Cafe Oto calls for public support to save project space threatened by council’s ‘Dalston Quarter’

Cafe Oto in Ashwin Street. Picture: Google

Cafe Oto in Ashwin Street. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

Hip music venue Cafe Oto has called for public support after revealing Hackney Council’s Dalston Quarter project could threaten its project space.

The jazz spot opened in 2008 and was in 2012 dubbed the “coolest venue in Britain” by The Guardian.

But Hackney Council is eyeing up its neighbouring community space for development, according to bosses.

Last week they sent out a newsletter asking people to write to the town hall explaining how much they value the work they do as part of the public consultation.

The council wants to redevelop its buildings around Ashwin Street and Dalston Lane to help protect the area’s “special character” as a “business, employment and recreation” hub.

The space, built in 2013 with Turner Prize-winning architect collective Assemble, offers a free rehearsal room for local musicians and hosts workshops, talks, screenings and installations.

“This work has become an integral part of what we do at Oto and we are determined to keep it on the street,” the newsletter said.

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Hackney planning boss Cathy Gallagher, said the council was working with locals, businesses and community groups to secure the future of the buildings by creating affordable workspaces and cultural hubs.

She said: “Café Oto is not within the allocated sites, however their more recent addition of rehearsal space on Ashwin Street is on Council-owned land.

“This is largely empty land, and the rehearsal space occupies the site on a temporary basis.

“The Council values venues like Café Oto and their contribution to this part of Dalston, and we’re looking at how we can best use the sites we own to help ensure this is maintained on a more permanent basis.

“We’d hope to continue to work with Café Oto to explore possible long term space as part of the wider Dalston Quarter development.”