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

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Easter Egg Hunt

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Cultural events in the Square?

Have you ever felt that the Square could be enlivened? Do you want to help create a sense of community? A sense of things going on in the Square on those warm summer days?Hackney Council Arts.jpgLucy McMenemy the energetic Hackney Arts and  Culture coordinator and driver is keen to hear from residents in the Square.
Join in and make yourself heard!

 


Tonight’s Hackney Film Club Public Screening Postponed

Please be advised that the public screening of a film in Dalston Square this evening, to celebrate the launch of the Hackney Film Club’s ‘Turkey East Asia Season’, has been postponed. Weather forecasters have warned of the chance of high winds and rain for this evening so the performance has been provisionally rescheduled for May 23rd. That date coincides with the World Food Market’s wish to be in the square so avenues need to be explored to determine if both events can run concurrently. To that end there is a meeting within the council this coming week, and I should be able to get back to you all with an update soon thereafter.


World Food Market And Engagement Forum Updates

Further to my last post I have two updates to share with you all.

Dalston Square Culture and Community Engagement Forum

Far more complete than my brief report, the minutes of the last meeting of this group can be found posted at our discussions forum in the bottom entry of THIS thread.

Dalston Square World Food Market

I now have more concrete dates for the proposed market: Monday 18th to Saturday 23rd May, with trading from 11am to 3pm Monday to Friday and 11am to 6pm on the Saturday. You will notice that this is somewhat longer than the originally proposed 3 day market, but with such short hours it seems unlikely to cause any problems to residents (other than the problem of deciding what yumminess to partake of of course). If anyone has concerns, please leave them in the comments section immediately below this post (if you are reading this via email, simply hit ‘Reply’) and I will share them with the relevant person at Hackney Council. All comments need to be in by the close of business this Friday please.


Outdoor Gym, Circle Housing, DS Responsibilities

Proposed Rhodes Estate Outdoor Gym

We have been contacted by our local councillor, Peter Snell, to see if we can help our neighbours in the Rhodes Estate (the estate to our East on the other side of Beechwood Road) with a project that will also be to our benefit. Working with The Great Outdoor Gym Company, the Rhodes Estate Tenants & Residents’ Association is aiming to procure and install outdoor gym equipment of a type that is becoming popular throughout London. They believe that beyond the obvious health benefits, the equipment will also strengthen community ties (the equipment will be available to locals beyond the bounds of Rhodes Estate), thus also boosting security and making the area a safer place to live in. Knowing of our own residents’ gym, and believing it was staffed with fitness professionals, we have been asked if we could give input to ensure the range of equipment they install will offer a balanced exercise routine. Lacking those on-site professionals my question is this: Do we have any fitness professionals in residence in the square who could help, or do any of those who bring personal trainers to the gym with them believe their trainer would be willing to offer some advice? If yes, please contact me at DalstonSquareRA@gmail.com and I will put you/them in touch with the Rhodes Estate team.

Circle Housing 2015 Service Charges

While it is still a mystery how they can produce them before receiving costings from the development management company (Consort), it seems Circle Housing have started issuing service charge bills to their tenants for next year. Unfortunately it seems that there have been some errors in their calculations and some residents have received bills that are greatly in excess of what they should be (over 50% higher in at least one case we have heard of). If you have received your bill and you believe it to be higher than it should be, please contact Circle Housing and ask them to check the figures: Do not contact Consort as they will not be able to help you.

Who Is Responsible For What, In & Around Dalston Square

It seems there is still some confusion regarding who is responsible for what, in and around the square. To help alleviate this confusion I have made a post over at our discussions forum that will hopefully clear this up once and for all: It can be found HERE.

One Last Thing

holly2christmas-animated-elfholly

 


Dalston Square Residents’ Winter Get-together

Not much needed with regard explanation I believe, but just to say that, continuing the tradition of trying to bring Dalston Square’s residents together, the DSRA is pleased to announce it’s Winter/Christmas social event. Check out the poster below (give the thumbnail a click), and soon on your block’s noticeboard. A chance to meet a neighbour or 3, and meet some of the folk that attend meetings as representatives of the DSRA (pursuing causes in the name of all residents). Meeting in the wood-burning-stove heated greenhouse of the Eastern Curve Garden on Dalston Lane, we offer you a chance to meet and say ‘Hi’ to a few of the faces (residents/neighbours ) often seen here in the square. The Garden’s cafe serves tea, coffee, herbal drinks, beer, cider, wine, and their own fresh lemonade and sodas. Thy also sell some food items but Marie from the garden management team has said it is fine to bring along our own snacks and treats, just please use the bar for drinks. There is a chance (no promises here) that freshly made pizza will be available too, but do not rely on it.

See you there?

Poster

 


Locked Doors, Balcony Litterers, Free Tickets, & Dalston Futures

Keeping Your Doors Locked

Back in June of 2012, after a series of burglaries here in the square, I made a post to explain the system used by the thieves and remind residents to keep their apartment doors locked at all times. After what appears to be a gang operating in the exact same manner struck Sledge Tower last week, it seems it is time for a reminder. The initial problem is one I commented on in my last post: Residents who continue to allow people to tail-gate them through building entrance doors (if someone tries to follow you into your block, ask to see their fob: No fob, no entry). Once inside the building, the burglars take the elevator to the top floor, then start making their way back down again trying every apartment door as they go. When they find one unlocked, they walk in, bold as brass as if they own the place. If someone is home they apologise profusely, explaining they must of got off on the wrong floor and leave again. If no-one is home, they quickly scan for and take small, portable valuables (laptops, tablets, and phones are particularly vulnerable). In one instance 2 years ago, one resident came out of the bathroom to find they had been burgled.

