The engagement of this project has ended
8 months ago
Which objective(s) would you like to comment on? Please select as many as you like and use the box below to add comments.
• Objective 29: Optimise housing design throughout Dalston to increase housing and affordable housing.
• Objective 28: Ensure the delivery of ‘genuinely affordable’ homes .
• Objective 20: High quality, sustainable and contemporary design.
• Objective 23: Redevelopment on the Shopping Centre site should be sensitive to the character of Kingsland High Street, Ridley Road market and the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.
Overall, what do you think about the new buildings and homes objectives?
Please tell us why.
We need many more council homes than those “minimum” numbers specified by the council, which seem to be based largely on the broken cross-subsidy model of building with private developers. Just a few weeks ago, the mayor’s office announced it had agreed £3.46bn of new money from the government for 29,456 homes across London under the Affordable Homes Programme - with 57% of those homes for social rent (https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/boroughs-set-to-build-thousands-of-council-homes). Surely Hackney can get a decent chunk of this money? And surely this is sufficient new funds to warrant dramatically expanding the building of new homes for social rent in Dalston?
As things stand it’s mysterious to me why the council sees fit to grant developers the right to make large profits on the delivery of much-needed homes. The mere fact of owning land should not mean private landowners have a right to use that land as a cash cow, and the council should not be “working with” developers to that end. There is “demand” for high-price homes in the borough and throughout London for two reasons: (1) because there’s a ready supply of speculative buyers, often non-doms, and (2) because a thin sliver of the London population have incomes and wealth that allow them to keep up with (and in turn feed) a rising market. It may be in the interests of private developers to ride that “demand”, but it is not in the interests of Hackney’s residents OR Hackney Council in the long view. Instead, the council should retain ownership of land and buildings wherever possible, and build council homes themselves - not only to reduce the large waiting list for council homes, but ALSO to transfer existing recipients of housing benefit out of poor quality and expensive private rentals, and into homes owned by the council. With a new tranche of money available, there shouldn’t really be any excuses for continuing on the harmful cross-subsidy model of funding.
Case in point: the redevelopment of the Kingsland Shopping Centre. This is a crucial component in the future of Dalston, and it must be done right. Apparently all is proceeding apace on the established model of private development and cross-subsidy, with a plan to redevelop the carpark site for new homes. According to Hackney Council’s Local Plan 2033 (LP33), in schemes of 10 units of more, social rents should comprise 60% of a minimum of 50% of “affordable” housing - ie, in practice a maximum of 30% of units - though subject to unspecified considerations of “viability” and “maximisation”. Viability in terms of what? - the developer’s desired rate of profit?!
In light of the mayor’s Affordable Homes programme, with its higher proportion of funds earmarked for social rent homes, it would be much better if the Kingsland redevelopment were to be put on ice for a few months, to look at the options more holistically. For example, why not simply axe the private home component in favour of say 80% social rents? This could also allow the council to free up space on the site, with space no longer needing to go to private homes for sale. Dalston is severely lacking in proper open and green spaces, and in lieu of some private homes, the Kingsland site could get a new public park (eg an acre) alongside new housing.
I think the Dalston Plan as a whole needs to take on a serious commitment to very ambitious environmental design standards - and this should certainly be the case for homes. Dalston and Hackney as a whole should really take on the social responsibility to follow best practice in terms of environmental standards, and the Dalston Plan presents an opportunity to be an exemplar and a site of excellence in this regard. Such principles would include minimising embodied carbon and whole life carbon, maintaining excellent thermal efficiency throughout all buildings, minimising demolition, retrofitting wherever possible, and using natural materials with minimal material footprints. Steel and concrete should be absolutely minimised, and things like sustainably sourced timber, stone and prefab rammed earth components used instead. (See, for example, the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge https://www.architecture.com/about/policy/climate-action/2030-climate-challenge) Hackney Council’s entire procurement process should take on the principle of environmental and post-occupancy audits, with delivery contracts built around guarantees like energy performance outcomes.
Lastly, for the Kingsland site, please please ensure a scheme of excellent architectural quality. I look at recent housing schemes around London by the likes of Peter Barber Architects (http://www.peterbarberarchitects.com) and I think something beautiful like that would be just right for the centre of Dalston!
(I’m sorry for this huge block of text - there don’t seem to be any formatting options here).
I’ve been looking at Hackney Council’s Local Plan 2033 (LP33), which is the parent document for the Dalston Plan.
