Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Dear All

Dalston is facing a tsunami of development applications which will adversely impact on numerous local heritage assets – former cinemas, factories, religious buildings and historic buildings and houses having architectural and cultural significance. New buildings and towers totally out of scale to the area are proposed on various sites locally. If you are part of an organisation, or you are a well know public personality, your assistance is urgently needed. Please read on so I can briefly explain.

I have come into possession of a draft report commissioned by Design for London (DfL) which examines our heritage assets within the Dalston Area Action Plan area. The Report identifies the need to urgently protect these heritage assets in the face of local development pressure and it recommends :
-          the designation of the Dalston Kingsland Conservation Area
-          adding certain buildings to the national statutory list and
-          adding certain buildings to the local Council  list.
It points out that locally listed buildings have no statutory protection absent Conservation Area designation. CA designation is also a significant consideration where a proposed development affects the setting of buildings within it.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to consider the need to identify heritage assets and to designate conservation areas. You may think it surprising that it is DfL, and not Hackney, which has commissioned a heritage scoping report for Dalston. Where a local authority has a conflict of interest eg because it owns or has a financial or partnership interest in the sites, there are statutory powers  reserved to English Heritage and/or the Secretary of State to designate conservation areas.

I consider that Hackney has a conflict of interest in relation to the Western Curve sites because it has invested over  £1million with TfL to strengthen the slabs above the rail tunnels to enable more intensive development. The scale of development on these strengthened slabs which TfL is now proposing will do irreversible damage to Dalston’s historic assets and to the public realm,  on both the Northern and the Southern sites of the Western Curve.

I attach emails which I have sent, to Hackney’s Head of Conservation and to its Information Officer, to seek clarification regarding Hackney’s financial interest in the sites and in designating the new proposed Dalston Kingsland Conservation Area. However I do not think we can afford to let Hackney proceed at its usual leisurely pace

In view of the forthcoming planning decision in relation to the Western Curve sites I propose writing to  English Heritage and/or the Secretary of State to request them as a matter of urgency to :   
-          designate the new Dalston Kingsland Conservation Area and
-          to list the buildings identified in the report

If you are part of a local  organisation eg Hackney Society, St Marks CAC, Kingsland CAC, Dalston Lane (West) CAC, De Beauvoir Association, or part of a national amenity society, then I would be happy to write on behalf of your organisation as well because this would add weight to the application. Please let me know as a matter of urgency whether you and/or your organisation would like me to do so.

If you are a well know public figure I would be pleased  to add your voice in support of the application. Again, please let me know urgently

Finally please note that my proposal is not merely an academic exercise. In Shoreditch we made similar representations to English Heritage on behalf of OPEN Shoreditch  regarding The Light and the effect of which was that Hackney eventually conceded and included it within the CA and the developer, Hammerson, agreed not to demolish and redevelop the site.

I look forward to your views

Very best

Dowse & Co
23 -25 Dalston Lane London E8 3DF
DX 46800 Dalston
t  020 7254 6205
f  020 7923 1497

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