Saturday, 7 July 2007

Stamford Hill deserves better

Stop the proposed area of planning exception

Hackney Council is planning to exclude 38 streets in Stamford Hill from normal planning protection. A period of so-called ‘consultation’ on the plans has already concluded, but most residents had no idea that this consultation was taking place. One councillor has already been quoted in the press celebrating what he described as an unprecedented u- turn in council policy. While the councillor was celebrating, most residents had not even been informed of the proposals. Those who have managed to obtain copies of the ‘draft’ proposals are appalled at the proposal to abandon their streets to unregulated property developers.

The Council already has an appalling record of applying its existing policies and often grants planning permission for front, rear and side extensions that are completely out of character with the existing streetscape, and which in some cases involve the almost total in-fill of rear gardens. Not satisfied with the existing levels of architectural vandalism, the Council wishes to relax even further the rules that they so rarely apply.

If this ‘area of exclusion’ is allowed, the unique character of our Victorian and Edwardian streets will be lost forever. With the Olympics approaching the area will be a magnet for unscrupulous ‘hit and run’ property developers and unlicensed ‘buy to let’

landlords who will destroy the quality of our environment. Already residents are facing inappropriate developments with a resulting loss of privacy, light and other amenities. Developers are even applying to build three storey houses in residential back gardens.

Why should residents of Stamford Hill be any less entitled to statutory planning protection than the rest of Hackney residents? We pay the same council tax; we deserve the same services. If you own your own home and this policy is approved, then you may not find it easy to sell up and leave as ‘planning blight’ will make prospective owner occupiers wary. If you rent, you may find your landlord decides that there is more money to be made by ‘increasing the density of occupation’, i.e. extending the property and then converting it into additional flats. The result will be a loss of high quality rental accommodation and more people forced to live in smaller flats and ‘houses in multiple occupation’ (including bedsits).

If you are concerned at the prospect that your next-door neighbour (or some future next door neighbour) will be able to build a wholly inappropriate extension with no regard to normal planning controls, if you care about the quality of our built environment or just wish to express your views on the Council’s flawed consultation, then please show your support.

• Email us at planningwatch@btinternet.com
• You can also contact the council for a copy of the consultation document at mailto://conservation.design@hackney.gov.uk

4 comments:

Quink said...

Which councillor was quoted in the press, and where?

Jane Holgate said...

Hi Quink
This was Councillor Simon Tesler
jane

Jane Holgate said...

Sorry, I forgot to say it was in the Jewish Tribune, April 19th 2007 - before the consultation was completed - the article is titled 'Building extension victory for N16.

observer's friend said...

Ah, the inimitable Cllr Simon Tesler! In March 2006, amid a cloud of controversy and allegations of generous backhanders to those who voted through (or abstained) on the proposed development - four Hackney councillors decide to impose on Dalston a bus garage and towerblocks for private housing at Dalston Junction - and the destruction of a unique and historical theatre. Despite this being the biggest change to Dalston since the arrival of the railway in 1870, accountant and Council member Simon Tesler didn't bother to turn up to the meeting (citing a more pressing meeting - with a "private" client).

Delusions of grandeur? Cllr Simon Tesler claims he speaks on behalf of the entire Hackney multi faith majority members (including, presumably, the Quakers and Unitarians). He regards same sex civil partnerships as an abomination along with, I guess, the public stoning of women who dare to speak in public and the death sentence for those who wear buttons and fabrics of mixed fibres.

Cllr Simon Tesler is a fully paid up member of the Monster Raving Loony Party.