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

Hackney Council

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.

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Proposed Developments In Dalston

Hi all. As promised I have a bunch of news and updates for you, but have decided that rather than bore you all with a monster long post, I will break it down into, probably, 3 posts of related topics. To get the ball rolling then is news of recent and upcoming development proposals that are close to home.

First off, the proposed development of the Holy Trinity School site at the south-east corner of Dalston Square. I have referred to this development several times over the last 6 months or so, and there are a couple of threads over at the forum (HERE and HERE) that document the work of a truly dedicated team of Dalston Square residents (who have been battling to stop Telford Homes’ ludicrous plans), and so will go no further into the details. The news though is the decision, decided at the council’s public planning meeting last Wednesday, that the application has been rejected. This is excellent news and proof that democracy and a well presented argument can still stop big developers in their tracks. Whilst plans to expand the existing school to provide much needed school places was generally accepted as a good idea, Telford’s attempt to use this as an excuse to build 101 apartments that would have seriously affected current and future residents of both Dalston Square and the Rhodes Estate, it was argued, was simply unacceptable. The application was rejected on the grounds of not sticking to the council’s own DAAP (Dalston Area Action Plan), and issues with the design of the proposed structure. After celebrations had died down, the Dalston Square team unanimously decided that an approach would be made to the principal of the school to see if any assistance could be offered with regard finding sources of funding that would allow the school to go ahead with expansion, without the need to involve big property developers. A magnanimous gesture I am sure you will agree.

Now though, there is a new cloud on the horizon. Ben Collins, as Chair of the DSRA, was recently approached by a consultancy with regard a pre-planning meeting on the proposed development of the Kingland Shopping Centre. If you are unfamiliar with this proposed development, Loving Dalston did a piece on it HERE, and Dalstonist covered the story HERE. More high-rises (up to 14 stories in places), more high-rent retail space (no doubt to be filled with the same chains you find on every high-street these days), a serious threat to Ridley Road market, and the loss of the Eastern Curve Garden are all on the drawing board. The DSRA is discussing where we go from here and will work on a plan to ensure that, as with the school development above, the interests of developers do not drive forward a project that is in the interest of neither local residents nor local businesses. If allowed to proceed as currently planned this would completely change the village we love. Watch this space for updates as the consultation process progresses and more details become available.

That’s it for this post, the next installment of news……..


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


Latest Minutes Plus…

Good morning all (and a beautiful sunny morning it is too). Just a couple of updates/items of news to share with you. Firstly, some minutes of recent meetings for those unable to attend: The Consort chaired budget meeting of 19th March (held in the library) HERE, and the DSRA meeting of 21st April (held in the Bootstrap building in Ashwin St.) HERE. There will be more news regarding the issues raised in these, connected, meetings soon, but for now the minutes will give you the gist of what is going on. (As always, these files are hosted over at our discussions forum. Simply click the highlighted link to save a pdf copy of the document to your computer for your perusal. If you are unable to access the links, read THIS, and, if you qualify, follow it’s instructions HERE.)

Next up, something all mums and dads may be interested in. This from The Trinity Centre:

Dear All

Dalston has few public play spaces and we have been working to 
improve the Wards play provision for children. Not only have we been 
arguing for the new Dalston Square to be promoted as a place for 
children and families to gather, since the Beechwood Road Street party 
and the Council Play Street Policy we are keen for more streets to be 
adopted for play on a regular basis. Working with Play Out and the 
local play streets organizer for Hackney we are hosting a meeting next 
month to inform residents and parents on how to go about organizing 
streets for play in their area.

As well as being invited to the attached event could you please be so 
kind as to publicize it to your residents and members.

For further details check out their poster below (click on it to see it full-size).

Playout


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