- New station: trains run Dalston Junction-New Cross Gate (down in the southlands) from mid next month. Trains will run the full route to West Croydon from 23 May
- New Dalston Library and Hackney archives due to open at the junction early 2011
- Dalston Junction station to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington from next February; no direct link to Dalston Kingsland
- Direct from Dalston Junction to Hackney Central and Stratford:
- No link to Liverpool Street; link to Tube lines at Whitechapel
- Barratt’s Dalston Square flats: plenty left; offers £250,000 to £380,000
BARRATT HOMES, the developer that is erecting the huge housing project at Dalston Junction, has handed Block A, at the corner of Dalston Lane and Roseberry Place, to Hackney council for library premises.
The CLR James Library and the Rose Lipman libraries are, however, stuck in their dull 1960s-style buildings (see February posting Black hero dropped by Hackney) because, a council spokesman told me, Hackney was not able to appoint builders to fit out the library before the premises had been handed over.
The council continued: “We hope to have contractors on site in the summer, which means that a fully fitted-out library will be completed in early 2011.”
Barratt Homes is in partnership with Hackney, Transport for London and the London Development Agency for the project, a legacy of the last mayoral regime and optimistically valued at £160 million. It bears the insipid title of Dalston Square; stand by for the signage to be enlarged by the word “is”.
A Barratt insider said that Block A was given to the council on schedule and that the flats above the library floor had been sold. The 63 flats of Block C had also been handed to the council, as part of the now-completed phase 1. Phase 2 — 309 units featuring one-bedroom (asking price £250,000), two-bed (£320,000) and three-bed (£380,000) flats – would be ready next month, April.
Barratt’s marketeers press-released last month that the flats were offered in Hong Kong exclusively. The planning of a big launch in Dalston for phase 2 suggests that not enough millionaires in the “Marxist” People’s Republic of China fancied a buy-to-let in E8.
Neither did many others. Some “units”, as Barratt’s calls the flats, have been sold to Circle Anglia, a housing association.
This will provide an unexpected bonus for any City folk who buy, let or rent a bolt-hole. As they walk down the stairs to catch a train at Dalston Junction station, they are bound to seize the chance to broaden their social perspective by mixing with the hang-those-trousers-low hoodies living next door.
The station is to open its doors in the middle of next month, April, say Barratts and TfL. The new railway line is already being tested: tenants occasionally amuse themselves by spotting the train now making test runs from Dalston to, uhm… Croydon, uhm, West Croydon, is it?
The public, the TfL spokesman admitted, will be able to travel only between Dalston Junction and New Cross Gate, although on May 23 trains, for reasons to tedious to list, will start running the full distance to West Croydon.
Real-life Dalston squares can remember the line that ran from Liverpool Street stations to Dalston Junction until 1986. At the junction the tracks branched north-east and north-west to join a line through Hackney. The new line will enable users to travel west — sort of, because it will not take themfrom Dalston Junction station directly to Dalston Kingsland but to Canonbury and Highbury and Islington.
TfL now admits to Loving Dalston that the link will not open until next February: so no easy route from this line to Stratford. The line from Dalston Junction to Hackney Central and on to Stratford, a marketing feature when the proposal was being sold to local people, is, to paraphrase TfL’s comment to me, a dead duck (if this bird ever flew). And unlike the pre-1986 line, it will not connect Dalston with the Tube system at Liverpool Street station.
Fancy, a quarter of century to rebuild a line and it’s not as useful as the 1865 original.
The council spokesman said: “The work on the East and North London Lines marks the culmination of a four-year campaign by Hackney’s Mayor,Jules Pipe, to secure better public transport for the borough.”
Commuters and occupants of the flats will be hoping that such proud boasts withstand the two main parties’ electoral promises to make huge budget cuts. Libraries and railway lines are traditional targets.
David Altheer 300310
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