So please neighbours, keep your apartment door(s) locked at all times, whether you are home or not, and keep yourself and your possessions safe. One last comment on the subject, and a response to the resident that once said to me that they did not understand why they had to lock themselves in. You are not locked in, you are free to leave any time you like: You are locking everyone else out.

Littering From Balconies

Again this is an issue that we have covered before, and again it seems a reminder is necessary. Please do not throw litter from your balcony. Mostly it seems the issue is (though not limited to) people who, rather than use an ashtray when smoking on their balconies, simply flick their ash, and eventually their cigarette butt, over the rail (or out of the window in the case of phase 1 winter gardens). Please just spare a thought for your neighbours below who have to a) keep an eye skyward for falling debris, and b) clean up your mess. Disgusting behaviour: Really disgusting.

Dalston Futures & The Eastern Curve Garden

As many of you will be aware, the latest threat to the popular Eastern Curve Garden has receded since plans for the redevelopment of Kingsland Shopping Centre have been withdrawn. But that does not mean it is safe from future plans. In an attempt to make it harder for developers for get their hands on this beautiful, community treasure, Dalston Futures are attempting to get the garden registered as an ‘asset of community value’. If successful, it would give the community a ‘community right to bid’: Should the owner wish to dispose of the land, the community must be given an opportunity to raise money to secure the land before it is sold. It does not of itself guarantee that the site will be saved and retained, but it does create an additional opportunity for the community to prevent unwanted development, and create a disincentive to developers. For more info on the campaign and how to be involved, plus their other upcoming projects, click HERE.

Two Free Tickets To Give Away

Thanks to Dalston Square resident Judith, I am in possession of 2 tickets to ‘Saturday brunch with The Guide’ (details of the event can be found HERE) this coming Saturday (Sept. 27th) at Rotorino on Kingsland Road here in Dalston (event runs from 10.30am until 1,30pm). Having purchased the tickets (an £80 value for the 2) Judith and her partner find they are now unable to attend so, rather than leave the tickets unused, they would like to give them away: Very generous I am sure you will all agree. Here then is what I will do: If you are a Dalston resident and are interested in receiving them, send an email to DalstonSquareRA@gmail.com with the heading ‘Yes Please’ and your postcode and name (just your christian name is fine) as the message. On Thursday afternoon I will select one at random and contact you for your full address so I can deliver them to you (I will only deliver them to the Dalston postcode contained in your email – collection or alternate addresses will not be allowed). This is the fairest way I can think of doing it to ensure they go to a Dalston neighbour. Good luck everyone.

 


Dalston Square As A Public Space Plus A Local Museums Call For Help

Billed as ‘the largest public space created in London since the war’, Dalston Square was, right from it’s inception, planned as a space for the whole community to use and enjoy. To this end Hackney Council created the Dalston Square Culture & Community Forum, which has now been running for nearly 2 years. Under the leadership of LBH Cultural Programme Officer Lucy McMenemy the Forum’s brief was clear:

  • To ensure that residents in the vicinity of Dalston Square are consulted about the cultural programming of the square.
  • To ensure a shared sense of ownership of the square from all sections of Hackney’s community.
  • To create an opportunity for other key stakeholders, representing cultural venues in the Dalston area, to participate in the shaping of the programme.
  • To identify opportunities for linking Dalston Square’s programme with cultural activities taking place in other public spaces in Dalston, in order to ensure a complementary approach.
  • To develop opportunities for Dalston Square to become a vibrant and healthy area that promotes a variety of well-being initiatives.

The Forum meets every 3 months and is comprised of: Lucy McMenemy, LBH Dalston Town Centre Manager Cory Defoe, Dalston ward councillors Sophie Linden and Michelle Gregory, and finally 7 ‘local resident’ representatives. These 7 are comprised of 2 reps each from Dalston Square and Rhodes Estate, and one each from Mayfield Close & Forest Grove Estates, Forest Road, Acer Street & Holly Street Estates, and finally Keswick Lodge & Panton Lodge.

The DSRA have had representatives on the the Forum right from the first meeting back in May of 2012, and I have been publishing the meeting minutes to our own discussions forum for everyone to peruse (minutes from all 8 meetings so far, including the latest one on March 12th, can be found HERE). And hopefully everyone has enjoyed at least some of the many events that have already been staged here in the Square over the last couple of years. Probably the most ambitious of these was the one day Christmas market held here last December.

With the Square now all but finished, and after the success of previous events, thoughts are turning to the possibility of bigger, grander events. Though still early days, a 2014 Christmas market could be one such event: If a small one day event can be a success, how about a 3 day market with double the amount of stalls including food & drink, and a sound stage for performances by local school choirs and performers (the market would also need at least a second day to make it commercially viable)? At the bottom of this post you can see the proposal document of just such an event (click the thumbnail to see it full size). Because of it’s size though, the Culture & Community Forum are looking for opinions from the wider Dalston Square residency. The DSRA have expressed concern that any such event would need to be well planned and run (with marshaling and policing if it will truly ‘fill’ the Square). Sound stage volumes would have to be monitored to ensure they do not become a nuisance to residents overlooking the Square (as several hundred residents do), and after the failings following last year’s market, cleaning up after the event would also need to be swift and thorough (and probably necessary both during and after each day rather than just at the end). If these concerns were alleviated though, we feel such an event could really put some life in to the place, drawing in visitors (along with their wallets) from across London. Surely this could only be a good thing for the local community as a whole.

