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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.