Another block of offices, shops and flats planned to tower over downtown Dalston

Above, initial drawing of Kingsland High Street skyscraper and, top, latest © BFLS
Above, initial drawing of the proposed Kingsland High Street skyscraper and, top, latest © BFLS

A £30 MILLION skyscraper that would change the face of Dalston is proposed for Kingsland High Street.

The block of offices, shop and flats, including family-size affordable homes, would rise to six floors where the store Peacocks stands and at Dalston Kingsland station – and 17 at its rear.

Promotional material for the building, showing it draped in luxuriant verdure, is dripping with fashionable terms such as “green roof spaces”, “biodiversity” and “communal spaces for residents”.

Planning permission has not been sought yet.

The high-rise would add colour and movement to a town-centre as ugly as any in zone 2 of London. Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, told this website: “As a Dalston resident I would give a cautious welcome to this development, because it would mean an upgrade of the Dalston Kingsland station, which I use regularly. But I would like to know more.”

The site-owner Rothas Ltd admits that it has never erected a building since it was set up as a subsidiary of Structadene, a property company that evolved in Hackney in 1965.

To counter the suspicion that Rothas is interested only in selling the site on, its spokesman told Loving Dalston: “Should we succeed in securing planning, we are committed to starting the scheme in 2012.” The “once-in-a-generation opportunity” would enable “transport and public-realm upgrades in Dalston”.
The architecture firm that designed the block for Rothas is BFLS, based in Paddington, Prague and Hong Kong. It has designed buildings around the world, including, its website states, a Libyan government office in Tripoli.

Rothas has hired Four Communications (FourCom) to promote the Dalston project. The West End-based lobbyist speaks of an “enviable track record in winning “political and community support for planning applications for sensitive schemes” and instances its help in winning planning consent for schemes “despite local opposition”.

FourCom has also been campaigning in Stoke Newington for a property investment company that has applied for planning permission for a Sainsbury’s supermarket and flats on a site in Wilmer Place, N16 0LQ. Diane Abbott has joined local councillors in expressing doubts about the consultation for this scheme.

FourCom employs two Hackney councillors. Alan Laing, of Hackney Central ward, is an associate director and Karen Alcock, of Clissold ward, works part-time for FourCom. The link precludes both of them from any role in Wilmer Place planning decisions.

FourCom told Loving Dalston: “It is not unusual for people with experience in politics to choose a career in public relations.”
Whatever lobbying occurs, reactions to the Dalston proposal will vary. Richard Abbott, HBV Enterprise chief executive, said that more residential units could benefit local businesses. Larry Julian, Ridley Road Market Traders Association chairman, told Loving Dalston: “It looks like another building that will take the character out of the area.”

The news that Peacocks this week entered administration after failing to restructure £240 million of debt will raise worries that unless the the premises are let to another company the site may stand emtpy for several years.

David Altheer 270811

* The planning application for 51-57 Kingsland High Street, Dalston E8 2JS, has now been made. No 2011/3439 is on line at Hackney’s planning site. Comments should be made by Tues 31 Jan 2012. Late submissions are usually also acknowledged, within reason.

* 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.

This site welcomes fair comments, including the critical. Letters may be edited for grammatical, legal or taste reasons, or for shortening. RSS feed link is at top right. Twitter: @lovingdalston Publicists, amateur and professional, should read Also relevant may be the note at the end of Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures

13 thoughts on “Another block of offices, shops and flats planned to tower over downtown Dalston

  1. The greenest thing about this proposal isn’t the foliage and green roof, but the fact that the building is high-rise and facilitates a large number of people leading a lifestyle in which they can walk or get public transport to work. Compact, high-density cities are more environmentally sustainable than low-rise urban sprawl.

  2. James, I am actually a local resident (of seven years’ duration) rather than a PR representative.
    I would love to know how long you have lived in Dalston and, in fact, whether you know much about the regeneration benefits at all. Let me guess, you are an “artist” who earns very little and therefore contributes nothing of actual value to the local infrastructure other than negative comments which link directly to your lack of income and therefore inability to purchase a property in Zone 1. My suggestion is to move to Deptford — it’s cheaper, and the artistic community still have a couple of years of cheap rents until social needs will require it to pay its way too.

