Kingsland Shopping Centre Plan withers as Dalston people’s garden thrives

Eastern Curve Garden off Dalston Lane London E8 26 July 2013 ©

* UPDATE November 21: The social enterprise that set up the garden says it has an assurance that its future is safe from property development


THE EASTERN Curve Garden in Dalston has been saved. The multimillion-pound redevelopment of the adjacent Kingsland Shopping Centre that threatened the future of the popular venue has been withdrawn.

An attempt will now be made to put the garden beyond the reach of property developers.

The scheme’s proposer, Criterion Capital, is no longer pushing its plan for open space among high-rise buildings, shops, almost 400-plus flats and underground parking to replace the ugly mall, its interior dominated by a large Sainsbury’s supermarket, and badly arranged entrance a car park.

Criterion’s architect, Andrew Waugh, of Waugh Thistleton in Shoreditch, is being asked to tweak his design for the “urban quarter”.

GHOSTBIKE: Eastern Curve Gdn Dalston Ln Lon E8 June 2013 ©
Forecourt: the Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston Lane

Asset-management company Criterion spent thousands trying to massage public and council opinion, but found it difficult to counter the opposition of the garden operators and the campaigners Open Dalston and Dalston Futures.

Behind the scenes, Sainsbury’s was expressing worries at the prospect of years of dusty, noisy building work on the scheme, first mooted early in 2011.

The leading supermarket was objecting also to the car-parking ban demanded by some Hackney councillors.

Criterion development head Michael Hughes insisted to Loving Dalston that the plan was merely being reworked.

He said: “As ever with development there are issues that need resolving, which our team is currently working on. Our objective is still to redevelop the site as a mixed-use residential and retail scheme.”

But will that satisfy Sainsbury’s, which well knows its value to a mall scheme?

Dalston Futures organiser John Page said that the Kingsland site offered an opportunity for new shops, jobs and a lot of housing.

The proposal had failed because, he added, “it ignored the local community’s wishes on affordable and social housing, the retention of the Eastern Curve Garden and how the scheme would interact with Ridley Road Market.

Local people were unanimous in their rejection of the proposed scheme, but

Harley-Davidson mobility scooter in Sainsbury's Dalston London E8 080913 ©
One way to ride through Dalston Sainsbury’s queues: on a Harley-Davidson

there are many people who think this is a wasted opportunity. The right scheme could provide jobs, housing and regeneration that benefit the existing community, rather than displacing it.”

The garden and its community activities have grown in popularity since it opened in mid-2010. Dalston Futures now intends to have it registered as an asset of community value under the Localism Act 2011 of Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Criterion seems to have overlooked keeping the council up to date. Hackney told this news site: “The council’s planning service has not been made aware that Criterion Capital is intending to abandon its proposals to redevelop the Kingsland Shopping Centre or whether it intends to submit new designs for its proposals.”

“Criterion does not have a planning application lodged with the council.”

David Altheer 140914

* Backstory: Birth of a people’s garden; New Kingsland centreHigh-rise may replace Kingsland centreCycle route to start at Dalston mural, Big money makes its move and Boris buys Dalston a garden. The ghost bike pictured here commemorates Daniel Cox, who died at the nearby Dalston junction.

Eastern Curve Garden off Dalston Lane London E8 26 July 2013 ©
Aerial shot shows proximity of gardens, left, to the shopping centre, top

* Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, 13 Dalston Lane E8 3DF

* 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.

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