Proposals to turn Broadway Market cafe, where locals staged a sit-in, in to seven-storey block of flats
- Credit: Archant
A building in Broadway Market which was the site of a sit-in in more than seven years ago may be turned into a block of flats if planning proposals go ahead.
In late December 2005, a group of local protesters stormed Café Francesca and occupied it for three months to protect it from being sold off to become luxury flats after its owner Tony Platia – who ran a café on the site for 30 years – was evicted.
Although they successfully fought off the developers, the council has now received a planning application to demolish 30-34 Broadway Market and convert the building into four two-bedroom and five four-bedroom flats, seven storeys tall.
London Assembly member Andrew Boff said: “It would be a real slap in the face for market residents and traders to have this level of over-development feeding off the buzz that is generated by local people, and not the landlord or the council.
“In 2004, Hackney Speaker Jessica Webb was part of a committee which voted to allow the demolition of Tony’s café to take place. There’s lots of developers but there’s only one Hackney Council who can control the pace of development.”
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Residents expressed concerns that the area was losing its “character” due to over-development in the wake of a plethora of developments such as a six-storey sheltered housing block on Lansdowne Drive, a six-storey housing block on Bocking Road and plans to build 200 new homes at the site of a former children’s hospital on the corner of Hackney Road and Goldsmith Road.
Kerry Linde, 35, a mother and Whiston Road resident, said: “All this new housing will put pressure on resources like doctors and shops. People buy these flats to rent them out or live here for a short while, which affects the community feel. The council needs to consider families like us.”
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Natasha Cousins, 35, a Pritchard’s Road resident and Broadway Market stallholder, said: “I have been coming here for 10 years and living here for eight years. I have seen lots of things change. I don’t like what’s happening now.
“I get the gentrification thing. It’s a positive thing to a degree, but then it causes negative things too.
“People with money drive house prices up. Big businesses are coming in, therefore rent has gone up from £10,000 to over £25,000 on Broadway Market.
“We have reached the point here where the artists who created the vibe have moved out. I don’t see how it can keep its character. I think the area will morph into Islington.”
A Hackney Council spokesman said: “The council takes all residents views into account before granting planning permission on any development. We consider a number of criteria when reviewing each proposal to ensure it does not damage the character of an area from both a physical and social perspective.”
n You have until March 18 to submit comments. You can do so via the by going online at www.hackney.gov.uk/search-applications or emailing email@example.com.