Path through Dalston Eastern Curve Garden is not negotiable say developers

GV of Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, of Graham Road, Dalston.

GV of Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, of Graham Road, Dalston. - Credit: Archant

Fears grew over the future of a much-loved community garden in Dalston after developers insisted that they would have to put a path through it because of local policy.

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

Dalston Eastern Curve Garden - Credit: Archant

In July, property company Criterion Capital revealed plans to bulldoze the Kingsland Shopping centre in Kingsland Road, and replace it with 445 homes, a new shopping mall and a Sainsbury’s. The proposals also showed a thoroughfare being built through the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden in Dalston Lane.

Last night, Criterion and Waugh Thistleton architects presented more detailed plans of the development to members of the planning committee and the public ahead of a formal planning application which they hope to submit in June.

People were turned away from the fully packed meeting at Stoke Newington Town Hall in Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington, which was attended by about 100 people of all ages.

During the presentation, developers confirmed that a walkway would be built through the heart of the enclosed garden and said they had nowhere else to relocate it. They proposed joining part of the garden to another piece of land - which is not owned by them - as a potential solution.

Andrew Waugh, director of Waugh Thistleston architects in Paul Street, Shoreditch, said: “The steer from the Greater London Assembly and the local authority is that there will be a thoroughfare because of the Dalston Area Action Plan (DAAP) and you can see the logic in that.

“The aspiration is that the community garden will spread through the whole development and it will become increasingly available to the local community.” The proposals revealed an increase in green space at the development.

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Brian Cummings, who co-runs the garden with Marie Murray, said: “When the original plans for the DAAP were created the garden did not exist so people did not have an opportunity to choose it over a pathway. Dalston is changing so much and the garden’s one of the things people like about the area. It delivers on lots of policy objectives that Hackney Council have got. To get rid of it seems short-sighted and unimaginative. It does not continue to exist as a garden when it’s a walkway.”

Ms Murray added: “We were disappointed there were not more questions asked by the planning committee, especially as members of the public were not allowed to speak.”

Two fifths of the garden is owned by Hackney Council while the remainder is owned by Criterion, who gave permission for the garden to be built as a temporary feature in 2010.

Attendee Ronnie Barden, of Dalston, said: “I like the idea of a garden and I think the council should protest the existing one. It’s a wonderful facility.”