A website & blog for residents (and neighbours) of Dalston Square

Restaurant smoke in the gym, lobby, flats- Gaumont Tower, Dalston Square

Jan 20 2016

Dear fellow residents.

This is just a short note to update you about where things stand with regard to the restaurant smoke nuisance in the Gym. Users are still suffering unfiltered kitchen exhaust.

The DSRA brought this pollution problem to the attention of the Council more than a year ago. We assumed that the matter was being taken seriously at that time however it now seems that when the Council sent ‘pollution officers ‘around to check on the ‘smell’ they couldn’t smell much and left the matter there.

After complaining to our local Councillor Peter Snell in the autumn he took the matter on. To reinforce out case  we also sent in the 120 signature ‘petition’ which many of you signed last month  (It was pinned up on wall in Gym)  -to the Council’s pollution department.

Since Councillor Snell’s involvement an ‘enforcement letter’ has been sent to each restaurant  demanding that they clean and service their filters.  Little, if anything, appears to have happened in the case of the larger restaurant however, hence the continuing gagging smells in the gym at peak cooking times.

Barratt’s responsibility as the developers

The DSRA remains skeptical about the ability of the filters, even when cleaned to cope with the output of heavy greasy cooking smoke produced by modern grill restaurants. We have therefore called on Barratt the developers to take responsibility for fitting a proper extraction system that takes the smoke up and out of the building.  In the meantime Barratt are attempting to duct cleaner air into the gym with only limited success.

Planners couldn’t  accept Barratt’s designs.

Barratt explain to us that they had already submitted plans for an extractor system but the Council planners did not like the architectural impact a large shiny  ‘duct’ rising on the outside of the building. Councillors Snell has since been advised that Planners accept that the need for effective ventilation does need to be addressed and that they are minded to prefer a distinctive “add-on” ventilation shaft to one that is disguised in the original building fabric.

DSRA continue the chasing…

It continues to be a marathon! The DSRA. have very recently  met with Barratt’s and Lambert Smith Hampton (the agents responsible for enforcing conditions of the restaurants leases) to get some immediate results re cleaning filters and some re-ducting of air into the gym.

We have also contacted the Council’s pollution officers to ask that they enforce a cleanup of the filters.  We have not yet heard back from the Council.

We do know that Councillor Peter Snell has asked the planners to reconsider their views. Barratt have hinted that they would reapply for permission for an extraction system if planners are open to changing their minds.  However frustratingly things move slowly and there are no firm plans yet for a complete extraction system!

What more can you do?

It seems that the most effective way to get action, however small is through people pressure.

The  Council seems to respond to the numbers of complaints received.  We suggest that fellow residents email  Khadine Jackson  khadine.jackson@hackney.gov.uk and Nana Agyeman nana.agyeman@hackney.gov.uk  both pollution control officers. This would ensure the matter is not shelved again. You could also contact Councillor Peter Snell  peter.snell@hackney.gov.uk to ensure the issue does not slip down his agenda.

A complaint to First Port Customer Services, who we pay to operate and maintain the gym might also help get their backing to put pressure on those responsible for sorting this matter out.   In brief we need to maintain the pressure to make things happen.

Thank you for your continuing support.

DSRA committee.


7 responses

  1. Caroline Koo

    Hello there, I heard there is a resident meeting on 11.2.16, could you let me have the details and I will try to come? Thanks, Caroline


    Friday, 22 January, 2016 at 10:17 am

  2. Terry Mead

    This is crazy, I, along with many other people, adults and children live in Dunbar Tower, we have been complaining about the fumes that fill our building, but we were not given the chance to sign any petition because it was placed in the gym and we are not allowed to use the gym, even though renters of all the other buildings are allowed. We should have been given the option the voice our complaints as well.

    Friday, 22 January, 2016 at 11:28 am

    • You do have the option: Read the above post again and you will see 3 council email addresses have been supplied to which you are being encouraged to voice your complaints.

      And when you say ‘…along with many other people, adults and children live in Dunbar Tower, we have been complaining about the fumes that fill our building…’ who have you been complaining to? Surely by complaining you have been voicing your complaints, so what exactly is your problem here?

