Friday, 21 November 2014

OPEN's judicial review battle is in the High Court on Monday 24th November.

On Monday 24th November a High Court Judge,The Honourable Mr Justice Collins, will decide whether Hackney lawfully granted planning permission to its 'development partner', Murphy, on 5th March  to demolish our 17 Georgian houses at 48-76 Dalston Lane.


On Sunday, the eve of the Court battle, OPEN has organised the "Fabulous Save Dalston Lane Fundraiser", hosted at Passing Clouds, when we will celebrate the 200 year history of the houses and our fight to save them. A stellar cast of  performers, like Dan Cruickshank, Iain Sinclair, Michael Rosen, Rucksack Cinema, the Dulce Tones and others, will be on hand to inspire and entertain you.Tickets will be £10 on the door from 7:30pm.

 The Story of Dalston Terrace 1807 -2014 (Video)

The Council has had a conservation-led policy to regenerate the houses since 2006, but just watch this video to see how total neglect over the years has brought them to their current perilous condition. It has cost our community £millions.


The argument in Court will focus on the history and whether Hackney properly considered and decided that the Murphy scheme, which involves demolishing all the houses and building phoney replicas without any affordable housing, was the best option. A Judge has already found that OPENs case is at least arguable.


Hackney's conservation policy for the houses is long-standing. Its' officers had advised that a scheme which did not involve total demolition was possible, But the Council changed its mind at the last minute. At the Committee meeting on 5th March Hackney's officers recommended the advice of Muphy's design team which was that, due to the condition of all of the houses, total demolition was inevitable in any scheme. Hackney rejected the advice of its own independent engineers, and of the intenationally know Morton Partnership, that the buildings could be saved. In the face of powerful objections from the public, and national amenity societies, the Committee itself was divided. Its Chair used his casting vote for total demolition.


OPEN later wrote to Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe, to ask that he meet with the Spitalfields Trust which has offered a scheme to restore the houses and develop 24 affordable flats with a Housing Association. What could be more for the public benefit? Regretably the Mayor has not acknowledged our letter and Council officers cancelled a meeting planned with the Spitalfields Trust to discuss its proposal.

Spitalfields Trust's Tim Whittaker has sketched of how the Georgian terrace could be faithfully restore (See Spitalfields Life)

OPEN has raised £0000s to fight this case and we are grateful for the inspiration and support which has been provided by the Dalston community and by organisations like the Hackney Society, the Georgian Group, the East End Preservation Society, The Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Victorian Society, SAVE Britain's Heritage and many others.  However there is no certainty in the outcome of the Court case.


You can follow the campaign, and learn the outcome, on Facebook and on Twitter @savedalstonlane and @opendalston 


We have tried our best to defend the final fragments of Dalston's architectural heritage and character from being destroyed. Can we prevent the houses ending up like this?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

OPEN's fabulous fundraising "Save Dalston Lane" event on Sunday 23 November. Don't miss it! Stellar line-up!!

OPEN has lined up a stellar cast of performers to entertain you at a cultural-political soiree "Save Dalston Lane"on Sunday evening, 23rd November, starting at 7:30pm. The event will be hosted at the super cool and popular Passing Clouds community centre and nightclub. Ticket sales can be reserved here and will cost £10 on the door, . The event will raise funds for OPEN's Court battle on 24th November against Hackney Council's decision to allow total demolition of our 17 Georgian houses on Dalston Lane. You read all about  the Court case here.


Dan Cruickshank

The evening will include a presentation by the broadcaster and architectural historian Dan Cruickshank who has inspected the Georgian houses and has been following the fate of Dalston's heritage architecture over many years with grave concern. Dan is also a trustee of Spitalfields Trust, which has proposed a genuine conservation scheme for Dalston Terrace, but which Hackney has so far refused to discuss.