By all means feel free to leave your comments here but in order to gauge opinion on this and a few other issues, the DSRA will soon be sending out a very brief (a dozen questions at most) multiple-choice questionnaire to every apartment in the development. Yes, Dalston Square is a public space, but it is also home to very nearly 600 apartments with well over 1000 residents. This is acknowledged by the council who have given us a ‘voice’ on this issue. If you have an opinion, please do share it. As I say, the questionnaires will be going out shortly, and I will be posting an electronic version here on the website for those who prefer mouse & keyboard over pen & paper.

On a completely different note,  the Clowns Gallery, London’s unique show business museum and archive, currently housed in Holy Trinity Church (also known as ‘The Clowns Church) in Beechwood Road, is appealing for help. the second thumbnail below is their press release with all the details, so rather than me repeating their words, please click on that thumbnail to view it full size.

xmas proposal gallery closure


Opinions & Choices

First a quick piece of half-news: The last retail unit is now being worked on. Top of the stairs as you leave the Square heading for the rear entrance to Dalston Junction station, the last piece of the Dalston Square commercial jigsaw slots into place. Although I am still unsure of the name of the restaurant or the owner, I can confirm it is to be a Japanese restaurant. More to come when I learn of it.

Now news of a new project running in Dalston for the duration of March (and beyond?). Many of you will be aware of services like Yelp that can point you to the right bar, cafe, and/or restaurant when you want it (particularly great as a smart-phone app). How about a research tool that allows you to comment on, not just food and drink establishments but, everything an area has to offer. And the ability to read other peoples opinions of course. Below is the poster that launched the project over the weekend. In their words “… CPRE London and Commonplace have created a different way for you to share your ideas about your neighbourhood. Using your phone, home computer or other internet device, you can comment in real time, share your views, and also find out what other people in your neighbourhood think. Information is immediately available to you or your organisation…. Register now on Dalston.Commonplace.is…” A chance to get your geek on.

launch


Kingsland Shopping Centre & Hackney Unites – United

Firstly, a reminder that Hackney Council’s ‘open to the public’ meeting, where developers will make a pre-application presentation of their plans for the redevelopment of Kingsland Shopping centre, is tonight:  Stoke Newington Town Hall, 6.30pm. See my last post to this blog (second paragraph) HERE for full details.

Secondly, a reminder that Wednesday next week, 5th March, will see the next meeting of Hackney Unites’ ‘Dalston Futures’. Under discussion will be their latest project ‘Speak Out’. Full details can be found HERE.

And lastly, to unite the previous 2 topics, Dalston Futures are building a petition regarding the Kingsland Shopping Centre redevelopment. Their aim is to force the developers into discussion with the local community. As they rightly point out, this will have a huge impact on the people that live here and yet at no point has the community been asked their views. For full details follow THIS link, for the self explanatory petition itself click HERE.


Past, Present, And Futures

In time order then, let’s start with the ‘Past’: Thanks to everyone who attended the recent DSRA open meeting in the CLR James Library. The meeting was kept short, as requested, but, I believe, successfully conveyed to all present where the DSRA currently stands and what we have been working on. Of particular interest was the subject of our service/management charges, which we hope to have further news on very soon as Consort complete the budgets for past years as well as the 2014/15 financial year. A report on the meeting is now available for download from the DSRA specific section of our Forum HERE (if this link does not work for you, read the first post in THIS THREAD). And while on the subjects of our forum, Consort, and budgets, at Consort’s request I have published a copy of the letter they recently sent out to all owners (there has been an issue with sending out this letter so if you are an owner but have not received it, a little patience should see new copies sent out very soon. Failing that, read it on our forum HERE). Though mostly of interest just to owners, the first paragraph includes news relevant to all Dalston Square residents: For those still unaware, Sean Stone, Consort’s on-site development manager, has left Consort and been replaced by Mr. Gerald Bernard. Obviously Gerald is going to need a little time to settle in and get to know the place (and it’s issues), but if needed he can be contacted on 020 7249 0896, or by email at gerald.bernard@consortpm.co.uk.

Moving now into the ‘Present’, we have the ongoing issue of the flooding of the sub-basement beneath phase 3 buildings, and more specifically Sledge Tower. After many emails back and forth between DSRA Chair Ben Collins, Consort, and Barratt, it seems we have finally got the the crux of the issue. It seems this is pretty much the last part of the Square yet to be handed over to Consort because of the issues of flooding in this sub-basement. This flooding has been an issue right from the early stages of construction and Barratt have a number of engineers looking at the problem, trying to find a way to rectify it. This problem only recently came to residents attention when a sewer blockage forced raw sewage into the already flooded sub-basement. Anyhow, Barratt have now pumped this area dry (and have committed to keeping it dry until a solution to the flooding has been put in place), and have instructed Consort to go ahead and have the whole area sanitized to remove the last of the residues and with them, hopefully, the last of the odours. Consort have advised us that this work will be undertaken next week, and will take a full 5 days to complete. If after next week anyone again smells a problem, do not hesitate in contacting either Consort or Barratt (phone numbers and email addresses are in the side-bar of our website homepage).