    1. “Let me guess, you are an ‘artist, who earns very little and therefore contributes nothing of actual value to the local infrastructure other than negative comments which link directly to your lack of income and therefore inability to purchase a property in Zone 1.”
      “Actual value… regeneration”? If you can get your flat white in the morning, Matthew, you’re happy, obviously. Hackney has always been a poor area — the poor have a right to live and remain there. The area will not be ‘regenerated’ as you put it, but the social cleansing of Dalston that started around seven years ago (ahem) will continue.
      I hope the quote above haunts you every time you listen to a song, read a book or watch a film. The creator, if they knew you, would gladly, I’m sure, usher you away from their work. You just don’t get it.
      Oh, I’ve 23 years on you.

  3. How many of these comments are from the PR company I wonder, astroturfing much. Nobody I know who lives in Dalston wants this.

    1. James, Then we obviously don’t cross social paths because I live locally and know loads of people who are excited about the development. Besides, whatever your tastes in architecture, we need to tackle London’s dire housing shortage. We’re projected to have a shortfall of 325,000 homes by 2025.

  4. This is yet another much-needed shot in the arm for Dalston.
    The disused, unkempt and ugly shop uppers are not providing the housing required as the freeholders hold on for the Olympic Effect to take hold.
    Affordable and council housing is being built throughout the borough and with many being outpriced from surrounding areas, this will help to ease the private-housing shortage.
    For those who think that Dalston can survive with low-income families spending little within the community, I would say that some more affluent pockets need to be provided in order to inject some income to the local shops and cafés that are closing gradually because of the lack of paying customers.

  5. Hopefully Boris Johnson will be voted out of office and replaced by a mayor with a better understanding of inner-city development. I hope this gets built and provides as many flats as possible and thereby takes some of the pressure off period family houses to convert into flats.

  6. Hopefully the Mayor of London would turn down this proposal for the same reason he turned down the development at Queen’s Market in Newham E13 9AZ. He takes a dim view of tall buildings unless they are among a development of other tall buildings.
    If we keep turning them down we might end up with some developments that relieve some of the real housing need in the area rather than constantly building buy-to-let opportunities for offshore investors.

  7. Paul – If 21st century London is going to stop constructing 21st century buildings that address 21st century needs on the grounds that they’re taller than 19th century buildings, London’s had it!
    Personally, I think the contrast – in both scale and style – between the period and the modern is an asset.

  8. The illustration shows it replacing Peacocks. No great loss there but it leaves the undistinguished station untouched.
    It’s true that the station is a bit congested but it shouldn’t take this kind of monstrosity in order to fix that.
    It is oversized and will dwarf what is essentially still a Victorian streetscape that is human in scale.
    The use of a PR company with Hackney council links is worrying.

  9. Although I can appreciate the ‘on trend’ aspects of this proposal and feel drawn to its green credentials, there is no doubt that this development serves little community purpose. How could it when the company is known for winning support despite local concerns? When people criticise Dalston as it currently stands, there is very little understanding of the fact that communities work best when the economic and social variation is minimalised. I doubt this proposal will do that. It serves only to intensely stratify. If someone wants better places to shop, go elsewhere or start appreciating what Dalston already offers.

  10. Fantastic. Dalston has plenty of character even with new developments. The flats proposals look fantastic. Good riddance to the shopping centre. Please build a modern place where I can enjoy my shopping. It is tired and ugly, as with Dalston Kingsland station — come on, it really needs a facelift. No character there!
    I wear an I love Dalston badge and I think we should embrace positive change instead of battling to save tired-looking places. Dalston should stay somewhat characterised, however. It does need modernising a little. You have to agree.
    Come on Dalston, I love you!

  11. Fabulous! Some funky modernist architecture containing some much needed homes. I’m not sure I’d describe 17 floors as a “skyscraper”, though.

Comments are closed.