* UPDATE October 2015: The application reported here was rejected. Cooley Architects this autumn submitted another, on which Loving Dalston will report as soon as possible
HIDDEN behind a crescent of terrace houses, and at the end of a short lane so private it has no name plate, is one of Dalston’s most delightful rows of cottages.
Perhaps it is being over-romantic to say that you could imagine yourself to be in a valley in mid-Kent but certainly there is a feeling of isolation from the masses that night and day can be heard a few hundred metres away, rushing and driving through the streets around the former workers’ homes.
The little houses at the end of lane at 44 St Mark’s Rise, neglected for years and known to few people apart from customers of a repair garage based in a big shed at its rear, have been mouldering for years, even since their surrounds were declared a conservation area.
Now their owner, property investor David Pearl has commissioned a makeover to turn them into the postmodern design in the main picture.
As is easy to see, the plans, by Cooley Architects, of Clerkenwell, will change the look of the structure, which was put up almost 140 years ago. They will become seven flats with a total of 13 bedrooms.
The owner of Aston Autos, and its one employee, are worried that the development includes no space for his business and that present rental rates would force them further north into the suburbs of Enfield borough.
Residents of nearby houses are worried about use of the lane for vehicular access to their rear gardens because the proposal is specified as car-free. The site owner has long been a cycle commuter.
Local conservationists are not impressed with the proposal to alter the cottages almost beyond recognition.
Yet Pearl is unlikely to carry out the proposal: his style is to get planning permission, which raises a site’s worth, then sell it. The still-high property prices of Dalston should ensure a sale.
His latest big sell-on was less than a kilometre away, next to Dalston Kingsland station, where developer Taylor Wimpey will build flats and shops.
A multimillionaire who has made The Sunday Times Rich List, Pearl went on Secret Millionaire in 2008 and ended up giving £50,000 to charities.
David Altheer 040215
* Planning application 2014/3760 The Hackney council planning site has lately been having problems, so enquirers may have to be persistent.
* Emboldened underscored words in most cases indicate a hyperlink, a reader service rare among websites. If a link does not work, it is probably because the site to which the URL refers has not been maintained.