And finally the ‘Futures’: Dalston Futures (the Hackney Unites project that aims to give the local Dalston community a voice in what happens in/to Dalston). They have just received a grant to make a short film allowing local people to voice their concerns, and they want to hear what yours are. If you would like to be heard, or have experience in film making and can offer advise/help, check out all the details HERE.

That’s all for now, have a great weekend neighbours!


DSRA Open Meeting Plus….

DSRA ‘Open’ Meeting – Thursday 6th February, 6.30pm to 8pm. Venue to be advised.

Are you free Thursday next week between 6.30pm and 8pm? And are you a resident of the Square (owner or renter)? Cool, see you at the next DSRA Open Meeting! 😉

As usual, the venue is still to be decided (it will be very local) but we have a date and time for the next ‘Open To All Residents’ meeting of the Dalston Square Residents’ Association. It does not matter if you have been to one before or not, or even that you have nothing in particular to say (although hopefully you do), come along and find out how the DSRA has been working on all residents’ behalf, learn of the challenges currently being tackled, and show your support. Items likely to appear on the agenda include:

Consort’s 2014/15 budget proposal: As owner’s costs rise, so do rents, so this is not just an owner’s issue. We will have feed-back from our finance committee on their recent meeting with Consort. The news is unlikely to be good.

Sean Stone’s replacement as Development Manager: As Consort and Barratt go through the motions of hiring, the DSRA is keen to be involved in the process. This also makes it a good time for us to assess how we feel about Consort’s ‘on site’ performance generally, and ask if changes are needed.

Outstanding buildings and maintenance issues: With final completion of the Square very close to hand there are still issues that need addressing before Barratt pack up and leave for good. What are the issues and how best do we ensure they are dealt with.

I will post again before the day of the meeting to publicise the venue. Until then, please keep that Thursday free and show your support by turning out for a couple of hours: If the Square is your home, we would love to hear your opinions.

Now to the ‘Plus’ part of the post. Hackney Unites are in the process of organising their next ‘Dalston Futures’ community meeting but in the meantime have co-sponsored an event with campaign group HOPE not hate. The event, to be held in the Arcola Theatre (ignore the Dalston Lane address if you click through to them – the venue has changed) on Feb 17th, will be an introduction to, as well as a masterclass in, community organising. Their full explanation of the event can be found HERE. It is expected that this will be oversubscribed so, to reserve your spot, check HERE.


Completion Of The Square Plus Other Development Plans

A couple of weeks have passed since I promised an update on the completion of the Square and apologise for not getting back to you sooner. Basically, things should be wrapped up(ish) by the end of the year. Sledge Tower is, as you will know, now complete, and Joplin House, the last block that will complete the development, should be finished by the middle of November. Once that is complete, the Barratt site huts will be moved out of the Square (with the remaining tradesmen moving into the offices behind the Barratt sales office) and the remaining public area will be finished off. The sales office will continue to be manned until January, at which point, with the completion of building works, the tradesmen will depart, as will the sales staff who will be moving on to a new Barratt development over Islington way. For those of you who know Richard in the sales office (who has been manning the office from day one of it’s opening), you will be glad to hear he is to become a resident of the Square and so will not be leaving us completely.

With regard the commercial units around the Square, the biggest news is probably the imminent opening of the Smooth You Town Spa in the double unit beneath Burke and Dekker. As you will no doubt have seen, work is well underway and should be finished by the end of November(ish). They have advised us, via our Twitter feed (@DalstonSquareRA), that as well as a general public launch party, an invitation-only party for residents is also being planned (more details as soon as I have them). The only other definite news is the recent signing (2 weeks ago) of contracts for the unit to the left of the Barratt sales office (the one with the Cafe Rica graphic in the window). No confirmation yet on who has taken it, but no doubt we will hear soon.

There is also news regarding the Holy Trinity School saga. A date has now been set for the GLA (Mayor Boris Johnson’s office) public meeting: 19th November. All those that made representations to the Hackney Council hearing on this development will be contacted 14 days before the new hearing with details of how they can be involved if they wish to. You will be pleased to know that the group of concerned Square residents who campaigned so brilliantly the first time around will again be active on our behalf. While the idea of expanding the school and creating much-needed places is to everyone’s benefit, the plans as they stand were rejected for very good reasons and we can but hope that Mayor Johnson and his representatives will support Hackney Council in their original rejection of the plans as they stand.

One last thing to mention, yet another new development has become public. Some residents have received a letter from Hackney Council regarding development of 514 – 600 Kingsland Road. This is the strip of retail units from, and including, the noodle bar on the corner with Dalston Lane, right down to, and including, Oxfam on the corner of Forest Road. Details are very sketchy but Square resident Kevin (forum post HERE if you have further info to share) found an online reference to it that mentioned buildings of 7, 10, 18, and 19 stories. Apparently plans are available for viewing at the Hackney Service Centre. A quick look at the DAAP (Hackney Council’s own Dalston Area Action Plan) shows that ‘opportunity sites’ on Kingsland only exist north of the Balls Pond Road/Dalston Lane junction. I will pass on more info on this and all other proposed developments in our neighbourhood as I receive them.

