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

Christmas

Xmas Events, Building Security, Restaurant ventilation, & Yoga

Upcoming Christmas Events

With the current light-box exhibition from Daily Life Ltd. due to finish next week (December 16th), there is just one more event planned for the square this year: Make a note of the date Saturday December 20th, 4.30pm to 6pm. Organised by Age UK East London, there will be carol singing, mince pies, and mulled wine (tea and coffee will also be available). Choirs from across Hackney will be singing festive carols hoping you will sing along. All monies raised through sales of refreshments (and of course the collection buckets that will be present) will go to help Age UK East London continue their as-necessary-as-ever work throughout the region, and spread the Christmas cheer to those less fortunate than us. Please show your support and pop down if you are able to.

And speaking of events and charity, the Eastern Curve Garden are running a whole host of events in the run-up to Christmas. To get in to the festive spirit and support them in their fabulous work of maintaining this delightful little oasis, check out their list of upcoming events HERE.

Building Security: Tail-gating

This is a subject that has been broached before, but it seems it needs to be re-iterated. After this week’s break-in to the Consort staffroom in Thomas Tower (and subsequent theft of staff personal belongings), and the ejection of non-residents from Collins Tower, it is clear that many people are still not getting the message that tailgating is a problem throughout the square that puts us all at risk. If someone tries to follow you in to your building (or tries to enter whilst you are exiting) ask to see their fob before allowing them entry. It is all very well being polite and holding the door open for people, but it is simply asking for trouble. Although these events are rare, apartments have been robbed, and stairwells have been used for drug taking and dealing. How long before we have a mugging or somebody gets hurt? And all of this is so easily avoided: Stop the tail-gaters. And if you find someone holding the door for you, thank that person for their politeness but also enlighten them to their thoughtlessness: They are putting you and all the other residents of your building at risk. NO FOB – NO ENTRY! It could not be simpler. Just to state the obvious, do not put yourself in danger during any confrontation: If you are threatened in any way, or even feel threatened, get yourself out of the situation and report the incident immediately to the concierge service either in person or by telephone on 02072547341 and they will investigate further.

Restaurant Ventilation

As many will be aware, there was a bit of a panic a couple of weeks ago when news came through from Hackney Council that Barratt had withdrawn their planning application for the proposed ventilation system to cure the restaurant smoke and odour problem plaguing phase 1 buildings (Gaumont through Labyrinth). After many emails and phone calls, including the help of local councillor Peter Snell, it has been determined that this was an error on the council’s part who accidentally deleted the application. This has though now been reinstated, and we are hoping for a decision soon: Preferably a positive one. More news as soon as we have it.

Yoga

To continue the tradition of advertising Dalston Square businesses and the businesses of Dalston Square residents, here is a quick plug for Labyrinth Tower resident Patricia. Patricia is starting new sessions of her family oriented yoga classes early next year, which will be held in the Young Hackney building in Forest Road. Patricia is an experienced yoga teacher, working primarily with newcomers and children, she hopes to attract your whole family to her new sessions: All ages, and all experience levels are welcome. To enrol for these new classes, check out her website HERE. If you are interested, and a Dalston Square resident yourself, take the flyer you will find in your letterbox during the coming week to your first session for a special (and very neighbourly) ‘Residents Only’ discount of 40% on that session (£6 instead of £10). The new sessions start on January 10th 2015, and will continue every Saturday from 11.15am to 12.15pm: What better way could there be to energise your weekend!

Carols

 

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Meetings And Merriment

The ‘Merriment’ first I think. So you have probably seen posters are now up, on each block’s notice board, for our Christmas social (in case you have missed it you can click the thumbnail at the bottom of this post to check it out). Two things. Firstly, our thanks to resident Stephen for putting together yet another great poster. Secondly, you will see on the poster that it says “Mulled wine and warm apple juice from Eastern Curve at reduced rate on presentation of invitation”. These invitations will be posted to every mailbox in the development the week before the event. Don’t forget to bring it with you.

And now to the ‘Meetings’. A report from Ben Collins, Chair of the DSRA, on last weeks regular 6 weekly meeting with Barratt Homes that turned into a high level meeting with Barratt and Consort.

Representatives of the DSRA met with both Consort and Barratt senior management on Thursday the 5th of December, at their regular 6 weekly ‘Buildings & Maintenance’ meeting, to go over the ‘log’ of issues needing attention. Here is a brief summary of what was discussed, and agreed for action.

