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Dalston Conversation: Council scraps unpopular plans for area and asks people to shape its future

PUBLISHED: 15:32 10 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 25 January 2019

An aerial view of Dalston, with Ridley Road's stalls visible going left from the centre of the image. Picture: Google Maps

An aerial view of Dalston, with Ridley Road's stalls visible going left from the centre of the image. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

Humbled town hall chiefs have torn up their hugely unpopular plans for Dalston and asked the people to help shape its future.

Mayor Phil Glanville was in Gillett Square on Sunday during Hackney Carnival to launch the project.Mayor Phil Glanville was in Gillett Square on Sunday during Hackney Carnival to launch the project.

The Dalston Conversation, launched today, aims to let those who live, work or visit the thriving creative area influence the council’s plans for it amid a boom in population and interest from developers.

Their priorities, the council said, will be at the heart of any strategy that follows.

It comes after more than 2,000 people responded to a survey last year on planning principles for the “Dalston Quarter” – council owned buildings around Ashwin Street and Dalston Lane.

Many said they feared for the Eastern Curve Garden, which was earmarked as a thoroughfare, and also criticised the language used in the document.

So the council held up its hands and went back to the drawing board.

Now, chiefs have pledged to protect and improve Ridley Road Market, champion existing businesses and culture, secure the future of the curve garden, open affordable spaces for local firms and promote diverse shops, restaurants and nightlife.

They have also pledged to be honest about plans for the future.

Mayor Phil Glanville said: “Hackney has seen huge change over the last 15 years, with massive investment bringing better education, more job opportunities, new businesses and a transformation in transport links.

“But residents in places like Dalston have also been clear they are worried future plans might put the area’s heritage and character at risk, or exclude some people from new opportunities.

“If Dalston is to remain a place that works for everyone, we need to hear the voices and views of everyone who lives, works and visits here so we can best plan for how to achieve their priorities.

“That’s why we’re taking a step back to start the Dalston Conversation. I’m determined that through this open and honest dialogue, we’ll find out how we should approach change.”

Dalston’s population has risen by 12 per cent in four years and the prospect of Crossrail 2 means businesses and landlords will be eyeing it up for tower blocks and major developments.

The council says some changes will be out of its control but it wants to make sure it “uses every tool at its disposal” to ensure any “growth” benefits the people there now.

Anyone can have their say by visiting the Dalston Conversation website or attending events across Dalston throughout autumn. Detailed workshops will follow later this year.

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