I think that is it for now: All up to date. Have a good week all!


‘Future Of Dalston’ Meeting

We have been contacted by Hackney Unites, the organisation that put on the Dalston People’s Festival earlier in the year. Following on from that success, they are to hold an open meeting, at 6.30pm on 17th October at the Trinity Centre on Beechwood Road, to discuss the future of our neighbourhood. More specifically, they are looking to create a permanent, inclusive, community organisation in Dalston that is capable of identifying its collective needs and organising to ensure that decision-makers cannot ignore the community. This can only be a good thing, and is surely something residents of the Square need to support and be involved in. For full details of the meeting and how to attend/participate/get involved, follow THIS LINK. Following the link will also give you access to a survey they are conducting that they are asking all Dalston residents to complete. It will only take a few minutes so please do give it a go.

Think you may attend the meeting? Feel able to represent the Dalston Square Residents’ Association? If you can attend the meeting, takes notes, and report back to Ben Collins, chair of the DSRA, please drop him a line at bmcengland@aol.com.


Planned Events And Consort Notices

Hello neighbours. Just a quick post to point out some recent FORUM postings. Firstly a couple of things from Lucy McMenemy, Cultural Programme Officer at Hackney Council and the lady who organises the free events the council lays on in the Square. The first of these is the minutes of the latest meeting of the cultural forum HERE (scroll to the bottom of the thread), the second is the electronic version of their newsletter, NUMBER 2, that has been mailed out to all Dalston Square residents recently. One thing to add: The printed version has a note in red about the junior cricket sessions being postponed until the barriers are removed from around the fountains. Well, as you will have noticed, these are now gone and so the cricket is back on, every other Monday, until August 19th (it was back today but I was unable to get this post out until it was too late. My sincere apologies). And talking of the fountains, you may have already heard that an event may be planned to celebrate the official switching on. This was proposed by a Dalston Square resident and Lucy agrees this is a great idea.  Once dates are confirmed, we will announce the details.

The other FORUM posts I want to bring to your attention are the latest notices from Consort. The first of these is partly relevant to all residents (and partly just to Phase 2) and can be found HERE, the other is only relevant to Phase 2 residents (Thomas through to Ocean), covering several topics, and can be found HERE.

And that’s your lot for now. I will be creating a forum post very soon to bring everyone up to date on the many developments we are aware of that are in planning for Dalston, and will advertise said post here when it is complete. Until then, take care, and enjoy the summer (while it lasts).


Dalston Square’s Cookin’

….Starts here. 😉

With with post, we are asking for your help in the shape of feedback. Over the past month there have been, as I am sure you are all fully aware, 4 film screenings in the Square by The Lost Picture Show, as part of the Dalston Children’s Festival. To accompany the screenings, small-scale barbecue catering was made available, selling beef (half was halal) and veggie burgers. This was basically a test-run to see if this was something that could be rolled out during other screening events, without causing a nuisance to residents. Before getting the go-ahead, a surprising number of factors were looked at: Everything from ensuring the food providers were registered with the council’s food safety department, to hygiene issues, to cooking smells swirling around the Square (not much chance of that with the Square’s wind-tunnel effect), to fire risk.

The grounds for providing catering are fairly clear: To add to the sense of fun and draw extra participants to the event, as a test to see if food provision is even popular, and as a revenue stream to help subsidise these free-to-attend events as the council are keen to provide more involvement with film club members (costumes, activities etc.) which,of course, all costs money.

So please let us know your opinion. Good idea? Was the catering a nuisance to you? Were there any issues that showed themselves after the event? Maybe just a complete success? Let us hear the good and bad (hopefully all good). This is your chance to have a say regarding events planned for ‘your’ Square. If reading this through email, simply click on the blue ‘Comment’ button at the bottom of the email. If reading this on the website, the comment button is in the small print immediately below this post. We look forward to hearing from you.

More news coming very soon.


Community Events In Dalston Square

Hi neighbours. Just wanted to pass on some news I have received from Lucy McMenemy, Cultural Programme Officer from Hackney Council. As you all know by now, the council has plans to make Dalston Square a focal point of the local community by laying on a wide range of events and activities. The news from Lucy comes in 3 parts: Firstly, posted to the forum are the minutes from the latest meeting of the Culture & Community Engagement Forum HERE (scroll down to the last post on the thread).

Secondly, a poster for the community wide project, Dalston Children’s Festival: A summer’s worth of events, to run throughout Dalston. Click on the thumbnail below this message to see it in full. Those of you who follow our Twitter feed (@DalstonSquareRA) will have seen us mentioning this already: If you have kids, get them out there and support this wonderful initiative. Saturday 25th May should be a great community gathering, if the weather is on our side, as it is the launch of the Dalston Children’s Festival and it is also the first night of the Dalston Square Cinema. The square will be temporarily transformed into a cinema by the Lost Picture Show, and the film programme has been been chosen by local teenagers. That night the film programme includes the 70’s hit musical Bugsy Malone.