1) The 2012-2013 budget: The DSRA Finance Commitee has long been questioning the way in which costs are established. Common electricity (lifts and corridor lighting), water charges, building insurance, cleaning ‘value for money’, and fair Concierge wages, have been some of the key issues we have questioned. After two years of pressing, Consort is getting closer to setting our service charges on the basis of sound cost analysis rather than on estimates. Given the current evidence, it seems that many residents may learn of ‘above inflation’ increases in their service charges next year. Given past experience, this may be especially true of new residents moving in to the Phase 3 buildings.

2) Flooding garage under phase 1 buildings: Barratt are calling in the original sub- contractors who may have to reseal some of the joints in the concrete foundation slab and walls. A separate contractor is looking at the leaking drains. Barratt promises that is will look into basement drainage problems with specialist engineers to ensure all drips and flooding are cured and prevented.

3) Waste air extraction from restaurants below Phase 1 buildings: Residents in Phase 1 buildings have long been complaining about smells from refuse bins, and now restaurant kitchens, permeating into the building from the service tunnel below. Barratt have accepted our concerns and agreed to install a modern extraction system, which will require a new ducting system carrying foul air up to above roof level in Gaumont Tower.

4) Ventilation for the Site Manager’s office: Sean Stone has been operating from a very unhealthy, unventilated ‘storage space’ office. A new ventilation system is being installed and should be operational by January.

5) The playground in the Square: This is holding to its original plan and Barratt says it should be open by Christmas: With Luck

We would like to thank all those residents who have helped with the work of the DSRA thus far: Together we have made an important impact on the way the Square has been built and managed. If you would like to be a part of the team, and help us going forward, please do get in touch. The best way would be via our website email address at DalstonSquareRA@gmail.com.

DSRA_XMAS_2013


Xmas Social, Holy Trinity School, Dalston Futures

A big ‘Thank You!’ to everyone who voted in our poll to decide what to do for our Christmas social this year. The winning option, with 70.59% of the vote was (imagine a drum roll)…….. The Cafe Route option. Therefore, without further ado, I am very pleased to announce we are going to do something completely different. 😯 😆

So, set for Friday 20th December, from 6pm to 8pm (although you are welcome to stay for extra merriment if you wish), the event will be held in the cosy ‘winter quarters’ of the Eastern Curve Garden (namely the large main greenhouse complete with it’s, when lit, crackling glowing wood burning stove). Mulled wine and toasted chestnuts (fresh from the aforementioned stove) will be available for purchase (all funds go to the garden), and everyone is encouraged to bring a mince pie or three (or something similar) to share with your neighbours.  Poster coming soon.

Next up, news from the recent public hearing regarding the development of Holy Trinity School. After excellent presentations from both Hackney Council and local residents explaining their support for the school expansion, while still very much against the 7 storeys of flats proposed to sit atop it, Mayor Boris Johnson decided to overrule Hackney Council’s decision of earlier in the year and allow the development to go ahead. The 36 meter high (equal to 12 storeys) concrete mass will be taller than all it’s neighbours and will put many existing properties, to it’s West, North, and East, into shadow. Anyone interested in viewing a webcast of the proceedings (where the full picture of the arguments against the structure can be heard) can do so HERE.

Next, Dalston Futures. 45 local residents attended their second meeting recently (much better than the 10 for the first), so momentum is building. THIS from them regarding that meeting, their call for financial assistance through donations, and the next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday 10th December from 6:30pm to 8pm (again in the Trinity Centre on Beechwood Road). The online magazine East London Lines is currently carrying a video recorded at the last meeting which you can view HERE.

One last thing before I finish, many thanks to those who answered our Twitter call for pics of the Christmas Market held in the Square on Sunday. If you missed it yourself, you can see how successful it was by checking our Twitter feed @DalstonSquareRA.

 


DSRA Christmas Social

Following on from the recent DSRA open meeting, it is now time for us to think about our Christmas social event: A chance for Dalston Residents to get together for some pre-festivities jollification (not sure that is actually English, but if not, it should be). 😉

Over to Ben Collins who has been pondering the possibilities:

At our autumn social event on the roof terrace in September, there was a ‘show of hands’ for us to organise a Christmas ‘do’. The idea of us all siting around drinking champagne in a shiny white marquee overlooking the new fountain in the Square was eagerly agreed to! Hmm…. You wish! The practicalities of organising such a ‘do’ are, on further study, pretty prohibitive.

