Town Hall’s tower will ‘ruin our park’

Spoilt: The new tower will ruin the view of Hackeny Downs, say residents

Spoilt: The new tower will ruin the view of Hackeny Downs, say residents - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a 13-storey tower block on top of a new school right next to a park have been slammed by residents.

The massive Hackney Council development, in Tiger Way, Hackney Downs, would involve bulldozing the empty Downsview School, replacing it with a new two-storey, two-form, 430-pupil primary school and building 72 homes in a large block above it.

But the proposal – currently at the pre-planning stage and designed to plug a huge £40million gap in funding for the borough’s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme by selling the new homes – has received short shrift from people in the area.

Gul Demirbas, who lives on Tiger Way, said: “It will block the view from the park – it will make a big difference for people.

“My feeling is there will be too many people in the area and it will be overcrowded. It’s too big and I’m not in favour of it.”

Paula Smith, who lives adjacent to the site, said: “People will be able to see into my windows. I’m not in favour of two storeys, never mind 13.

“I’ve been living here long enough to remember when there were six big towers here. They knocked five of them down, why do they want to build another one? If they try and force it through we’ll launch a petition.”

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John Bickell, also of Tiger Way, said: “It will block the sunlight from the park and spoil the view.”

Plans are also afoot for a 23-storey block in Nile Street, Hoxton, which would house a 150-place pupils referral unit and 161 homes. No affordable housing is proposed on either site, and neither provide a third of three-bed units as recommended in the council’s own local plan.

In a statement Hackney Mayor Jules Pipe described the move as a “creative and ambitious approach” to ensure the borough had the infrastructure it needed over the next decade.

He said: “We need to provide an extra 840 primary school places by 2019 and 750 places at secondary by 2020, but there is no funding from government for us to do this, so we need to find the money ourselves.” He said huge property price increases were a massive barrier to home ownership but that the council had the choice to use “high land values to the borough’s advantage”.

Once plans are further developed, residents, schools and other stakeholders will be consulted.