Thirdly, in order to ensure that residents do not feel left out of the loop of what is going on in what many feel is their Square, Lucy’s team is to produce a newsletter, posted out to every residence in the Square, which will contain a full programme of events. The first edition will be with you shortly. Lucy apologises for the ‘corporate’ feel of this first edition, but assures us future editions will be better. For anyone who loses track of their copy, and for followers of this blog who do not live on the Square itself, I will be posting copies of this newsletter to our discussions forum for all to download. The first edition is available HERE.

One last thing before I leave you in peace: Don’t forget our Twitter feed at @DalstonSquareRA. Although these DSRA posts go out on it, 99% of our tweets are regarding the wider community: Everything from Hackney Council updates to pop-up restaurants to local community events. And if you tweet yourself, and know of something going on we have missed, tweet at us and we will re-tweet you!

That’s it for now folks, have a great weekend.

MW-Dalston-3.2


Hackney Council Working On Our Behalf

In a sprawling city like London it is easy to forget that politics stays local through the borough councils. And after reading the recent reports regarding absenteeism in our own Hackney Council (see our recent Twitter posts @DalstonSquareRA) how reassuring it is to know that our representatives are listening to, and working for, residents here on the Square. For those not aware, Hackney is a Labour controlled Council, the Square is in Dalston Ward, and we are represented by 3 Labour Councillors: Michelle Gregory, Sophie Linden, and Angus Mulready-Jones (more info HERE if you are interested).

Why am I telling you all this? As many will by now be aware, plans have finally been submitted to the council for the redevelopment of the Holy Trinity School site at the southern end of the Square. As well as a doubling of the school’s capacity, 99 apartments will also be included in the proposed 10/11 storey building that will pretty much fill the whole site. Those directly affected (residents of the south facing end of Labyrinth Tower as well as the 4, soon to be 5, blocks that overlook the site from across Roseberry Place), are understandably upset that their outlooks, and more importantly light, will be seriously impacted if this project goes ahead as planned. Because of this, many have been contacting Cllrs. Gregory and Linden directly, rather than/as well as going the official route: Using the comments page on the Hackney Council Planning Department’s webpage HERE: The deadline for comments is April 15th. Because of this the DSRA (via Ben Collins, Chair) has been contacted directly by Cllr. Gregory. On our behalf she is working to arrange a meeting, in her words “…with the school and developers to which Dalston Sq. and other residents will be invited………. to which Cllr Linden and myself will aim to attend”. Cllr Gregory will be contacting me directly when this has been organised and I will be passing on the details via this website and our forum. Cllr. Gregory will be replying to all those who have contacted her thus far, but asks that residents now cease contacting her directly as all she can do is pass comments on to planning (which is not as efficient or valuable as your comments posted directly through their website). Cllr Gregory has also recommended the website of Planning Aid For London, who provide valuable information and support on planning objections. Watch this space for further details as I receive them.

Also from Hackney Council, I have again been contacted by Lucy McMenemy, Cultural Programme Officer, with an invitation to all residents to the next public event to be held here in the C.L.R. James Library, the public space of the Square, and the Eastern Curve Garden. Hackney Wow! is a new kids’ online guide to all the fun stuff they can get up to in the local area, created by pupils at Rushmore Primary School. The planned events, on Wednesday 27th March, are to publicise the launch of this new website. As part of this, Dalston Square will be taken over by Hoxton Hall’s street performers: Cool. For full details of all that is planned see the flyer below (click on the thumbnail to see the full size image), and check out their website at hackneywow.co.uk.

One last thing before I leave you in peace: The minutes of the latest meeting of the Dalston Lane Community Working Group are now available for download from the Document Depository over at the forum HERE. Of particular interest at the meeting was the latest schedule, from Barrat Homes, for completion of every aspect of Dalston Square: Definitely worth a look. And as I always say with links to that section of the forum (the hidden, DSRA specific section), if it will not let you in you need to read the post titled ‘Please Read this…….’ HERE.

hackneywow


Posters & Flyers

Hi folks, couple of things. Firstly a reminder that our residents winter get-together is this Sunday: From 6pm, 3rd floor roof terrace of Gaumont Tower. Click the thumbnail below to see the full size poster. Secondly, Maisie Collins has asked that I let you all know that she has changed the time and venue of her first meeting for anyone interested in her ‘Dalston Square Collective’ for freelancers and small business owners that reside on the Square. New details are on Maisie’s forum post HERE. Lastly, did we all receive the Holy Trinity Primary School flyer below (click on the thumbnail for the full size image), which I found in my mailbox earlier in the week? I intend to attend the meeting on Monday and will report back with my findings. A forum thread has also been started about this planned development HERE. Have a good weekend all!

PosterFlyer


Two Things……….

Firstly, the minutes from the last general meeting of the DSRA are available for download (.pdf file) in the DSRA specific section over at the forum HERE. If that link does not work for you, please read this forum post HERE, and all should become clear. These minutes are available to all residents (renters and owners alike) of Dalston Square: But only residents of Dalston Square. If anyone has any problems getting the minutes, please feel free to contact me (via the general chat section of the forum is best).

Secondly, hands up if you know Maisie Collins. Keep them up if you knew Maisie started the Residents Association single-handed? Well done if you still have your hand up. Maisie had now decided it is time for her newest project: The Dalston Square Collective. Do you work freelance? Perhaps run your own small business? From home on the Square? If you answered yes to any of those options you must read Maisie’s post at the forum (worth a read if you didn’t answer yes – you never know): HERE.

