Saturday, 21 November 2015

Look out Dalston! Don't get hit by a runaway train (Crossrail2)

£30 billion Crossrail2 is coming through Dalston. Hurrah! We'll finally be on the tube.

But look out Dalston! Transport for London has also outlined proposals to demolish and re-develop many of our much loved streets and houses which, they say, is necessary to make Crossrail2 happen.  


Let us take you on a walk around the Dalston streets which TfL have got their eyes on. And consider the implications.  Are there alternatives? Read more here   



Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Luxury flats will make Colvestone School nursery "resemble a prison"

The featureless rear wall of a block of luxury flats "would not only block the sunlight over much of the playground for most of the day  – making the space dark, damp and cold – but it will also resemble a prison wall" said Dalston's Judith Watt  who has issued Court action against Hackney Council to challenge its' grant of planning permission for the development next to a Dalston nursery. You can help the parents' campaign by signing the petition and Judith's claim by donating towards expenses.



This view from Ridley Road market shows the development site and Grade II Listed Colvestone School. The school nursery's open space is between the site and the school and currently receives adequate sunlight. The three storey block of flats, with ground floor cafe, could be built right on its southern boundary. 


(Judith tells me that, at 9.55m, the wall is about three times the height of the Berlin Wall. Ed.)

The development will block sunshine from the playground as well as the view of the school which is at the western entrance of the St Mark's Conservation Area. The Head Teacher told the planners that the development would make the open space less useable and cause a risk to the toddler's health and their sense of well being. The Council Committee granted permission using the Chair's casting vote  


An architect's shadow diagram showing the nursery school and the overshadowing effect of the new block of flats.

Apart from the shadow making the nursery's play/learning area slippery with moss, slime and ice, sunlight deprivation is recognised as a serious risk factor for toddlers developing rickets which causes deformed bones. Children with darker skin, which absorbs less Vitamin D, are particularly at risk. Due to the increase in cases of rickets England's Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies said in 2013 that all children should be offered vitamin supplements to safeguard their health. Hackney has since offered free vitamin supplements to all local school children 



The developers, Chan and Eayrs, say on their website, "We believe that simple things like the natural light that fills a space and awakens your spirits...enriches life in a way that is priceless".


(Indeed it does. Perhaps the developers would donate their profits to Hackney to help pay for the vitamin supplements for future generations of our school kids. Ed)


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Colvestone school - Dalston resident sues Hackney to Save Our Sunshine

A Dalston resident has issued judicial review proceedings against Hackney's grant of planning permission for private flats which would severely overshadow Colvestone School's nursery playground. It is claimed that the decision amounts to an environmental injustice which will prejudice future generations of children as well as permanently damage the setting of the Grade II listed school building and the Conservation Area.


The legal challenge has won immediate support from local parents and residents who have created an on-line petition "Save Our Sunshine" which urges Hackney to enforce historic property covenants protecting sunlight to the school's land. You can help by signing the petition and, most of all, by going to the community's Crowdfunding appeal and contributing something to the cost of surveyors' evidence and barristers' and Court fees.


This view from Ridley Road market shows the development site and Grade II Listed Colvestone School. The school nursery's open space is between the site and the school and currently receives adequate sunlight. The three storey block, with a ground floor cafĂ© and flats, could be built right on its southern boundary. 


(Judith tells me that, at 9.55m, the wall is nearly three times the height of the Berlin Wall. Ed.)



The Nursery school playground is used throughout the day, year round, as a learning and play space for children up to 5 years old. The southern boundary will have a three storey blank wall looming over the playground blocking out the sunshine and the sky.

The legal challenge has been issued following a study by independent sunlighting consultants, Anstey Horne, who commented that there would be "an increase of three to four times the existing levels of overshadowing"  and that " we cannot agree with the report's conclusion that the increase in shadowing will be modest and that the area will continue to receive plenty of sunlight."


After the loss of sunshine, the playground will be less pleasant, more gloomy and cold but also "more persistent overshadowing may prevent frost, ice and snow from thawing and increase the growth of moss, slime etc potentially making it more slippery."

The court claim has been served on Hackney, and on the developer Zoe Chan at her Bayswater address. Hackney is expected to serve an acknowledgement of the claim shortly. In the meantime Hackney, Ms Chan and others have commented on the allegations in the Hackney Citizen.


Children already at the school, and those looking forward to joining the nursery class, were not consulted about the development in advance. However news of the development has been greeted with disbelief, not only by parents, but by many younger residents as well.

(The Colvestone School dispute is one of a number of recent controversial schemes involving pressure on Hackney's education land  and the interests of private residential investors. Ed)