The Dalston Square Playground
After a number of recent queries regarding the status of the playground I have been in touch with Dalston Town Centre Manager Cory Defoe for an update. There has been some delay in getting confirmation that the pieces residents voted for are suitable for the constraints of the site, and a quote for their supply and installation (apologies from the supplier), but Cory is on the case and will keep us informed of progress.
Those of you who follow local politics may be interested to know that our 2 elected ward councillors (Peter Snell & Soraya Adejare of the Labour party were the winners of last May’s local elections), are holding their September Forum in the Eastern Curve Garden greenhouse this coming Monday (29th September). Planned to run from 6.30pm to 8.30pm this Forum is local residents’ chance to hear what is happening, and to hold the council to account. The agenda for this meeting will cover i) Work in progress on pre-election pledges ii) An update on other major developments in Dalston iii) The Dalston Conservations Area (members of the Conservation Area Advisory Committee will report on progress, their concerns, and how you can support their work to protect historic buildings in central Dalston). Forum meetings are open to all members of the public. The 2 pages of Hackney Matters, a publication produced by Peter Snell, can be found at the foot of this posting: Simply click on each thumbnail for the full-size image.
Speaking of historic buildings and the Eastern Curve Garden, how fabulous is the newly renovated Hackney Peace Carnival Mural? To celebrate the completion of the work and removal of the scaffold the Eastern Curve Garden are holding a free party this coming Sunday (28th September) from 2pm to 10pm. There will be music from local musicians, talks with the mural artists, a children’s art workshop, and food from the People’s Kitchen. The thumbnails below include their party advertising poster plus my own photo of the beautifully renovated mural.
And whilst on the subject of art, look out for the new window graphics that will be going up at Smooth You (the beauty and health spa here in the square) later today. The existing advertising graphics have not been loved by Dalston Square residents and were never meant to be long-term: They were only ever a brash, eye catching advertising statement to promote a new business. Smooth You founder/owner Patrick and Managing Director Katie were looking for something that both better represented the company image and gave something to the community so, working with Dalston Square resident and graphic designer & artist Stephen Humphries (who has recently started his own business so if you are in need of such services….), and illustrator Christina K., they have created a bespoke piece of art to ‘tell a story’. Katie tells me the plan is to renew the graphic each year to keep it ‘fresh’ so if you like what they are doing, why not pop your head in the door when passing and let them know what you think.
Free Ticket Draw Result
Thanks to everyone who sent in their ‘Yes Please’ email to claim the 2 tickets for tomorrow’s ‘Brunch With The Guide’ event (and, of course, again to Judith for sharing them in the first place). The lucky winner was Dalston Square resident Louise (Louise, please check your email). For fellow geeks who may be interested, I used an online, range definable, RNG to select the recipient. Unlike many such generators that use pseudo-random number algorithms, THESE guys use atmospheric noise to create randomness: Very cool.
….. But not a series of over 55s events held in the playground obviously. 😉
Firstly a quick reminder to those who wish to have a say in the selection of the replacement playground equipment who have not yet cast their vote. Voting will close at midnight Sunday night so have your say now (see my last post for full details or head over to my forum post HERE).
Secondly, are you over 55 and interested in taking part in a street-theatre piece that will be presented here in the Square in a few weeks time? Or do you know someone living locally that may be interested? You would need to be available from the 13th to the 16th August in order to participate (from 10am to 1.30pm the first 3 mornings for rehearsals at Forest Road Youth Centre, with the actual show on the 16th at 1pm here in the Square). Click on the first of the thumbnail pictures below for full details.
Next, a copy of the summer programme of the free events being held here in the square throughout July and August (starting tomorrow). You should of received a copy of this in your letterbox but here is a copy just in case. Click the 2nd thumbnail below to view it.
Lastly, a list of events for children and young people being put on by the library (and not just our own CLR James Library: All Hackney libraries are getting involved). Again these are all free: All your kids need to do is turn up. Click the 3rd and last of the thumbnail images below to see the list.
There are a few things to cover in this post so if one topic is not of interest to you, please scroll through to the next paragraph.
