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Hackney Council breached its own planning policy on Church Street shop project

PUBLISHED: 17:56 24 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:15 24 July 2017

The Church Street shops now. Picture: Google Maps

The Church Street shops now. Picture: Google Maps

Archant

The town hall breached its own planning policy on a failed project to redevelop shops in Stoke Newington Church Street.

Move the slider to compare the finished result with the old parade of shops

A row of Hackney Council-owned units in the road responsible for the area’s trendy image was meant to be knocked down and rebuilt in keeping with the original design.

The building works were signed off in 2013, but when the contractor went bust it was left to Hackney to pick up the pieces and complete the job.

The finished article, however, has been reported for being in breach of the permitted scheme – and been branded “illiterate” by one campaigner.

In a slightly eccentric analogy, Jonathan Law – an experienced architect with his own firm – said even his dog would refuse such a mess if offered to him on a plate.

“I made the first complaint in February 2016 when I saw the thing built,” he told the Gazette. “It just looks like it’s been made with doors from a skip. It’s ridiculous.

“How they’ve ended up with this strange rebuild is beyond me, it’s taking the p*** out of the original.”

The shops have been left empty for years due to the problems, but the town hall has said the end is in sight.

Planning boss Cllr Guy Nicholson wrote to Jonathan and another campaigner to say an enforcement investigation was launched last year by town hall planners – presumably against themselves. But that was dropped once officers realised the scheme could be saved.

In the email, seen by the Gazette, Cllr Nicholson wrote: “Since officers were confident an appropriate design solution could be found, and taking into account permission for construction of a building of similar size was previously granted, it was not considered appropriate to take formal enforcement action in the interim.

“Due to the scale of the development and complexities of design, quite extensive pre-application discussions have been required.

“Planning and design officers have therefore been working with the applicants [themselves? – ed] to achieve appropriate amendments to the scheme, particularly to the shop front.”

The new application is believed to have been submitted, but has not yet been published. A consultation is set to be launched on the plans.

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