However, being ever positive, we would like to put two alternative ideas to you.

We organise either

1) An informal ‘get together’ in Cafe Route: The Residents Association reserves a couple of tables at Cafe Route for one mid December evening between 6.30 pm and 8pm. Residents let me or Cafe Route know they are coming for the event. Each would simply buy their own food and/or drink on the night.

Or

2) Organised Xmas canapes and mulled wine, by ticket booking, at  Lift cafe & coffee-shop: The Residents Association books the ‘function room’, from 6.30pm to 8pm, for 20-30 people in the back of Lift on Kingsland Rd, opposite Tesco Express (alcohol is available for functions). Residents would have to commit in advance to this social, by buying a ticket for (approx.) £7.50, to cover the cost of a scrumptious Christmas finger snack with Mulled wine.

Both could be fun. The ‘Lift’ option is more ambitious and will need people to commit at least two weeks ahead (possible dates are Wed 12th Dec or Thurs 19th, to be agreed with venue management), while the Cafe Route option would potentially allow for more spontaneity

Please let us know which option you would be most interested in.

Ben Collins
Chair, DSRA.

All that is left is for you to complete the poll. Simply click against your preferred option and then click on ‘Vote’. Job done. We will announce the outcome soon.


Bitter & Sweet

First the bitter. You will by now all be aware of the plan by Telford Homes to use the doubling of capacity at Holy Trinity School (possibly a good thing, depending on your view of faith schools) as an excuse to build 101 flats  above said school, at the south-eastern corner of Dalston Square. The plans for the development were rejected by Hackney Council earlier in the year (on the grounds of it’s impact on the area, current and future tenants adjacent to the site, and the school children themselves), but Telford then took their plans to the GLA (the offices of Mayor Boris Johnson) who provisionally overruled Hackney Council’s decision pending a public hearing. Well, that hearing is now upon us: This coming Monday, 18th November, 3pm at City Hall, Committee Rooms 4 & 5. The school is organising buses to transport parents/supporters of the scheme to the hearing (one has to wonder if parents are fully aware that the only play area for children will be an open ‘floor’ of the building between the school and the multiple stories of flats above, with, therefore, no open sky), so it is imperative that anyone against the proposal should also attend if they possibly can. Full details of the hearing, the proposed development, and the GLA’s own report, can all be found on the GLA’s website HERE.

Now the sweet. The Christmas market scheduled for the Square on December 1st will not just allow you to shop at the stalls, eat at the food stalls, and be entertained by a procession of local artists and performers. Oh no. You can also take part as a performer yourself. This just in:

Calling All Singers!

Do you like to sing? No matter if you have experience or not, come along and join in!

Led by vocalist and choirmaster, Iris Ederer, we will be singing uplifting popular tunes in a one and a half hour workshop where you will get to know a-cappella arrangements of well-known tunes from gospel to pop. In the vocal workshop we will do a quick body warm-up – comfortable clothes are suggested – some voice warm-ups and sound exercises – be prepared for some fun! All age groups welcome.

The workshop will take place at Dalston C.L.R James Library at 12:15 on 1st December 2013, and at 2.15pm we will sing our songs on stage at Dalston Christmas Market in Dalston Square – a public performance for you and your families. To sign up (and don’t forget this is open to all, no matter what your level of experience or abilities) please email talent@cityshowcase.co.uk and label your email IRIS.

Join in, join us, and invite all your friends and family to watch you perform.
And speaking of events in the Square, I have also received the minutes of the latest Dalston Square Culture & Community Engagement Forum (available for download from our discussions forum HERE – scroll down to last entry), as well as the third edition of Hackney Council’s Dalston Square Cultural Programme Newsletter (download HERE – again, scroll down the page to find it). Let’s show our thanks to the council for their work to make the Square a fun place to live in the best possible way: Get out there and support and participate in every event we can. See you there?

Hallowe’en & Christmas Events

So finally here are the details of the Christmas market I promised you, and also details of a local All Hallows’ Eve event too.