More soon! Enjoy your weekend.


Autumn Newsletter

Hello everyone. Bit of a long one today, but please do read through as there is definitely something here for everyone. The main thing will be an update in the shape of a newsletter to keep you all informed of what has been happening in a slew of recent meetings. But first a couple of other notices. First up, another public event has been organised by Hackney Council for this coming weekend (Saturday 27th October) here in the Square. Running from midday until 4.00pm, to celebrate the opening of the new Young Hackney Centre on Forest Road/Beechwood Road, there will be free, yes FREE, bungee trampoline! Trained instructors will be there to ensure complete safety and no booking is required: First come, first served. For full details visit the council’s dedicated Dalston Square website HERE. The other quick mention I wanted to make is regarding the new permit system for the underground parking here on the Square. As you will all be aware (thanks to Consort posting out to every residence) the new system is now up and running. If you have a vehicle parked in the underground parking but do not have a permit to display in your vehicle’s windscreen, get one asap from the concierge guys or you will very soon find you have received a parking ticket (if you didn’t get one already). Okey dokey, newsletter time (courtesy of DSRA Chairperson Ben Collins, thanks Ben).

Dalston Square Residents Association Newsletter – Autumn 2012

Damage to glass canopy

The glass canopy (between Gaumont and Collins Towers) was vandalized by persons unknown throwing stones from one of the nearby building roof-tops. It seems that an intruder entered through a poorly working security door in either Collins or Gaumont Tower on both Friday 29th and Saturday 30th of September. The damage and repair costs are estimated at around £25,000.00. It is not yet clear who will pay for this. The residents association will argue that the damage was caused by care-taking negligence, resulting in a lapse in building security. There is also a case of inappropriate design and use of materials, on behalf of Barratt Architects. The DSRA will campaign to ensure any costs are not met retrospectively by an increase in our service charges for 2013-2014. We need your support for that so please come along to our next meeting.

Changes to site management staff

The residents association have long been concerned that Consort site staff have not been delivering value for money for the high service charges we all pay to keep the building in a good state of cleanliness and repair. The smashed canopy was in part a result of site management negligence. There have been ongoing small issues which we feel have not been properly addressed. Amongst these have been keeping all entrance doors in good working order, keeping paintwork in corridors clean, ensuring rubbish containers are accessible, and keeping entrance thresholds and lobbies clean and litter free. Consort management are aware of our concerns regarding these matters, as well as a number of others. We will continue to monitor progress on these items under any future site team, to ensure we get value for money.

Co-op and new café to open on the Square

Work is now under way on the new Co-op which will soon be opening in the North West corner of the Square beneath Ocean House (next to Dalston Junction overground station). We do not have a date for that opening but assume it will be soon. Also, a new café by the name of Café Square is to open in the commercial unit beneath Gaumont Tower, facing Collins Tower. While this is clearly a welcome development, residents are concerned about proposals for a vent grille at ground level, which could well see kitchen odours travelling up to resident’s balconies and windows above. If you want to respond to this plan, you may do so by visiting the Hackney Council website HERE. Simply enter the application number 2012/2818 (all comments must be in by October 31st). There is also some concern regarding the café’s licencing request to the council: The application request seems more suited to a bar than a café. More details available at our discussions forum in this thread HERE.

Good Neighbourliness and noise abatement

The issue of noisy parties into the early hours continues to cause many residents stress on week-end nights. The resident association appeals for respectful consideration of the right of others to a quiet night’s sleep. Those who are subjected to unreasonable noise by unreasonable neighbours at night should not hesitate to contact the concierge service who will keep names private but will intervene on your behalf. You can pop down to speak to the concierge or call them on 0751 630 2926. It is also advisable, should there be a repeat, or a noisy late night event outside the building, to contact the Hackney Council Noise Pollution Team on 0208 356 4455 (alternatively you can contact them through there website, a link to which is in the link list on the homepage of our website). Following repeated complaints by several neighbours about noisy parties at one particular residence on the Square, the resident association has been informed that the tenants responsible were evicted earlier this month. They were in breach of the terms of both lease and tenancy agreements, which stipulated that noise should not be audible in neighbouring flats after 11.00pm or before 8am. So if you suffer because of thoughtless neighbours, you can do something about it.

Bike Storage – a design shortfall

The residents association is campaigning for an improvement in the bike storage and security in the Square, both inside and outside the buildings. It seems that while good space was made for cars, the provision for bikes was an afterthought. Secure bike stores are either not secure or often not easily accessible to the user. Both these defects mean that many, if not most, are obliged to take bikes up in the lifts causing a number of problems. We are meeting with Barratt to push for some changes in location and design to see if matters can be improved. We need the backing of cyclists on this! Let us know your views via our discussion forum HERE.

Next DSRA meeting: Nov 20th 2012 – Looking ahead to 2013 Service Charges

The Dalston Square Residents’ Association is keen to ensure all resident’s voices are heard. We invite all residents, owners and renters alike, to our open, 6 weekly, committee meetings. The next open committee meeting is on Tuesday Nov 20th. More details nearer the time on our website. We also encourage everybody to make use of our discussions forum. Anyone can read the posts on the forum but to reply to someone’s post or start a conversation yourself you will need to register (a quick and simple 2 minute process). If you have any opinions regarding anything mentioned here, or anything else come to that, don’t keep them to yourself, share them.

