area Action Plan, approved in January this year, recommends a maximum height of six storeys for the site. However, the proposal for a residential complex designed by Andrew Waugh architect rises to 10 storeys.

The site is immediately adjacent to two Conservation Areas: the Graham Road and Mapledene Conservation Area and the Dalston Lane Conservation Area, and close to the Queensbridge Road Conservation Area. The 0.4 hectare site is presently occupied by low-level buildings containing garages and artists’ studios.

The Grahame Road-Mapeldene Conservation Area is largely characterized by two-storey late Victorian cottages. Its low height is one of its key characteristics. The new development will be highly visible from most parts of Ritson Road and therefore it is this part of the area that will suffer the most negative impact from this scheme. It contains several listed buildings as well as being in a conservation area.

Shockingly, the planning application was submitted without CGIs of the proposed development and without an Urban and Heritage Appraisal.  The CGIs were submitted only after the consultation period ended. This meant that it was not possible to adequately assess its impact.

The decision of the Hackney Sub-Planning Committee sets a poor precedent for further implementation of the Dalston Area Action Plan. It makes a mockery of planning processes and public consultation.

Dalston has recently become one of the most thriving and bustling parts of London: large numbers of young people being attracted by its variety - embodied in its historic buildings. Land-values have shot up since the opening of Dalston Lane Station in 2010.  However, inappropriately large-scale developments will destroy the very charm that draws people to the area.

The Ritson & Stannard Road Action Group says: “ We feel very let down by the whole planning process leading up to the approval of this scheme. In particular we feel the carefully developed policies in the Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP), an important piece of local policy which has been through three stages of consultation culminating in the secretary of state, have been conveniently dismissed in favour of developers’ benefits.  That is, the overdevelopment of this site to maximise property sales at the cost of affordable workspace and the Ritson Place youth space which was promised in the DAAP.  Not to mention that the height at 10 storeys will overshadow and loom over the historic Conservation Area.”

Open Dalston says:

“This scheme for predominantly unaffordable buy-to-let flats, in which the Council has a financial interest as part landowner, will see the loss of artists’ studios and local businesses and minimal public benefit. It will contribute to the social and cultural cleansing of Dalston. It is astonishing that such a radical departure from the local plan should be recommended so uncritically by the Council’s planning department.”

Click PDF document to see CGIs of proposed development

Documents (click to read/download)