Protesters gathered on the Town Hall steps before the meeting holding captioned images describing the key features of the scheme - "IT'S TOO BIG. IT'S OVERDEVELOPMENT"...."IT DISRESPECTS THE LOCAL HISTORIC CHARACTER".... "IT OVERSHADOWS RIDLEY ROAD MARKET"....."NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING"
According to the developer's representative, the Chris Shaw Corporation,“The proposals are for an elegant building, sized proportionately to its key town centre location”
Five local people spoke at the Committee Meeting on behalf of OPEN Dalston members and the 1328 people who had signed the petition objecting to the scheme. Elsie Pilbeam, artist, condemned the lack of affordable housing and warned that, by taking money to upgrade the station, Hackney would be putting itself into the developer's hands. Catherine Bond, a principal conservation advisor, condemned the damage which the massive scheme would do to the human scale of local historic environment. Ronald Barden, businessman, criticised the overbearing nature of the scheme which would not provide an attractive destination to help Dalston's regeneration but dwarf the area and cast it into shade. Alice Sharp, art curator and mother with children at Colvestome Primary School, condemned the inadequate public consultation. Bill Parry-Davies, OPEN's founder, introduced our speakers and concluded that the Committee should reject the application which was contrary to Hackney's Core Planning Policy.
Film by www.channel33.co.uk
A update report revealing astonishing new information was submitted to the Council's Planning Committee with the recommendation for the grant of plannning permission. (Look for example under Update on neighbour consultations which records how the developer's agent seriously misreported our Ward Councillors views to the Council. Ed.)
Nevertheless it appeared that the Committee had a good grasp of the objectors' concerns and, after a few searching questions to the developer's men in suits, Councillor Vincent Stopps (Chair of the Committee) moved to a vote. In his view the application should be refused on the grounds that the proposal would not provide affordable housing, because of its bulky design and height, the loss of shop and floor space which it would entail, and because it compromised future development of the railway station. The Committee unanimously rejected the scheme to jubilant cries and applause from Dalston's community present in the meeting.
OPEN Dalston's campaign team wish to thank the many many local residents, businesses and social enterprises who invested a huge amount of valuable time and effort in supporting the campaign and achieving this victory for Dalston and its future generations. There are many development schemes waiting in the pipeline and this result sets a brave precedent. The community can make a difference (Power to the people! Ed.)