Hallowe’en first then as it is nearly upon us. Those of you familiar with the Dalston High Street shopping area will surely know of ‘Fee Fee La Fou HQ‘ (also HERE) on Bradbury Street. What you may not know is that this delightful little shop is the brain-child of the Square’s very own Fiona ‘Fee’ Eastwood. Anyway, the shop turns 2 years old next week so to celebrate Fee has organised a story-telling event, which she has called ‘Baba Yaga Goes GAGA!’, to take place at Mezcal Cantina on Kingsland High Street, that will serve as both a birthday party (complete with a very special cake!), and a Hallowe’en celebration. Full details of the event can be found HERE (tickets can be purchased at that same link). If this sounds like your type of event and you are a resident of the Square, contact Fee beforehand to take advantage of her ‘neighbours discount’ (just £5 instead of £7.50!).

Now to the Christmas market. City Showcase is a not-for-profit organisation that highlights and showcases unique up and coming creative talent, who, after the success of their Soho Flea Market, and working with Hackney Council, will host the inaugural Dalston Christmas Market in Dalston Square on Sunday 1st December. But this will be no traditional Christmas market: Instead it will reflect the ethos of City Showcase and the creative vibrant scene that is Dalston. The 2013 Soho Flea Market (the second year it has run) attracted over 15,000 visitors and was featured in publications such as Time Out, Cosmopolitan, Company, The Lady, Evening Standard, and Harper’s Bazaar, so this is a chance to really put Dalston Square on the London events map. As well as the website above, they also have a site dedicated to their markets HERE. Also click the thumbnail images below to see their full-size flyer, plus the letter that was posted out to all residents a few weeks ago (just in case your flat-mate read it and binned it rather than sharing it with you). As well as the market in the Square, there will be a free ‘Make Your Own Christmas Presents’ workshop in the C.L.R. James Library, and live music from local choirs and musicians.

Dalston Christmas Market 2013 Call out Poster m  Letter to Residents Dalston 2013 - 04Oct


Hackney Council Wants Your Opinion

If you follow our Twitter feed you may have seen, back in July, a tweet about Hackney Council considering nominating Dalston as a special policy area (SPA). In short, this can help limit the growth in the number of licensed premises in areas that already have a high concentration of them, and helps the council determine how best to work with licensees and the police to manage the impact of these areas on local residents, visitors, and other businesses.

As I say, this is currently just a proposal, and to help them make a decision whether to go ahead or not the council are looking for input from local residents. Follow this link HERE to read more about what exactly a SPA is, then follow the link near the bottom of that page to complete a short survey as a means to having your say on the proposal.

This is where I must apologise because you only have one more week to take the survey: It closes on October 18th. This is my fault entirely (well, partly an email issue, partly a communication issue between Christine, who runs our Twitter feed, and myself, but basically me). New routines are now in place so hopefully this will not happen again. Sorry all.

While I have your attention, keep your eyes peeled for a post in a day or two with details of the Christmas market that will be held in the Square on December 1st. It is going to be something really special and will definitely put Dalston Square on the map.

Still here? Go do the survey already! 😉


Last Of 2012

Hello all, one last post before year’s end. Firstly, we have a date, venue, and agenda for the next general meeting of the Residents’ Association. Thursday, 10th January, 7.00pm, in the meeting room of the C.L.R. James Library here on the Square. As always, the meeting is open to all residents of the Square, renters and owners alike, and will likely last for 90 mins or so. The agenda is as follows:

1) The Residents’ Association – Who is it? What has it achieved? Where next?

2) Consort service charges, present and future – Value for money?

3) Planning applications for the Square – Issues of common concern.

4) Right to manage initiative (changing the management company) – Progress report.

5) Progress on our ‘good neighbourliness’ campaign – Improving the quality of life in and around the Square.

6) Any other business.

Next up, an update on the public space of the Square itself. I am sure I am not alone in welcoming the opening of the next section of the Square this last Thursday. The hoarded section in the middle of the newly opened area is an electricity sub station that will be moved in the new year and so that will soon disappear. The area of grass is also temporary: This is what will become the children’s play area, but it extends slightly beyond the new hoarding line into Barrat’s site hut area and so has been turfed as a temporary measure. When Barrat open up the last section of the Square next spring, the grass will be removed and the play area constructed. Also coming in the spring is the water feature. Comprised of 9 synchronised water jets the feature is already in place (you can see the 9 metal discs, the jets, embedded in the paving) but will not be turned on until after the winter weather is behind us. Barrat’s latest estimate for completion of the public space is June 2013.

Just one last thing to say….

Merry-Christmas