For many months now Ben Collins, DSRA Chair, has been working on the issue of phase I restaurant odours working their way up in to the residential areas of most of the phase I blocks. He has attended multiple meetings with Barratt Homes, Consort Property Management, and various different departments of Hackney Council, as well as writing umpteen emails and making many phone calls. Progress is slow, but there is progress and Ben has written us a report on just how things are going. Before that though, a little background: The problem, for those unaware of the whats and whys, is that it was not originally envisaged that all of the commercial units would become eating establishments and so no proper kitchen extraction system was put in place during construction. The system that has been retro-fitted is therefore totally unsuitable for purpose: Rather than an extraction system that vents odours above roof level (the correct way of doing it), all of the restaurants simply pump their kitchen odours in to the communal service tunnel that runs the full length of phase I. From there those odours are finding their way in to lobbies, lift shafts, up to even the highest floors, and when wind conditions are just right, in to people’s apartments. Clearly this is not acceptable, hence Ben’s work to find a solution.
Here then is Ben’s report:
The Dalston Square Residents’ Association is aware of the frustratingly slow progress on reducing the restaurant kitchen odours that pervade our buildings and flats. We are chasing Barratt Homes to install proper extraction units in the building. The DSRA will continue to take this issue seriously and is in constant touch with our councillors and Hackney Council Pollution Unit.
The good news is that Ms Jackson, officer at Hackney Council’s Pollution Unit is taking this matter seriously, and has been pursuing both Barratt Homes and the Council’s planning department (who need to agree whatever alterations to extractions systems are needed) to resolve the issue. We are told that Barratt Homes are due to submit plans for an improved extraction unit to the council’s planning department in the near future.
The Pollution Department has received many emails of complaint from residents. These emails have helped that department impress upon Barratt Homesthat there is serious concern and the matter must be addressed.
The bad news is that ‘patience’ is the name of the game. The wheels of both Barratt’s engineers and the Council’s planning department work slowly. We could be looking at months rather than weeks to see any action on this issue. However the DSRA and the Council’s Pollution Unit are on the case and will keep you updated on progress over the coming weeks and months.
Of course this does not mean that a resolution on odours is guaranteed. Pressure from residents will ensure the matter is kept alive (and the more residents the better), and you are encouraged to continue to report any high levels of restaurant kitchen odours that cause you concern, to Barratt Homes customer service department (online complaint form/020 8522 5500), as well as the council’s Pollution Unit (email@example.com/020 8356 4455).
That’s that then: We will keep you posted on progress via this website.
While I have your attention, just a couple of reminders on upcoming events. Firstly, the Crossrail2 public consultation meetings are next week (see the post over at our forum HERE for more details). It is in every Dalston resident’s interest to try to win the route over Hackney Central so your support is greatly needed. Secondly, this coming Saturday (July 12th) sees the next public event in the square. ‘A Hackney Motley’ is an event that kick-starts what the council are calling ‘Hackney Archive Residency’. If you have an interest in local history this is a must. More info can be found HERE. Lastly, while the council lays on these public events completely free of charge, they have put out a call for volunteers to assist in prepping the Square for them when needed (erecting the purpose made tent/canopy, a 3 man job, for instance). My previous call for volunteers resulted in not one single volunteer. Come on neighbours, surely we can do better than that! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can spare an occasional half hour on a Saturday, and I will pass your details on to the council as possibly being able to help (no-one is expected to be available every time). Thanks in advance.
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! 😉
Hi all, hope this post finds you well. The first item is not so much an update as a reiteration. You may have noticed Sean Stone’s note on the notice boards, and should of received your letter from Consort, regarding next week’s meeting, called by Consort, to explain to us all the reasons for the rises in the coming year’s service charges. (Regarding the letter, please note there is a mistake contained therein: Charges will rise from the current range of £900-£3800, depending on block and size, to a range of £1000-£4000. Not, as it is poorly written, an increase of £1000-£4000). Those of you registered with the DSRA (via the forum or by attending our regular meetings) will have today received my email but I will again publish here a note from Ben Collins, Chair of the DSRA, regarding this meeting:
Service Charge increases 2013- 2014Consort MeetingTuesday March 19th6.30 pmCLR James LibrarySome of you will be aware that our Service Charges are due to increase again this April.In some cases, we the Residents Association believe, these could be very significant. (From our estimates this could possibly be more than 25% in the case of some buildings)Leaseholders received a letter this week from Consort Property Management (dated March 12th), which is somewhat confusing. It describes ‘an increase of between £1000 and £4000 per apartment… dependent on the block’.If these figures are correct, they are alarming. They do not reflect the provisional figures the DSRA committee was given in a recent budget review meeting with Consort, but they do confirm the need to attend the meeting next Tuesday, to ask questions.For the past three years the Residents’ Association has asked for greater transparency in budgeting and more accurate predictive information for Service Charges for each apartment, to be sent out well in advance of the new financial year. This is to avoid the surprises many of us have had in past years from late notices of increases, based on unexplained or questionable cost increases in running our buildings.The increase in Service Charges will impact on ALL residents including tenants.We are very concerned about the confused message from Consort and hope that as many residents as possible will attend the meeting on Tuesday March 19th, at 6:30 in the library. We need a strong showing to impress upon Consort that we expect better from their financial management, and better value for money for their Service Charges. If you can, please come to the meeting to make your case.Ben CollinsChairDalston Square Residents’ Association