Dalston Lane terraces can be saved says engineer - ahead of meeting tonight to decide their future

60-66 Dalston Lane

60-66 Dalston Lane - Credit: Archant

A structural engineer has said a row of Georgian terraces - which are earmarked for demolition - can be saved ahead of a planning meeting tonight to decide their future.

Hackney Council started bulldozing a row of 16 Georgian terraces at 48 to 76 Dalston Lane in January, despite promising residents several years ago that the 19th century facades would be retained as part of a “conservation-led scheme”.

But it was forced to suspend demolition work on the historic terraces because it did not have legal permission for the controversial work.

The council entered into a £2.38 million deal with developer Murphy to convert the site into 44 homes – none of which are classed as “affordable” – and 1,000 square metres of retail space last year.

In December it was announced that keeping the frontage of the homes would make the scheme structurally unsound.

Abbas Contractor, a structural engineer at Morton Partnerships who carried out an independent assessment of the Georgian terraces, said that there was no reason to demolish the terraces.

He said: “I had a look at the properties first in 2007 and then subsequently just over a week ago. I am shocked there are plans to demolish it. The facades can be kept by strengthening the walls and then bracing them to keep the walls in place. It would not cause any problems in the future.”

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Bill Parry-Davies, founder of campaign group OPEN Dalston which has spent 10 years trying to save the buildings, said: “I’m disgusted that despite the council’s promises to us, it has abandoned its conservation-led scheme in favour of a commercial lead-scheme with open-plan shops which will cause destruction of the buildings.”

In a letter to Mr Parry-Davies on February 5, cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Guy Nicholson said “the dismantling and restoration of the facades will ensure that the consented conservation-led scheme can still be implemented which includes open-plan retail units which have been designed to appeal to a range of potential occupiers, thus ensuring ongoing viability and activity within the Terrace”.

n. A planning meeting will be held at Hackney Town Hall at 6.30pm tonight