Iain Sinclair

The internationally renowned author, poet and film maker Iain Sinclair has also been following, and writing about, the erasure of Dalston's identity over many years. Iain will speak at the event and will surprise and startle you with his insight, wit and mesmerising poetry and prose.


Michael Rosen

We also have the poet and broadcaster Michael Rosen, now a national treasure but with strong family ties to Dalston. Michael has written at length in the national press, and indeed on this blog, about the neglect of Dalston's local community and its architectural heritage by the authorities.


Michael will also be performing some of his improvised jazz poems with Dalston's musical maestros the Dulce Tones who include Ali Friend of Red Snapper and Loz Speyer of Time Zone. We hope the Dulce Tones will also kick off with some of their great dance tunes


This promises to be a fabulous evening not to be missed.  Reserve your tickets here Tickets will be £10 on the door.

But, if you cant make it, PLEASE KEEP DONATING TO THE LEGAL FIGHTING FUND TO DEFEAT MUNICIPAL VANDALISM !! (Stop shouting. Ed.)

OPEN has to raise further funds to meet the legal costs of a full Court hearing on Monday 24th November. We urge everybody to donate whatever you can afford to support the campaign. We've raised £0,000s from the community so far, which has inspired us and for which we hugely grateful. It's the small sums that are really adding up!! You can donate using the Menu Bar above or by PayPal here:



or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:  OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata. 

You can also follow the campaign on Facebook and on Twitter @savedalstonlane and @opendalston 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

OPEN's Dalston Terrace court victory - Press round-up

"..Mr Justice Foskett said he was persuaded that OPEN had an arguable case that the council had failed in their duty to consider alternative possibilities for developing the site"

OPEN Campaigners win hearing over ‘Georgian Disney’ development. Council decision to forge ahead with demolition will be examined at judicial review in November






"Hackney has pursued a longstanding policy of studied neglect..."




"Hackney Council has succeeded in destroying some decent Georgian houses, and driving a number of businesses and people out of the area while losing large sums of money at the same time. Brilliant!!


 
 

Emma Bartholomew @EmmaReporter

Bill Parry-Davies "feels like jumping up down" over judge’s decision for full Judicial Appeal hearing on council Dalston Terrace decision

Bill Parry-Davies ‏@BillParryDavies Oct 3

@EmmaReporter I can't risk jumping up down in Dalston Lane. I'm told all the buildings might fall down!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Judge grants OPEN permission for a judicial review of Hackney's decisions to demolish Georgian houses

The High Court Judge, Mr Justice Foskett, has today granted OPEN permission for a judicial review of Hackney's decisions to allow total demolition of the surviving Georgian houses in Dalston Lane.


After a tense morning in Court, when OPEN’s barrister picked apart the advice given to Hackney’s Planning Committee, the Judge was persuaded that OPEN has an arguable claim that Hackney had failed to properly consider the options for a genuine conservation-led scheme, when it granted planning permission for total demolition last March. The claim will now be heard over a full one-day judicial review hearing in late November


Hackney allowed Murphy to begin demolition last December. There was public outcry and they only stopped when forced to accept that they needed prior planning permission.

Murphy were granted planning permission on 5th March to demolish all the houses, and last week Hackney discharged the outstanding planning conditions so that demolition could now start at any time. OPEN's solicitors, Dowse and Co., have today written to Hackney and Murphy's lawyers to require undertakings that they will not proceed with any further demolitions until the judicial review is completed. If such undertakings are not given OPEN will return to Court to seek  an injunction to restrain any such demolition.


 The Story of Dalston Terrace 1807 - 2014 (Video) - a story of appalling neglect of our heritage assets and the destruction of our local environment and economy.  

OPEN has also required Hackney and Murphy to withdraw their allegations that all of OPENs Court claims are not challenges to environmental injustice. We say that decisions to destroy these heritage assets come within the Aarhus Convention, which protects environmental challenges, and so Hackney and Murphy are not entitled to threaten OPEN with claims for unlimited costs if we lose. In Aarhus type cases, the Court's rules limit awards of legal costs against an unsuccessful claimant to £10,000.  


