HACKNEY COUNCIL’S HOUSING POLICY is coming under increasing criticism as developers encroach on the borough’s open spaces, said to comprise more than any other borough’s.
The latest area under threat is just north of Hackney Road and overlooks Haggerston City Farm. The handsome and well-appointed (it has it own woods) Haggerston Park is likely to find itself bordered by another row of apartments, having just lost the Acorn, a decaying pub. Local culture is under attack from big business.
The fabulously rich City of London in 2016 took land at Haggerston Park for a supposedly temporary school comprising of Portakabins.
The proposed flats development is small but dull: it would do nothing for the look of the fine 1926 church on to which it would abut.
If built, it will throw some shade about but that would be nothing to the contradictions around Hackney Downs, where in the late 1990s the Labour regime set about demolishing the towers of the 22-storey Nightingale Estate. Absurdly, a shade-throwing giant is again arising, this time for private money, although it will provide some affordable housing.
That concept that has long been criticised by Loving Dalston as near-meaningless. Increasingly, news-makers, and other news outlets, also see it as tokenism: invariably the rents are affordable only by the affluent.
Hence leasehold sales to wealthy foreigners, often hiding their funds offshore, as this site reported has been happening in Dalston.
One of the proposals to attract big protests is the development bordering Shoreditch Park. The Britannia Leisure Centre would be flattened to make way for 400 luxury flats, some in a building rising to 25 floors, schools and a sports centre, as has been reported by another outlet.
Local authorities throughout London have been described as property dealers, selling off much of their vast areas of land to developers or approving huge flat blocks that will house few local people but make millions for the investors.
Some do not even build the project. Instead, they sell on the site once it has planning permission (as Loving Dalston predicted and duly reported in the case of the Dalston-dominating tower that became known as the Dustbin) in search of a quick profit. Hackney council has made no effort to curtail let alone prevent selling-on.
Hackney’s enthusiasm for skyscrapers could yet harm local Labour. The small number of people who bother to vote in the council elections will almost certainly return Labour to power this May 2018. Yet Mayor Philip Glanville will not want tall buildings, to use the propagandists’ term, to harm the vote for his party.
David Altheer 140318
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