      Saturday, 23 January, 2016 at 7:53 am

      • Terry Mead

        Hi Mark
        I saw that there are three contacts to complain to, the complaints that have come from here have been made to the concierge and to Jerrard. What my problem is, exactly, is that as people who live in Dalston Square and have a Residents Assocation, that we should also be given the chance to sign a petition that points out the problems that we are all having and not have it restricted to tenants and private renters.
        If the association is having a petition on behalf of Dalston Square have it available to all who live in Dalston Square, whether they take the time to sign it or not, it should be available.

        Saturday, 23 January, 2016 at 8:56 am

        • 1. Jerrard has not worked here for years: The man’s name is Gerald.

          2. “…people who live in Dalston Square and have a Residents Association…”. People who live in Dalston Square do not HAVE an RA: The DSRA is an informal group of residents who fight for there own causes but for the good of all, to the point where they have taken on other’s causes as well because they are in the position to do so (having built relationships with pretty much all agencies involved in the upkeep and well-being of the place). They publicise what they do to encourage others to participate (strength in numbers and all that) and to ensure they remain as transparent as possible so all can see that they are indeed fighting for all residents’ interests and not just their own (to the possible detriment of anyone else). They answer to no-one, are beholding to no-one, and owe no-one. Since it’s inception the DSRA has not campaigned on a single issue that could possibly have a negative impact on a single resident (or non-resident come to that). They are residents, just like you, who give a little of their valuable free time to try and improve the quality of life here. They are a very small group that do what they can, when they can. They are encouraged in this pursuit by the many who follow their work and appreciate any small gains they manage to make. Are they perfect? No. Are there oversights? Of course. Do they deserve criticism from non-contributors? Hell no!

          3. “…not have it restricted to tenants and private renters…”. It wasn’t restricted in any way at all. (Besides, firstly, the only people not included in your phrase are owners, and secondly, are you not a tenant? Your statement makes no sense). The DSRA has been quite clear from the start that no resident (a word that is synonymous with tenant by the way) of the Square was excluded from it’s ranks. As the person that ran this website for several years I know for a fact that I repeatedly wrote and emphasised the phrase ‘… renters and owners alike…’ many, many times. If what you are saying is that not enough was done to ensure everyone got the chance to sign it, maybe you are right, but maybe the person who organised it did not have the time to do any more than was done. I find it very interesting, and rather telling, that rather than offer thanks to those concerned for continuing to work on this issue (for themselves but also for everyone else affected – and no, nothing to do with me), you prefer to criticise that not enough is being done to give you the voice you are perfectly able to use yourself. Time and again it has been said that the DSRA attempts to get what it feels is fair and reasonable, by making a nuisance of itself, something everyone could do. And not just to the concierge (or indeed Gerald) who really cannot do much about it beyond add their voices to ours. How many times have you contacted the council, or Barratt Homes, or our local councillor, or anyone else that can actually get things done? Or have you just been waiting for someone else to do it for you and then criticise them when they don’t do it the way you would of liked?

          4. “If the association is having a petition on behalf of Dalston Square…”. It wasn’t: See number 2 above.

          End of rant.

          Saturday, 23 January, 2016 at 11:17 am

          • Terry Mead

            Ok, so I have got his name wrong, I was I under the understanding that I had his name correct, I am sorry.
            I was at no time criticising anything that the DSRA does or has done, I know that the things they have done has been for the good of the Square and have been along to quite a few of the meetings and listened to the problems that arise and how they have been tried to work through with the other organisations, to get the best results.
            What I mentioned was that, the petition was only including people who attended the gym because that was who it was affecting, people from Dunbar Tower who are affected by the same fumes but are not allowed to attend the gym possibly would have liked to include their strength to the same petition, had they known about it, rather than complaining singularly which generally carries nil to very minimal weight. Some of us have made complaints and have been told firstly we need to go through our housing association as they are the voice for us, I have also spoken to with Gerald who said that the council had rejected the extractor plans.

            Surely, if as you say, Dalston Square does not have a residents Association, the the group of individuals who do the good work for the Square should not call themselves Dalston Square Residents Association, I personally think the title is good and should stay as it is, but help all the residents who live in Dalston Square, as I thought it was formed to do. Or at least that was what I was informed it was supposed to do.


            Saturday, 23 January, 2016 at 4:41 pm

  3. CC

    Thank you for taking the time to write this update, and for all your efforts on behalf of Dalston Square residents.

    Tuesday, 2 February, 2016 at 1:13 pm

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