OPEN’s offer to  Hackney's Mayor Pipe, to facilitate a 'round table' meeting, between Hackney and the Spitalfields Trust to consider the options, remains open for Hackney to take up. OPEN has yet to receive a reply from Mayor Pipe. Hackney has continued to refuse to meet Spitalfields Trust which has made proposals to restore the 1807 houses and develop the others to provide affordable housing (the Hackney/Murphy scheme provides none).


So in the meantime the fundraising must continue. We have raised £0000s from the community so far but we must be ready to continue the fight against municipal vandalism and to preserve Dalston’s heritage and identity. Thanks to everyone who has donated so generously to pay for legal expenses to date - you have given us inspiration and hope! Some of you have donated £000s but it is the small sums that are really adding up!! We urge everybody to donate whatever they can to support the campaign.

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata.

 You can donate by PayPal...



or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:

OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659

It ain't over yet. It's just beginning and it could be a long fight.We must not allow it to end like this:


 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

High Court to consider whether demolition of Dalston's Georgian houses would be lawful

On Friday 3rd October the High Court will hear OPEN's challenge to Hackney's decision to allow demolition of the Georgian houses in Dalston Lane. The Council's Planning Committee granted permission to demolish  all the surviving houses on 3rd March (Read "One Man Two Votes" Ed.)after hearing the advice of  Hackney's development partner Murphy that, due to long standing neglect, the houses are now beyond repair. The Council had rejected the opinions of independent experts, including those of structural engineers which the Council has itself commissioned ( Read "Was there a cover up" Ed.).


The public are entitled to attend the Court hearing. Details of  the time and place will be announced on twitter @savedalstonlane  and @opendalston on Thursday afternoon

OPEN is extremely grateful to everyone who has donated money to the fight against the municipal vandalism of these historic public assets. Despite its proclaimed policy to conserve these houses the Council has for years stood idly by and watched them deteriorate - what the Georgian Group has described as a "longstanding policy of studied neglect". Even now, Hackney still claims that demolition is implementing a "genuine conservation scheme", although nothing will be conserved. £0000s have been raised to meet the legal costs, and more will be required if on Friday the Court accepts that OPEN has an arguable case.


The houses were built between 1807 and 1830. Hackney first acquired them in 1984 and has since lost fortunes in rent and dereliction by failing to let and maintain them despite its 2006 commitment to conservation and re-use (Read "It's costing us £millions" Ed.) . It even tried to demolish them without planning permission ( Read "Hackney suspends demolitions"  Ed.)


OPEN is also grateful to the hundreds of individuals, and organisations, who lodged objections to the demolition plans. The objectors included three local Conservation Area Advisory Committees, the Hackney Society, The Georgian Group, The Victorian Society, The Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, SAVE Britain's Heritage, the East End Preservation Society and Spitalfields Trust as well as hundreds of local residents and businesses.

The cavalry are coming! The Spitalfields Trust are the foremost restoration trust nationally but their proposals have so far been ignored by Hackney despite their obvious public benefit compared to Murphy's scheme (read "Hackney rejects Trust's proposals"Ed.).

OPEN had hoped that Hackney would be willing to discuss an alternative scheme by the Spitalfields Trust to restore the houses, and provide 24 affordable homes for local people (Murphy's scheme has no affordable homes at all). Hackney has so far refused to meet to discuss those proposals and a letter from OPEN to Hackney's Mayor Pipe, suggesting a 'round table' meeting, has gone unanswered. This has left OPEN with no option than to fight in Court.


 
 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Georgian houses of Dalston Terrace hold their breath!

Last week OPEN wrote an open letter to Hackney's Mayor, Jules Pipe. OPEN requested that he meets, at a 'round table', with the Spitalfields Trust and OPEN, and any others he chooses. The meeting would discuss the options available to avoid the planned total demolition of the sixteen Georgian houses of Dalston Terrace. Hackney's Mayor has been committed to saving them since 2006. An automated reply informed OPEN that the Mayor should reply to the letter within 10 days.


