* UPDATE, December 2018: Hackney council approved the application and the site sas been offered for sale. Asking price: £1.4 million
A PROPOSAL for a seven-floor block of shops and flats to replace the buildings at 75 Ridley Road, Dalston E8 2NP, is just the latest for the valuable site, which is close to a bus stop and a few hundred metres from two rail lines.
This one, by Essex businessman Shad Shaikh, wants late-opening shops (midnight on Saturdays) with seven flats above them.
The building would loom over the much-loved Dalston Mill Fabrics immediately west, at 69-73 Ridley Road.
The plans are by Ellis Miller, a firm of architects at Gainsborough Studios near the Regents Canal at Shoreditch N1.
Lovers of Ridley Road Market are already worried about a lack of consultation: no drawings or diagrams of the plans had been posted at time of writing. Local people accept that markets change over time but expect market traders and users to have a say in those changes.
Ellis Miller describes itself as an award-winner specialising in “masterplanning” and commercial, residential, retail, hotel and education buildings, including the 2012 RIBA-awarded Catmose Campus in Okham, Rutland [Don’t worry, it’s England’s smallest county. — Ed.].
Chris Patience, of Ellis Miller, said: “Our proposals follow the council’s Dalston Area Action Plan, which aims to improve the public space in Ridley Road by maximising active frontages and creating a new square.
“We hope our scheme will encourage other site owners to invest in the area and realise the council’s future vision for Dalston.”
The views of several of the markets stall-holders can be summed up in the words of trader Subish Singh, whose small-goods stall is near the site. He said: “The proposal is good. It will bring more customers into Ridley Road.”
However, Ridley Road traders’ leader Larry Julian said: “I’m bemused — this is a local community market. We don’t want skyscrapers in Ridley Road.”
Pointing to the shops and flats at the corner of the street’s junction with Colvestone Crescent, he said: “Even that building looks too high for the market.”
At the other end of the market another application has been made to build a sky-rise on the Peacocks site next to Dalston Kingsland station. The first attempt was exclusively reported by Loving Dalston in late 2011.
Site owner Rothas has just applied to Hackney council for permission for a building of 19 floors, with 125 flats above shops.
Rothas is known as a property investor rather than a developer, raising suspicions that if planning permission were granted, it would be sold on. Rothas’s public-relations adviser, Four Communications, tried to assure Loving Dalston several times that the proposal would go ahead. That firm is no longer handling the marketing.
The plans replace an earlier application at the site, which included an 18-floor “eco-tower” and was rejected by the council last year.
Hamish Scott 040913
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