Will a Chinese lantern alight on the Peacocks site?

FOUR MONTHS since the proposal for a skyscraper, the Dalston Green Ecotower, next to Dalston Kingsland station, was toppled by Hackney council, the owner of the Peacocks site has a new plan for the prime location.

The owner, property investment company Rothas, which is led by businessman David Pearl, has promised to unveil the plan to the public at the CLR James Library on Wednesday. Rothas says it wants members of the public to offer their views between noon and 7.30pm.

Glossy approach: here we go again
David Pearl, head of Rothas
Pearl: Mr Rothas

Rothas last year hired a prestige public-relations firm to build support for the initial 18-floor proposal,and won the approval of Hackney council planning department. But on 7 March 2012 the application to erect the skyscraper at 51-57 Kingsland High Street was thrown out by planning subcommittee councillors.

After Rothas’s wish to build the high-rise flats and offices next to Dalston Kingsland station was reported by Loving Dalston, on 27 August 2011, protests grew. A few months later Open Dalston, a local environmental group, organised a protest petition, and presented it to the council with more than 1,300 signatures.

After the humiliation this spring, Rothas is taking a tentative approach, claiming on the internet that it wants public reaction. It has set up a website that diffidently says: “Before a planning application is submitted to Hackney council we would like to show you the brand new plans for the site and listen to what you have to say… Please use the tabs above to find out more information.”

Proposed revision, Boleyn Road end. The red line shows shape and height of the previous proposal

More information is what there is not. The site offers not a hint about its “brand new design”. The architects are also new — no second chance with Rothas, it seems — so Dalston Green Mark II “not only deals with the difficulties raised last time but provides a building that Dalston and Hackney can be proud of”.

But not informed of: even Dalston ward’s three councillors, Sophie Linden, Michelle Gregory and Angus Mulready-Jones, are in the dark, saying in an email to local Labour Party members that “this will no doubt still be a controversial planning application”. At a meeting last week, however,  Mulready-Jones said that a tall building was  “inevitable”.

David Altheer 090712

* Main picture: architect’s drawing of the revised 19-floor project for the heart of Hackney E8

* The consultation is at CLR James Library, corner Dalston Lane and Roseberry Place, Dalston E8 3AZ, Wed. 11 July 2012, noon-7.30pm.

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 http://bit.ly/ZnClKc Also relevant may be the note at the end of http://bit.ly/117GXmi Photographs © David Altheer unless otherwise stated and apart from supplied pictures

10 thoughts on “Will a Chinese lantern alight on the Peacocks site?

  1. I don’t understand why they don’t just do a deal and build over the rail station. This would provide some continuity of building height along the street, where currently the station steps down, and remove the need for such a tall tower.

    To me, the proposed tower looks worse that the last one. Things have gone backwards… Circular building butting up to a square one…

    Any idea who the architects are?

    Jestico and Whiles is the practice, and I shall reveal a little more when I do a separate update piece.

    I try to keep my views out of news stories but I think I can say that I agree with your implication: the station needs aesthetic improvement. Not to work at that is a missed opportunity. Perhaps the council will suggest it. — Ed.

    1. Andrew, I agree about building over the station, but I don’t see that as a reason to lessen the height. London needs vast amounts of housing.

      Surely it’s the principal function of modern inner-city residential architecture to address contemporary housing need, not to maintain historic building heights?

      Previous generations didn’t have any problem in exceeding building heights

      1. Nice random picture, Ben.

        In principal I don’t have a problem with a tall building but it should be of a high architectural quality. I actually think the previous design was better than this one, which to all intent and purpose is just a generic shape.

        Surely you are not of the view that because there is a need for additional housing, developers should be allowed to build what they want, where they want?

        1. I too preferred the previous design, but unless you’re willing to define “high architectural quality”, most of your comment is redundant.

  2. Perhaps you should start by making it clear that the picture is the old design for the site.

    The original plan also involved a much-needed revamp for part of Dalston Kingsland station, including step free access. This important as the platforms and exits are dangerously overcrowded.

    As for OPENDalston being “a local environmental” group, I really doubt that. One of their number who has lived in my street for decades has never spoken to me about environmental issues such as air quality, preserving the character of the historic buildings on our road, lorries using the road as a shortcut, noise pollution or litter: ie, environmental issues that matter where we live.

    She then appeared with the petition about this development. What Open seems to oppose is any private investment in Dalston, as well as the changing nature of the borough. The “environmental” tag seems to me to be smoke and mirrors for the group’s real agenda.
    I was not fond of many aspects of the original design for the development. But the green wall looked interesting and the improved access to the station was important.
    And the current Peacocks building is appalling.

    As I on previous comments, I declare an interest: I am a founder-member of OPENDalston.

    Your picture comment, Marc, has prompted me to add a caption (there was already one explaining that the picture was the rejected design). For presentation reasons I needed an illustration and I had no drawing of Dalston Green Mk II. I point out, however, that my attempts to get pictures of DG Mk II have been obstructed — by the Rothas camp. I shall get one, and post it as soon as I get it. — Ed.

  3. You write that “Rothas last year hired a prestige public-relations firm to build support for the initial 18-floor proposal, and won the approval of Hackney council planning department”.

    Can one actually “win” approval of the planning department? That implies merit. In my day it was all greasy palms and brown envelopes.

    It’s great that those days have gone. — Ed.

      1. Benjamin, I should have been more clear: my proposal for a modern office/residential building raised no objections with neighbouring residents or with the local council.

        “In my day” refers to a period of time during the previous century. Gosh, that makes me feel old! I’m glad to hear that Hackney council’s planning department has cleaned up its act. It needed to.

        Time to employ a PR firm? No thank you. I have always tried my best to rely on good old-fashioned honesty in my business dealings and it has stood me in good stead.

  4. What a disgusting wart on the face of Dalston this would be, also a very good way to show the long-standing citizens of Dalston how much they are trying to be priced out of the area. The last one was stopped, so can this one.

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