Hello neighbours. I just read about the plans for a new 9-storey residential block on the school site. I haven't seen the details but they are being exhibited this Monday (10th December) from 4-8pm.
The idea is to rebuild a two-storey school and pay for it by selling off another 7 storeys of flats, with a playground on the roof. It'll be right up against Labyrinth Tower and the new blocks. I imagine it will also stop the light from the rest of the square for most of the day. It's a Telford Homes development apparently.
Anyone have any more info about it? I can see that the school clearly needs a new premises, but nine storeys high??!
Finally it has arrived. About this time last year we learnt of the 'Dalston Area Action Plan': A plan drawn up by the council with their ideas as to how they would like the regeneration of Dalston to go. That plan included the desire for an 8 to 10 storey building on the site though at that time no developer had shown any interest.
I hope to attend on Monday to find out more but my initial thoughts are far from positive.
I would love to attend, but definitely can't on Monday - Mark can you please report back any findings? I'm not at all pleased about this, and would love to find out how this can be opposed.
It would also be nice to find out where on the grounds they plan on building - whether on the same footprint as the school or possibly further to the south of the plot (which may help restore some light to the site?)
The Rock Townsend link is useful - hopefully they'll be able to give us more details at the exhibition of plans this afternoon (4-8pm at the school). I'll definitely attend so will post back info for those who can't. It's still at pre-planning stage, so can still be opposed I guess. I wonder what Barratts think of it - given it's a Telford development that will have a huge impact on their blocks...
I now have a better idea of the impact of this proposal, after attending last evening to the plans exhibition.
Basically it´s a 10-storey (not 9 as we expected) block will be extending all the way from Forest Rd to almost the end of the current school landing, just side by side with Labyrinth Tower. There will be two wide strips at both sides of the block (parallel to Beechwood Rd). Talked to the architect (present in the exhibition) and asked him about the impact of this on the Square. He admitted that there will be shadow, but their idea is to keep the building in a continuation line with those from DS Phase 1, hence the square “open” space will continue all the way to Forest Rd.
For those living in the flats at Labyrinth Tower facing the school is a proper killing, as they will lose the view (and most importantly the light) that surely they paid for as premium when buying their flats. It will be a massive blow in terms of light/views for all those flats facing the Square, and particularly for the ones at Thomas Tower facing South, as their light comes from the school space. New flats in Phase 3 will also (and obviously) be affected if facing the school landing.
There are some other effects in the square worth to consider, as the possible wind drafts in the square if surrounded by yet another tall building in the only “light” side of the square.
The reasoning of the architect before the need for a 10-storey block featuring a 2-floor school it was purely funding “we tried with 8-floor, but there 10 floors were needed to cover the costs of the new school”.
Telford Homes had also one representative there (Sophie Hoskin) and they are welcoming feedback from local stakeholders. You can give yours at email@example.com or on 01992 809800. They will be discussing over the next months the proposal with Hackney Council and will have a further drop-in event on January just before they submit the planning application.
For Hackney Council, this is a very tempting offer... the school will double up its capacity and will have state-of-the-art equipment, thus a good boost for the everlasting issue with schools in the area. Plus the 99 flats (1,2,3 bedrooms) will add a good chunk to the Council Tax collection. Therefore a strong opposition will be needed to stop this and hence we will need to get as many people involved as possible if we want to have any chance.
The exhibitors mentioned that Public Consultation is already on this month, will try to find more as I couldn´t find it on a quick search in Hackney site.
Anna, I am not sure Barratts is very bothered about this development... they are about to complete the sale of the remaining new flats and those will go quickly within or without a 10-storey block in project, hence their business is not affected.
If anyone else got more findings from yesterday´s exhibitions, please share these with the Forum
That about sums it up. The only thing to reiterate is that there will be more evenings like this in early January (2 of them), and I have asked that flyers are distributed to all those likely to be affected by this project (Labyrinth on the east side of the Square, and all blocks south of the tall tower on the west side) as that didn't apparently happen this time around (very few residents seemed to be aware of these open evenings).
And of course this is the public consultation: Nothing will appear on the council website until plans are submitted to the council early next year.
Thanks for that. What struck me most at the exhibition was how much it will affect the light and wind tunnel impact on the square, as you said. Labyrinth Tower where I live will be particularly affected, as will the taller towers, so obviously I'm very keen to try to reduce the size and impact of the building as much as possible. But more generally, the vista from the square will be very different without the trees on the corner and the light that currently falls across the square from first thing in the morning from the school site.
I also was concerned that they intend to share a pedestrian lane between the school and the square, down the side of Labyrinth Tower. When I asked them they didn't seem clear at all as to how this would be managed as it's not a council space, but will need to be cleaned, lit and made secure between the Square management and the School. At the moment it's a bright and open tree-lined lane - but with a ten storey block beside it, it'll be more like a dark alley.
The drop-off point for the school will be on Roseberry lane, rather than where it currently is on Beechwood Road. There didn't seem to be any provision for cars turning around or not blocking the already congested route that leads out of the Dalston Square carpark and the pedestrian walkway through to Forest Road.
As you mentioned, it'll be an uphill battle opposing the council on this, but I think there will be a good number of residents who are keen to oppose it.
Another factor that makes this development entirely unacceptable to me is that the council admitted months ago that no additional infrastructure is planned for the residents of the new developments in the area; no new school places, no additional parking, no road planning and no additional traffic patrols. This means not just darkness for neighbouring towers and a lengthening of the wind tunnel that is Dalston Square, but also congestion, especially in the mornings and afternoons. I can just imagine parents double parking, blocking access to the garage, new people turning into the cul-de-sac... A nightmare for residents, pedestrians and cyclists.
As many will be aware (from my recent website update dalston-square.com/2013/01/06/happy-new-year/) the next 2 presentations in the school have now been scheduled. The first is set for Thursday 10th January from 4pm until 8pm, the second for Saturday 12th January from 10am until 2pm. Both will be held in the school itself. If you did not make it to the previous events, definitely worth a look.
So, what can actually be done about preventing this.
From purely selfish reasons, I am not up for losing my view (Wonder House.) It's possibly my favourite thing in the world, and if I have to trade the skyline and sunrise for someone's pilates in their living room, I'm going over the balcony.
I don't really know much about planning permissions, and applications and so on and so forth, so I'm going to try and make it to the presentation tomorrow, but I'm more concerned about what voice of protest can be feasibly raised, and how?