More about Beecholme

Beecholme is also the first postwar "mixed development" housing scheme in Hackney, with a mixture of houses and flats with the taller block having five storeys and containing one-bedroom and bedsit accommodation. It is featured in Volume 15 of Hackney History and was the site of Beecholme House, the family home of Maj. John André (d. 1780), who was executed as a British spy in the American War of Independence.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Tram Depot decision sticks 2 fingers up at local residents

Updated 4th July

Tuesday 29th June
Planning app 2009/2490 with 90 flats, up to 7 storeys and office space was approved tonight by a narrow majority

The planning sub-committee of Hackney Council by a narrow majority this evening stuck two fingers up at over a thousand local residents, its own local ward councillors, the Hackney Society and everyone else who objected to the super-dense and destructive development.

There was no "we understand your position but our priorities are such and such"  only "no you can't speak" and "this is a meeting in public, not a public meeting" Objectors didn't have time to voice all their concerns, let alone challenge anything from the other side.

 PHOTO: Protesters on the steps of the Hackney Town Hall before the meeting


The committee's majority decision (4/3) means 4 members thought that the loss of a locally unique employment space, with big studios, very high ceilings and skylights, all completely filled with businesses and artists didn't matter.

The fact that this development is the densest new development in Hackney at 580 hrh (habitable rooms per hectare) with tiny flats and no gardens didn't matter.

The fact that similar office space and flats at Lathams (≈450hrh) across the park have remained vacant since built and the current Depot is full with a waiting list didn't matter.

The fact that English Heritage have acknowledged the Depot as historically locally significant as does the Hackney Society didn't matter either.

The fact that everyone from the Hackney Society to Ken Worpole to local TRAs and residents said it is part of our working heritage, culturally binding us together as a community, giving people a feeling of belonging with a sense of place didn't matter.

The fact that there are only two local primary schools and they are full so parents at Lathams have to send their kids to Waltham Forest didn't matter

The fact that there is no youth provision locally and this development will inevitable mean more disaffected and bored youth on the streets didn't matter

The fact that the depot should soon be a PEA (priority employment area) in the new Core Strategy but the development reduces employment space and treats flats as a priority didn't matter.

The fact that successful local businesses will go to the wall didn't matter.

The fact that housing targets have already been met didn't matter.

(there's lots more but you get the idea) 

You may ask "what did matter?"

The only thing I can come up with is money.
Who is getting what?


Disregard lack of services
  Forget lack of youth provision
 Quality of life meaningless
 Heritage unimportant
 Art & artists ignored
 Established local businesses forgotten

Good job Hackney council!


The added irony is that only now has the Beecholme estate been proposed for inclusion a new conservation area. If the estate alone was so protected, the depot could not be developed.
Beecholme was built by Sir Frederick Gibberd, one of Britain's most respected architects, is the first mixed estate with houses and flats in Hackney and is featured in Volume 15 of "Hackney History".
The vistas over the park and the squares make Beecholme one of the best of these early estates, as Gibberd intended.

Having a 7 storey block of offices and flats in the most dense development in hackney next door (with 585 hrh, over 3+1/2 times previously recommended density) rather than an historic building would not be allowed if Beecholme was "conserved".

...and I should point out that councillors
Linda Kelly, Ian Rathbone and Deniz Oguzkanli
have fought against the development from the start


planning sub-committee members cllrs
Linda Smith, Michael Desmond and Susan Fajana-Thomas
voted to reject the planning application.

Well done for sticking to your principles and actually listening to and fighting for your constituents instead of just rubber-stamping planning applications.

Thank you - we won't forget.

You need not completely despair just yet.....

Watch this space.

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