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

Posts tagged “Hackney Council

Newsletters, Transport, Parking, And Super-Fast Internet

Newsletters

Two newsletters to mention: one you should of seen already and one that will be with you very soon. The first is the 5th in the series from Hackney Council’s Cultural Program Officer Lucy McMenemy. Everyone in the development should have received a copy in their post-box but if you missed it you can download a copy from our discussions forum HERE (if you are happy to simply view it in your browser simply look for the thumbnail images at the bottom of this post). This ‘Autumn’ edition gives more info on the light-box installation currently in the square, plus news of upcoming events. Also one sad piece of news: After the success of last year’s City Showcase Christmas Market, they have decided they need more space than the square has to offer and so will not be coming to Dalston Square this year. Instead they will be moving to St. John’s Churchyard in Hackney Central and re-branding themselves as City Showcase Winter Village. Disappointing news but we wish them lots of success.

The second newsletter, from the DSRA (Dalston Square Residents’ Association), is being completed now ready for printing, and could be in your post-box as soon as next week. I will not go in to detail here until it has been posted out, other than to mention one issue it covers, namely the DSRA Christmas social. Every year we hold a social event for residents, an informal get-together to meet your neighbours, and a chance to meet those involved with the DSRA and help us get some views and feedback. In the past we have held early evening, family parties with candles, lanterns, mulled wine, and music: Last year it was held in the greenhouse of the Eastern Curve garden, previous years it was held on the roof terrace of Gaumont Tower with it’s spectacular views of East London and beyond. We could do either again, but new ideas are also welcome. Anyone with an alternative idea, or who would like to help with organisation, please get in touch via the comments section immediately below this post or by email to DalstonSquareRA@gmail.com.

Transport

I am a little late with this as it has been running for a while now, my apologies, but there is still a week to register your opinions. Hackney Council are now consulting on the future of transport in the borough for the next ten years with the launch of the Draft Transport Strategy 2014 – 2024. The transport strategy consists of an overarching document which sets out the Council’s strategic transportation aims, objectives and priorities, and six daughter plans that will make up the Hackney Transport Strategy:

  • Hackney Transport Strategy Overarching Document
  • Walking Plan
  • Cycling Plan
  • Public Transport Plan
  • Liveable Neighbourhoods Plan
  • Road Safety Plan (2014-2016)
  • Sustainable Transport Draft SPD

If you are interested in downloading and reading these documents, and giving feedback to the council on them, click through to THIS webpage. The closing date for submissions is November 7th.

Parking

As any resident who own’s a car, or has visitors who own one, will know, parking in and around Dalston Square can be an expensive nightmare. It was planned to be this way right from the start: To boost the green credentials of the development it was agreed between Barratt Homes and Hackney council that no resident would be eligible for a permit for local street parking. Add to this the fact that over half of the development sits above a rail tunnel, greatly limiting underground parking solutions, and you see why available parking is at a premium. A ray of hope then for those in need of a parking space that the issues surrounding the spaces on the ground floor of the southern end of phase 3 buildings have finally been cleared. There are of course only a limited number available, and at £1850 per annum rental fees not cheap (this is though a very fair price for under-cover parking in this area), but if interested contact Richard at Richard.gordon@barrattlondon.com for details and availability.

Super-fast Internet

As those of you who have followed this website for a while will probably know (or the on-going thread in our discussions forum on this subject HERE), while Openreach (the infrastructure arm of BT) continue to delay rolling out their fibre to the square, Hyperoptic have been working with Barratt to offer us the super-fast speeds only fibre-optics can bring. It has been a fairly lengthy process to firstly secure enough interest from residents to make the project financially viable, and secondly get the go-ahead from Barratt to retro-fit the network cabling to the entire development, but finally this work is under way. Openreach have been contracted to bring the fibre into block basements (strange they could do it as a contractor but not as a supplier) which has now been done, where the necessary hardware will be installed to switch over to the copper that is being laid right now. In a matter of just weeks we should see the whole system ready to go live. With all of that in mind, now is the last chance you have to take advantage of the excellent deals Hyperoptic are offerings to early adopters. Free connection to the network (connecting your apartment into the building network will incur charges after the work crews have left site) and as much as 40% off of monthly fees for the first 2 years (the discount varies depending on the speed you opt for: 40% is the discount on their fastest, 1Gb, connection). Of course there will be folk who are locked in to a contract with their current suppliers, but even then it may be worth looking in to seeing if a saving can still be made by buying yourself out of it. Full details of the offers available , along with the discount code required when registering (this code will only work for Dalston Square residents so please do not bother trying to use it if you are not resident here) can be found HERE. Also, Hyperoptic are sending their ‘Hyper-Ambassador’ Peter (not too hyper I hope – bouncing off the walls and into the furniture) here for a couple of visits next week to answer any questions residents may have regarding the service. He will be stationed in the lobby of Gaumont Tower on Thursday 6th and Friday 7th November from 4pm until 8pm.

