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?