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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!
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).
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.
Quite a lot to tell you all about so I have used our forum for all the details. I will summarise each topic here and link you through to the forum to get the full story.
First off, some more meeting minutes, this time from the Finance Sub-committee. These from 2 meetings held so far with regard our Consort service charges for 2013/14: HERE and HERE. It is not good news I am afraid. If you have difficulty with those links, see my last website post where this is addressed (HERE, second to last sentence of the first paragraph).
Next up, one for all you Tweeters out there: We have long had a Twitter account but it hasn’t been used in an age and I have been unable to track down whoever controls it. So a new one has been created: @DalstonSquareRA. Christine (Chair of the RA’s Social Sub-Committee, and my better half) created it and will monitor it. Any responsible persons who wish to tweet relevant info in the name of the RA should contact her for the account password. Please do so via the forum.
Next, some good news from Bootstrap, our neighbours over in Ashwin Street (owners of the roof garden over there among other things): They are changing the programme of how the roof garden will be used, and offering us a place to hold our DSRA meetings free of charge (rather than the £50 the library charge. More HERE.
Just 2 more items, and they are loosely connected. The first of the these is regarding a couple of evenings in May/June when The lost Picture Show are hoping to screen a couple of free to attend movies here in the Square. The question is, will there be objections? Details HERE. And last of all, a couple of current licence applications currently with Hackney Council. I do not foresee any issues with one of them (the Council applying to itself to run free events in the Square for the enjoyment of all), the other though could well garner quite a bit of opposition. Again a forum link, all the details HERE.
That’s it for now. I wish you all a great weekend, and please do pop over to the forum to share your thoughts on all the issues posted.
Lots of meeting minutes to share with you, all posted over at the forum. Firstly, from a meeting of the Dalston Lane Community Working Group Ben Collins (DSRA Chair) and I attended back in December HERE. Secondly, from a meeting of the DSRA’s Buildings Maintenance sub-committee meeting with Barrat and Consort on January 10th HERE. Thirdly, from the DSRA general meeting of January 10th HERE. Lastly, sent to me by Lucy McMenemy of Hackney Council, minutes from the meeting of the Culture and Community Engagement Forum meeting for Dalston Square that was held on January 16th HERE (scroll down to my last entry on the page). As always, 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 first three links above, read THIS, and, if you qualify, follow it’s instructions HERE. Just a thought (which led to my post title above); If you have minutes from 60 meetings, do you have an hour? 🙂
One last thing before leaving you all in peace. I have been contacted by Nick Griffiths of Land Of Kings (www.landofkings.co.uk) organisers of an annual Dalston music and arts festival. Let me share his email with you:
The fifth Land of Kings (2013) will take place on Sunday May 5th and we will also be debuting a new festival the following day (Monday 6th) aimed at local families, to be called “Land of Kids”. Both festivals are collaborations with a number of local artistic and cultural venues such as Arcola Theatre, Bootstrap Company (including Print House Gallery, The Bunker and Dalston Roofpark) and Café Oto. The night time part of the programme also includes venues across the neighbourhood such as Vortex Jazz Club, The Alibi, Servant Jazz Quarters, Rio Cinema, Birthdays, Shacklewell Arms etc.In previous years the festival has taken place largely in the area’s indoor music and arts venues as well as a few temporary event spaces for which we have applied for Temporary Events Notices (TEN). We are planning an outdoor element to the festival this year, on Ashwin Street and in Abbot Street car park, and for that we’re required to apply for a temporary Premises License as the number of people we are expecting is more than 499 (the limit for running an event under a TEN).As part of the planning for this year’s event we wanted to check in with local residents groups to share our plans as well as what we will be doing to limit the impact on the area and work with local people to make it as successful and smooth running an event as possible for all. I wondered if you’d be able to share this email and the attached site plan with your respective groups. The main part of our license application pertains to the car park at the end of Abbot Street where we’re hoping to build a temporary live music stage, to run in the afternoon until 10pm on Sunday 5th May, and until 7pm on Monday 6th May.
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.
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 allI 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.