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Restaurant Fire Plus Phase 1 Kitchen Ventilation

Restaurant Fire

As I am sure everyone is by now aware, fire gutted Nancy’s Pantry, the children orientated restaurant here in the square, early this past Tuesday morning. The fire started at around 7.30am and was attended by 6 fire tenders and 35 firemen and officers from Shoreditch, Homerton, Stoke Newington, and Islington fire stations. A dozen residents from immediately above the restaurant were evacuated as a precaution, but the fire was contained within the restaurant and fully extinguished by 9.30am. The fire, it seems, was caused by an electrical fault, possibly with a refrigerator or the socket it was plugged into: The fire brigade are investigating and will no doubt report back soon.

In the wake of the fire there have been 3 very important questions asked which I would like to address here:

Why did audible alarms not sound throughout Labyrinth Tower when the fire detectors were triggered? The answer is very simple: There are none (despite the fact that the fire warning instruction signs posted within each block are based on what to do on hearing alarms). There are of course smoke detectors with audible alarms in each and every apartment, but in public areas the smoke detectors have no alarm attached, and for a very good reason: In the event of fire, you are supposed to stay put in your apartment (unless a) the fire is in your apartment, or b) you are instructed to evacuate by fire and/or safety officials). If there were audible alarms throughout the building, people would attempt evacuation without knowing where the fire is, potentially heading in the direction of the fire. If you are unaware of the drill in the event of a fire anywhere in the square, the official fire policy document for Dalston Square is available for download at our discussions forum HERE: Please do read it if you have not already done so.

How did smoke manage to infiltrate the stairwell of Raddon Tower next door? As yet we have no answer as to how the smoke managed to cross from one block to it’s neighbour (something that certainly should not be possible), but this is being investigated and will hopefully be rectified soon: The DSRA will follow this issue over the coming weeks.

Why did the AOV (Automatic Opening Vent) system fail to clear the smoke from Raddon Tower’s stairwell? There was simply insufficient smoke for it to make it from the stairwell into any of the corridors where the smoke detectors would have triggered the system. For those not familiar with this system, check your hallway and you will see a panel somewhere in the wall labelled ‘Smoke Shaft Door’. In the event of the smoke detectors being triggered, these ‘doors’ open to reveal a large vent system. At the same time, powerful fans on the roof of the block kick in to push huge quantities of fresh air down through the stairwell, strong enough to push open the fire doors leading from the stairwell into each and every floor’s corridors, and thereby forcing any smoke in those corridors out into the vent system: Very clever. Remember that it is estimated that at least half (and by some estimates as many as 80%) of all fire deaths are due to the inhalation of smoke rather than burning.

Phase 1 kitchen ventilation

Finally our persistence in pursuing Barratt with regard an extraction system for the kitchens of the restaurants in phase 1 (the eastern side of the square) has borne fruit. Barratt have now submitted plans to Hackney Council to retro-fit a proper, above roof-line, extraction system. Currently all these restaurants simply pump their smoke and fumes into the rear service tunnel (that runs from Gaumont Tower through to Labyrinth Tower) from where it is finding it’s way into lobbies, and up into the residential parts of each block. As is usual with this king of planning application (a visual change to Gaumont Tower as the ducting will be fitted to the outside of the rear of the block), the council is giving the general public the opportunity to comment on the proposal. Residents of Gaumont Tower have received direct communication from the council regarding this, but for other phase 1 residents who have supported our campaign, not received this letter, but who would like the opportunity to comment on the application, the process can be done online HERE. All comments must be in by 26th September so get your comments in soon. For Phase 2 residents who are concerned that they will experience a similar problem when the Japanese restaurant in Thomas Tower opens for business, worry not: You already have a proper extraction system in place.