As many of you are all too aware, the long awaited opening of the children’s playground here in the square has turned into a nightmare for many. After months of local kids having to gaze longing at the playground through wire fencing, the handover of the completed public square from Barratt Homes to the council (the only ones with the necessary public liability insurance that would allow usage of the playground) happened with little fanfare. And as those kids finally got to play on the award winning sensory-play apparatus, so the residents whose flats overlook them discovered what that meant for them: Continuous whistles and chimes at volumes that were, quite simply, extremely annoying. And not just during the day: Weekends especially have seen the noise continuing throughout the night as local clubbers and party-goers passing through the square late at night/early in the morning, find it amusing to see just how much noise they can make (maybe in their eyes some believe they are making music?). Needless to say there has been much dismay and I understand the council (both the Dalston area manager that is in charge of the square and it’s amenities, and the noise complaint team) have been bombarded with emails from disgruntled residents. Due to the usual “procedures” and red-tape, progress in addressing this issue has not been as swift as some would of liked (which I must mention is no excuse for the rudeness contained in some of the emails the council have received), but town-centre manager Cory Defoe has been on the case on behalf of residents and this morning he told me relief is high: With a little luck and a tail-wind, the 3 ‘musical’ devices (the tall, hand-pumped whistle, the whistling pedals, and the metal chime plates) will be removed before this weekend (should that not happen they will go early next week). The holes this creates will be made temporarily safe while the council consults with local parents with regard what to install as replacements. The whole process, which involves planning permission (which Cory will attempt to speed along with a retrospective application), ordering of the desired replacements (which are generally made to order), and of course installation, could take some weeks, but things will move along as quickly as possible. The original apparatus was a poor decision, but rectifying that has become a priority: Just a little more patience please. I have myself also spoken to Gerald Bernard this morning, who has agreed to instruct his night concierge team to try to reason with late night ‘musicians’. No guarantees here though as they have no jurisdiction over the council’s square, but they will try. Anyone interested in hearing the opinions of some of those affected can visit the thread that has been running in our discussions forum since the day after the playground opened, HERE.
Slight change of subject now, going back to the above mentioned handover with little fanfare. There will be an official opening of Dalston Square to the public by Hackney Council: And all residents are invited (keep your eyes peeled for invites). What exactly is happening, and when, is as yet still unknown but more details will be revealed ‘Soon’ we are told – Watch this space.
Next, is there anyone out there interested in buying an ad, or advertorial, in a print run of 50,000 copies of a free pocket guide to Hackney? The project is being run by “…a freelance travel writer working for Lonely Planet and Rough Guides…” who also “… wrote the East Hackney Cookbook, which is raising £10,000 for 2 local food charities.” If yes, check out Helena Smith’s website HERE (you can also contact her through that website).
The last topic of this posting is “Hyperfast broadband”. Do you remember THIS post I made back in May of 2012 about 1Gig internet download speeds coming to Dalston Square (and the topic’s accompanying forum thread HERE)? The same company, Hyperoptic, after being given permission by Barratt to work on one of their other developments, has given Hyperoptic the go-ahead to survey the rest of Dalston Square (phases I & II were surveyed last year to get it started) with an eye to granting them license to ‘wire us up’. First Openreach (BT’s infrastructure arm) would be contracted to run fibre from the street into block basements, where the exchange boxes will be placed. Each and every block would then receive a new copper network that any resident can be hooked up to if they wish to pay Hyperoptic a monthly fee (as with any other ISP of course). Connection to these phenomenal speeds requires that you have a modem in the cupboard by your front door. Anyhow, to pre-register for the service and receive a discounted price for the first two years, visit their website. These are not unreasonable prices for speeds like this, and no connection fees which is cool. They seem to be investing quite heavily in the hope of acquiring customers, but could do well as the first to offer the service. BT doing this themselves is looking as distant as ever (we were told back in 2012 that their paltry 60Mb ‘Infinity’ service was only 6 months away, but it has been continually delayed ever since).
That’s it for now.