 


Thames House Development

Hello again. News not specific to Dalston Square this time, but relevant as Thames House is right on our doorstep: The north side of Dalston Lane, to the east of the Eastern Curve Garden. As you will see from the literature below (click on the thumbnail images for the full-size version), this is going to be an extensive redevelopment comprising of 77 new flats and houses (a mixture of affordable family homes and private market apartments) as well as commercial space for small businesses. Due to it’s scale, there will be a public exhibition to consult with local residents on 3rd October, and anyone interested is seeing the plans or asking questions is invited (see the flyer below).

 

 


Minutes And Cricket

Hi everyone. Bet you have never seen the words ‘Minutes’ and ‘Cricket’ together before: Cricket is normally accompanied by the words ‘Hours’ or ‘Days’. In this instance though ‘Minutes’ refers to the minutes of last week’s DSRA meeting which are now available for download from the forum HERE (if that link does not work for you, read the last paragraph, starting with PLEASE NOTE, of THIS).

Now to the cricket part of the title. I have received an advisory email from Lucy McMenemy, Cultural Programme Officer for Hackney Council, to share with you all. It reads:

Dear all

I am very pleased to invite you to a special day of cricket-inspired events both inside and outside Dalston CLR James Library, this Saturday (29th Sept), as part of Hackney’s Black History Month 2012. 
 
For CLR James, whom Dalston’s new library is named after, cricket was not just an entertainment and relic of empire, but also a means of struggle for independence and national pride for the West Indies. His book ‘Beyond a Boundary’ is recognised as one of the best books ever written on cricket. 
 
As a celebration of CLR James’ legacy, Dalston Square is temporarily being transformed into a cricket haven by day – with trained coaches from the English Cricket Board’s Cricket Factory Roadshow – and a cinema by night – with a free screening of Fire in Babylon (2011, Revolver Films). Please see the attached flier for more details.
 
Also this Saturday, the library will host the launch of a special exhibition about the involvement of black people in cricket in Hackney and beyond. The exhibition focuses on the experiences of nine local cricketers and presents their reflections upon the game both in Hackney and in the West Indies. 
 
You are invited to the opening of this exhibition at 2pm on Saturday, 29th Sept, in the foyer of Dalston CLR James Library, Dalston Square, E8 3BQ. I do hope that you will be able to join us. 
 
Also in Dalston this Saturday, Gillett Square will be hosting ’20 Drum Sets: 20 Drummers’, as part of UPLOAD, a multi-platform festival festuring a stunningly diverse programme of new projects from the Loop Collective. In the early afternoon, 20 drummers (and drum kits!) will convene on Gillett Square and perform a one-off piece of music, featuring some of the finest drummers/percussionists in the UK and surely one of London’s musical highlights of 2012. Throughout the afternoon, the festival will feature a number of surprise pop-up acts and intimate performances around the square.See www.gillettsquare.org.uk for further details.
So there you have it. And click the thumbnail image below to see the full-size image of the flyer that Lucy spoke off. Have a good weekend everyone.

Meeting Agenda & Parking Permits

Hi folks. Firstly, clarification for car-park space owners/renters regarding the new permit system which comes into effect next week (19th Sept.). If you own or rent a parking space in the underground Dalston Square parking facilities, and have not already spoken to the concierge service regarding your permit, you need to do so very soon. Starting next Wednesday, an independent company will be making regular inspections of the underground parking at Dalston Square to ensure that all vehicles parked there are actually supposed to be there, and not simply trespassing in somebody’s, paid-for, allotted space. Unfortunately, as Gerard Hayes is currently on holiday, I cannot tell you exactly what will happen to vehicles without permits (parking tickets certainly, clamping/towing possibly), but will find out and share that info with you all on Gerard’s return. As an owner, simply present proof of ownership (a copy of your lease) to the concierge along with the details of your vehicle and they will issue you with your permit (which must then be displayed in said vehicle whilst parked). As a renter, you will need a copy of the owner’s lease as proof of their ownership, a letter from that owner confirming you are renting their car-park space, and your vehicle details.

Next up, we now have an agenda for the upcoming Resident’s Association meeting. As always, the meeting is open to any and every resident of the Square, owners and renters alike. If you are interested in participating in the decision-making process, or simply curious as to what goes on in these meetings, we would love to see you there.

Dalston Square Resident’s Association Meeting.

Thursday, 20th September, 7.00pm, 69 Gaumont Tower.

Agenda:

1) Chasing the glitches – Report back on our recent meeting with Barratt Homes and Consort on those nagging building deficiencies (bike storage, bin store ventilation, fire safety, snags in the Square).

2) Noise and good neighbourliness – Noise in tall buildings travels up, down, and all around. Balancing one person’s fun against a neighbour’s right to peace and quiet. Respecting guidelines or imposing rules? Noisy builders? Have your say.

3) Service Charges for 2013-2014 – Planning ahead: Consort have agreed to share with Dalston Square residents their draft budget for next year: To ensure there is greater clarity for all residents and to ask for feedback (we will need help with this – new members with finance skills welcome!)

4) Arts and social events – ‘MAKING THE SQUARE OUR HOME’. What is planned for the months ahead? New ideas for fun social events to build the spirit of community in our vertical world!

5) A.O.B.