DSRA Survey Results Plus A Chance To Question The Candidates For The Upcoming Local Elections

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to complete our recent survey of Dalston Square residents. The responses (both paper and digital) have now been combined and analysed, and a final report produced. And it makes for very interesting reading. Overall the responses were very positive: It seems we are very happy to be living in such a beautiful development in the heart of one of the most vibrant and diverse areas of London. There are niggles of course, it goes without saying, but these can/should be addressed without too much trouble, and the DSRA will continue to work on your behalf to ensure they are addressed. Reassuring for us was the fact that the vast majority of the niggles mentioned are already under discussion: By raising them in your responses you have strengthened our hand in these discussions which should help greatly in having them addressed and remedied. The report is available for download over at our discussions forum HERE. As I say in that posting, I will be addressing all the comments and questions made in your responses, but this will take a while to work through so please bear with me on that.

And did you realise it is election season? On May 22nd we will have the opportunity to vote for our local councillors, the Hackney Mayor, and members of the European Parliament. While the Mayoral and European elections are important, the primary concern for many, given the pace of change in the area, is to ensure that the local ward councillors are prepared to speak up for, and listen to and represent the views of, the communities of Dalston. To this end, Dalston Futures (working with Hackney Unites) have arranged for local residents to have the chance to question the candidates before voting day. For full info on the multiple events they have planned see HERE and HERE.

One last thing before signing off, predominantly addressed to residents of phase 1 buildings (Collins Tower through to Labyrinth), and those that visit the concierge on a regular basis: Are you noticing restaurant cooking aromas in residential areas of buildings? Unfortunately the extraction system currently in place to remove said odours seems unfit for purpose. Rather than extract them from the buildings it simply pumps them into the service tunnel that runs the full length of phase 1. Many people are noticing odours in lobbies, and after travelling up the lift shafts they can even be noticed (sometimes strongly depending on the wind direction) in the corridors of even the top floors of some blocks. We are in discussion with both Barratt Homes and Consort regarding this matter but need your assistance to gauge the extent of the problem: While the existing system meets building regulations (according to Barratt), we feel we should not be able to smell the restaurants unless we are inside them. We have therefore agreed with Barratt that any complaints should be addressed to Hackney Council’s pollution control department for assessment. They can be reached by phone on 020 8356 4455, or preferably by email at pollutionsupport@hackney.gov.uk. With one more restaurant and warmer weather still to come this problem can only get worse so please do not ignore it, report it now.


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


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


Holy Trinity School Consultation

I have been contacted by Sophie Hoskin of Telford Homes with details of an upcoming drop-in event planned for Wednesday 3rd April from 4pm – 8pm. This is the last of 5 events that have happened over the last 4 months or so that allows local residents to view the plans for the proposed development which will greatly enhance the facilities of the school and provide 101 new homes. And with representatives from ‘The Team’ (hopefully the school, Telford Homes, and the architects), this will be your last opportunity to ask questions before Hackney Council’s planning committee make their decision as to whether to give this project the green light. I would like to think that residents of the Square will be receiving flyers in their post boxes, but just in case, you can click the thumbnails below for full details.

school flyer


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.

 


Dalston Square Events

Hi folks. I have received an update email from Lucy McMenemy (our friendly local council cultural events manager) to share with you all. October is Big Draw month, and with funding from the Arts Council, we are being encouraged to get creative. Things kick off this coming weekend (saturday 6th October) with a drawing workshop for kids. The event will take place in Dalston Square (weather permitting), in the CLR James library, and the Eastern Curve Garden. This is completely free of charge and will run from 12.00 noon until 3.30pm. The following weekend (saturday 13th October) will see a comvmunal sculpture project taking place in Dalston Square, open to everyone of any age, using plumber’s tubing and hundreds of elbow joints. This will run from 12.00 noon until 5.00pm. There will also be events the following 2 weekends but as they are outside the Square and I am writing this post on my phone (I am currently on holiday in Lebanon – 35 degrees and sunny yesterday), I will let you visit the coucil’s website for details: http://www.hackney.gov.uk/dalston-square. All of these events are free of charge and deserve your support: Get out there!

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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.