OBJECTIONS TO THE PROCESS:
- The developer was chosen in private by the Homes and Communities Agency who bought the hospital land. At least one other candidate had refurbishment as part of their plans.
- The HCA land was transferred to the GLA’s Housing and Land Unit, but they have not asked for higher standards from the developers and have ignored key advice on how to improve the scheme. (Find out about the GLA’s land holdings here)
OBJECTIONS TO THE PLANNING APPLICATION:
- This amount of new housing needs to be designed carefully to benefit the whole neighbourhood for many years to come. The developers have failed to understand or contribute positively to this lively and thriving area.
- Building the maximum possible number of units puts high-density, flat-fronted blocks up to the very edge of Goldsmith’s Row. Certain adjacent properties lose light, some by 80%.
- It’s a bland, standardised design that can be found anywhere.
- It is a poor replacement for the nineteenth-century hospital which was crafted from high-quality materials with a variety of forms, spaces, colours and decorative details, partly set back from the road. Many people would like the hospital to stay and it is seen as a local landmark. The planning application agrees the hospital has “considerable historic interest in the local area”.
- The high-level rooftop ‘pods’ make the new building rise to 9 storeys, which will cast bigger shadows over the farm and over Kay Street and dominate the park.
- Hackney City Farm and its long-term well-being have hardly been considered.
- The 100% residential scheme proposed by the developers is not supported by the local community and ignores the advice of its own architects. Business and shop spaces are wanted at ground level but Goldsmith’s Row will have flats all along it (apart from 60 sq m of ‘community enterprise space’ alongside the car park ramp).
- There is already a shortage of primary school places: the 400+ residents will need more.
- The developers’ financial contributions will go mostly to Tower Hamlets, not to Haggerston Park and other amenities in Hackney just over the boundary.
How it could be improved
- The density, height, bulk and mass of the buildings are excessive and should be reduced.
- The development needs a quality of design, materials and detailing to contribute positively to the area and be sympathetic to the park.
- Small businesses, shops and community facilities could all be brought in at street level to make the new building connect with the pedestrian and cycle routes and park. This would provide employment and useful facilities for the local community and new residents.
- The volume of new residents will bring many usage pressures on Haggerston Park and the City Farm. There must be an agreement to fund or support this community environment.
About the consultation the developer says “The overall view is that respondents would like a development which responds to the history of the area and the heritage of the site”.
THE DEVELOPER’S PUBLIC CONSULTATION RESULTS: here
English Heritage as consultees wrote no report on the building. However in a short message they said: “It is important that new elements carefully address the setting of surrounding heritage assets in terms of scale, massing and materials ”.
Hackney Council officially does not support the scheme.