Hackney Council’s conservation scheme ‘misses key buildings’

Reeves Printhouse in Ashwin Street

Reeves Printhouse in Ashwin Street - Credit: Archant

Conservation groups have questioned why Hackney Council is not protecting cherished historical buildings in the new conservation area it is drawing up for Dalston.

The proposed Dalston Conservation Area currently being consulted on will be centred on one of the oldest Roads in Britain, the Roman Ermine Street – now known as Kingsland High Street – and extend from Tottenham Road up to Somerford Grove and Princess May School.

Proposals have also been put forward to extend the Albion Square Conservation Area to include 1 Albion Drive and the Victorian Queensbridge infants school.

Owners are allowed to demolish any non-residential buildings without planning permission if they are not listed or in a conservation area.

But questions have been raised why lots of “equally-worthy” heritage buildings on the eastern side of Dalston junction will remain at risk, with no conservation area protection. These include the Reeves Printhouse, Pentecostal Shiloh Church, the 1865 Railway Tavern in Ashwin Street, Springfield House in Tyssen Street and the iconic Dalston Peace Mural.

Conservation groups The Hackney Society, the Dalston Conservation Area Advisory Committee and OPEN Dalston welcome the creation of the Dalston Conservation Area, which they say is long overdue, but are concerned about the omissions.

Bill Parry-Davies, founder of OPEN Dalston said: “The question which arises is why has the council not proposed extending protection to them as well.

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“It may be unthinkable that Hackney would want to see these buildings demolished, but Dalston is under considerable re-development pressure and Hackney has yet to explain why they haven’t been given conservation area protection.

“Damage to the High Street’s historic character is already being caused by the Taylor Wimpey schemes presently under construction which might have been prevented had the conservation area already been in place when their planning applications were considered.”

John Allen, the council’s assistant director for planning and regulatory services said: “The area to the east of the proposed Dalston Conservation Area, which includes buildings in Ashwin Street, has a unique character of buildings and historic uses which are different to those of Kingsland High Road.

“Ashwin Street is better suited to a separate conservation area reflecting the different historical and character differences.

“The council is looking into a future review and extension of the Dalston Lane (West) conservation area, to take place at a later date, which may include Ashwin Street.”

Comments on both consultation areas will be accepted until May 25. Email consultation@hackney.gov.uk or call 020 8356 4873.