§7.1 of LP33 states that, for house building schemes of 10 units or more: “i. A minimum 50% of housing delivered will be sought as on-site affordable housing”. However, this is said to be, “subject to viability and site context”, and a need simply to, “maximise opportunities to supply genuinely affordable housing on-site”. As I understand it, these considerations are meant to be fleshed out more fully in the local area plans like the Draft Dalston Plan (“Further guidance will be set out in the Hackney Housing SPD”), but I don’t see this anywhere in the Dalston Plan? What are the parameters of “viability” and “maximisation” for the Dalston Plan when Hackney Council works with private developers? In my opinion, there should be no conditions whatsoever in which a private developer is able to skimp on the minimum threshold of 50% affordable housing.
§7.1 of LP33 further states that the designation “affordable” should comprise 60% “social” rent, and 40% “genuinely affordable” / “intermediate” rent. This presumably means that in practice social rents would as a maximum only comprise 60% of the 50% affordable housing quota - ie, 30%. 20% would be the more expensive “genuinely affordable”. According to the Hackney Living Rent website (that seems to be run by the council https://www.hackneysales.org/hackney-living-rent), “genuinely affordable” means that “Rents would be set at a third of average local incomes.” However, the council’s main site (https://hackney.gov.uk/affordable-rents) says they “could be set at up to 80% of local market rents”. Cue confusion. Obviously, local market rents are moving all the time, and so are mean local incomes - especially with a surfeit of high-market-rate developments. I understand that LP33 is now policy, but the still woolly guidance needs tightening to also place limits at the UPPER end - otherwise, market rates just end up driving “average” market rents and incomer incomes up higher. The model of cross-subsidy is not viable if it means pumping 50% of prices still higher. This is even more of a problem if these private homes are bought simply as investments, and then remain empty - which has, I understand, been the case with the Dalston Square development at Dalston Junction.
§7.1 of LP33 additionally states that, “iii. Schemes that propose less than 50% on-site affordable housing will be required to submit a detailed viability assessment and will be subject to early and late review mechanisms.” What does this mean? What mechanisms will be available to people in the borough to veto schemes in Dalston, or insist on changes, when they compromise too much simply for the developer’s benefit?
All of the above is re housing sites of 10 or more units. For sites with fewer than 10 units there’s talk of an option of “on-site provision or payments in lieu up to the equivalent of 50% of housing delivered as affordable housing, subject to viability. Further guidance will be set out in the Hackney Housing SPD and Planning Contributions (S106) SPD.” Again, I don’t see this guidance in the Dalston Plan? §7.7 of LP33 admits, though, that “Approximately 47% of all new homes delivered in Hackney over the last decade have been on small sites with developments of less than 10 units. These are developments where the Council has been unable to secure the delivery of affordable housing.” What does this mean, “unable”?! These things should NOT be optional, but basic requirements of any and every piece of home building delivered by a private developer.
• Objective 26: New development will be required to have active ground floor uses.
• Objective 27: Seek affordable housing, balancing the needs of the local community whilst respecting the retail and employment-led priority for the Town Centre.
• Objective 25: The Council will support new developments that can adapt easily between uses to respond to changing demand.
• Objective 24: New development will contribute to an improved public realm by retaining existing green and open space.
• Objective 22: Promote sustainability and biodiversity.
Please share your comments on any of the new buildings and homes objectives selected above.
20 - on the basis of poor design - insipid and soulless buildings and spaces as per the development around Dalston Junction - does not inspire me with confidence.
21 . Who decides what is heritage value - the council has knocked down numerous buildings in redevelopments that had architectural value and publlic utility
22 Sustainability and diversity relates to the local popluation - how many people have been forced out of the area due to high prices - how much effect on the ecologicial makeup of the local residents
23 This should not be changed. It is an historical market and should be kept as is. Changes to pitch sizes, longer hours will have a bearing on the existing stall holders. Being sensitive to the character would be to leave a traditional London market serving the needs of the locals as is.
24 Improved public realm - if you kick the life out of the market what do you have left. Blaming anit-social elements is seeking justification for big changes
276,28,29 Show me where Hackney council have delivered on 50 per cent truly affordable housing - also on the basis of their developments rducing the existing number of council homes - it does not inspire confidence - developers are there to extract the maximum profit and they are prepared to do anything to circumvent their commitments. Most housing being built is for investment and high rentals - not for locals more for a transient population
I disliked the lack of genuine commitment to provide genuinely affordable social housing - as indicated by how little this is mentioned in the planning document. I think the character of Ridley Road market and the purpose it serves is greatly under risk no matter what the council says. Your commitment to protecting local businesses is not trusted, given to name 2 examples what happened to the businesses at Woodberry and in Dalston Lane.
BTW this page doesn't work and doesn't allow me to edit comments properly Luckily I have saved what I''ve written elsewhere
Affordable housing is the crucial aspect here. To support this it must be in the Council's long-term interest to maintain ownership of land wherever possible and hold out more robustly for higher percentages of these genuinely affordable homes. The tide may be turning on this in terms of funding options, reduce obsession with private ownership, and general public sentiment.