BIG-SCHEME property investors are finding Dalston ever more attractive. As the protest grows against the skyscraper at the Peacocks high-street site, another project designed to loom over Dalston is announced. Shops, offices and flats would be built on the Tesco site opposite the Evin eaterie.
Though six floors – 12 fewer than planned at Peacocks – the planned building would overshadow surrounding properties because the street slopes noticeably at that point.
The company that made planning application 2011/3132 is Crystal Property, of Chelsea. The architect is Brophy Riaz and Partners, of Birmingham. In accordance with the trend to pander to fashionable concepts of “sustainability” and ecology, a “roof-level garden” has been included in the plans.
Crystal Property’s planning consultant, Eric Walton, told Loving Dalston: “The application is absolutely in line with the Dalston Area Action Plan.” (This is the council’s outline strategy for what can be built in certain areas — for example, houses here, light industrial there. In effect at present is the 2009 plan as the latest one awaits formal adoption.)
“This scheme is located less than 100 metres from the ‘eco tower’ at the old Peacocks store and is very modest in comparison. It is an outline application, with all matters reserved, so the final design may well be completely different and is open to discussion.”
Walton said the site had had broad consent for a six-floor building for 20 years. Tesco’s lease on the site did not expire until 2016, at which stage the owner would seek a developer with the expertise and access to finance to put up the building.
Already, however, a protest movement has sprung up. Duncan Gibson, a chartered town planning consultant hired by worried residents, said: “This important and prominent site deserves much better than the ill-judged and unsympathetic scheme submitted.” He said the building would be seven storeys high when viewed from Sandringham Road.
He added: “The design of the building is plain and brutal. This big slab of built form will harm the visual amenities of the area. It will look like the building has been dropped on to the site without any regard for what surrounds it.”
The predominant character of the High Street was of well-proportioned and handsome Victorian terraces with attractive detailing and consistent height and width. The Tesco-site proposal was out of keeping. It would harm the setting of the listed art deco Rio Cinema.
“The bulk and mass of the building,” said Gibson, “is such that it will cause considerable overshadowing of properties in Alvington Crescent.”
* A protest petition has been organised. Click on this link. To give the council planning department your views of application 2011/3132, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to Hackney planning, 1 Hillman Street, London E8 1DY.