HACKNEY COUNCIL HAS given up any pretence of trying to conserve the Georgian houses in Dalston Lane.
The council had been describing its latest decision – to hand the buildings to builder Murphy to demolish the rear and disneyfy the facades – as “conservation-led”.
Demolition has started on the 1807-built No 66, pictures above and at left taken Tuesday 6 January 2015, despite a court appeal by protest groups. In such circumstances work is usually delayed until any such appeal is lost; at Dalston Lane it started last month December 2014.
Asked about the start of demolition and the breach with normal procedure, Hackney told Loving Dalston: “This is a step forward to finally bring back into use this part of Dalston Lane, to provide space for existing and new businesses, as well as for new homes.” The council would not answer further questions.
This, despite the terrace having been occupied for decades by local businesses. Many have left or closed.
Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe had rhetorically asked council officers why “the eyesore” was still there. He was speaking off the record but now the council is openly expressing its true view since its miserable stewardship of one of the few early-1800s terraces in E8 led to their steady yet not irreversible decline.
An offer by the conservationist Spitalfields Trust to take the buildings off Murphys and to restore them properly was not mentioned in the latest council response.
Open Dalston (OD) founder Bill Parry-Davies, who has fought relentlessly
and ingeniously for ten years to save the buildings, says on the group’s blog: “There has been 30 years of deliberate neglect of our Georgian houses since Hackney first acquired them.”
For 10 years the council had mouthed platitudes about being the “champions of our heritage” while the terrace decayed.
“Eventually,” Parry-Davies explained, “Hackney designed a profit-led scheme to attract a developer. It will load the 16 ancient houses with 44 flats, all for private sale.
“Hackney pleads its own negligence that, due to years of dereliction, the houses are now too weak to withstand its scheme.”
OD solicitors had asked that demolition be stopped until the appeal court made its decision. Murphy refused, said Parry-Davies, saying it had been delayed “long enough”.
David Altheer 261214
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