Time is tight. On 3rd October the High Court will consider whether OPEN's legal challenge, to the lawfulness of Hackney's decisions to demolish the buildings, should be permitted to continue. So far the Court has not prohibited demolition but Hackney, and its development partner Murphy, say they have held off the bulldozers to await the Court's decision.

In the meantime the Spitalfields Trust, hearing of the perilous state of the ancient houses, and the Hackney/Murphy "genuine conservation scheme" for total demolition, have ridden to the rescue.  "We feel we cannot stand by and see these buildings demolished" said Oliver Leigh-Wood of the Spitalfields Trust


Here comes the cavalry! Spitalfields Trust have rescued numerous historic buildings and are regarded by many as the most successful historic buildings trust in the country.

Spitalfields Trust has proposed a scheme which not only restores the 1807 pairs of Georgian houses ( and some of their front gardens on Dalston Lane! Ed.) but which would, unlike the Hackney/Murphy scheme, additionally provide 24 affordable flats. What could be more to the public benefit?

Spitalfields Trust's Tim Whittaker has sketched of how the Georgian terrace could be faithfully restore (See Spitalfields Life)

So, we are awaiting Hackney Mayor's reply to OPENs letter.

But, in case we do end up in Court on 3rd October, PLEASE KEEP DONATING TO THE FIGHTNING FUND TO DEFEAT MUNICIPAL VANDALISM !! (Shouting. Ed.)

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata.

OPEN now has to raise a further £10,000 to fund the legal costs of a full Court hearing. We urge everybody to donate whatever they can to support the campaign.  Please give whatever you can afford to help defeat municipal vandalism and save some of Dalston's surviving fragments of Georgian heritage. You can donate by PayPal...



or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:

OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659


  You can follow the "Save Dalston Lane" campaign on Twitter and Facebook

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

High Court to hear OPEN's challenge to demolition of Dalston's Georgian houses

On 3rd October the Planning Court is to decide whether OPEN should be granted a judicial review of Hackney Council's decisions to demolish sixteen Georgian houses in Dalston Lane. At OPENs recent Annual General Meeting members approved its Directors' decision to ask the Court to reconsider the case at a full Court hearing. It is expected that Hackney will attend the Court hearing and vigorously oppose the application.


Thanks to everyone who has donated so generously to pay for legal expenses to date - you have given us inspiration and hope! Some of you have donated £000s but it is the small sums that are really adding up!!

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata.

OPEN now has to raise a further £10,000 to fund the legal costs of a full Court hearing. We urge everybody to donate whatever they can to support the campaign.  Please give whatever you can afford to help defeat municipal vandalism and save some of Dalston's surviving fragments of Georgian heritage. You can donate by PayPal...



or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:

OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659
 


The decisions challenged are those of Hackney's Planning Committee to grant permission for total demolition of the houses and the Council's failure to refer the case back to its' Cabinet, which had originally only granted approval for a conservation scheme and not one for total demolition. You can read the background to this story here.


Hackney favours the developer, Murphy's, opinion that the bricks of the houses are of such poor and decayed quality that demolition is the only option, but Hackney's own independent expert engineers have commented that their analysis is flawed and the real problem is with the design of the scheme - which involves demolishing all the ground floor walls to create 'open plan' shops. The scheme was designed by Hackney's independent design consultants, whose services were later transferred to developer Murphy, and who advise that the scheme which they designed can not now be built.

 
OPEN has previously successfully challenged the Council for allowing Murphy to demolish the houses without any planning permission at all. It is hoped that if OPEN is successful in its current legal challenge Hackney will then give proper consideration to the offer by Spitalfields Trust to purchase and restore the houses and provide some affordable housing. Hackney's current scheme would provide no affordable housing at all.