Wednesday, 26 November 2014

My response to Hackney winning the right to demolish Dalston Lane

(This is a copy of what I sent in to Hackney Citizen when they asked me to write something short for them.)

I wonder how it is that elected representatives can think they are doing a good job on behalf of the people, when they spend years neglecting fine historical buildings, longstanding tenancies and then spend thousands of pounds in court to justify demolishing the buildings with the argument that it was their neglect that made it necessary! And it's not as if tenants and concerned people didn't warn them and plead them and come with alternative ways of safeguarding Dalston Lane - going back over decades. To my own personal knowledge, I know that longstanding tenants, like the Austrian baker at the Star Bakery and newer tenants in the supermarket - and others - pleaded with Hackney to be able to renovate their shops but all Hackney could do was talk big about 'strings of investors' who would come in and bulldoze the lot and put up buy-to-rent blocks with chain stores down below. They were refused permission and packed their bags. 

What we need all over London are local authorities who are prepared to build communities from the bottom up, supporting tenants and freeholders who want to do up the places they live and work in, supporting the longstanding networks of family and friendships, supporting housing for need. It shouldn't be the job of a local authority to smash up the spaces we live and work in simply because it suits big corporate developers.