A fair recovery for Dalston – have your say on new town centre plan as design plans for £1 million Ridley Road upgrade revealed

Dalston residents, businesses and community groups are being encouraged to have their say on new guidelines to protect the town centre’s unique character, as investment plans to secure the future of Ridley Road are revealed.

New street trees, free public wifi and cashless payment machines for market traders are among the planned improvements for the much-loved Ridley Road market, as a result of a £1.5 million joint-investment between Hackney Council and the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund. Proposals for the street market and improvements in nearby Ashwin Street have been designed in collaboration with the market’s traders over the last year, to help create a greener, safer and more accessible market for residents, local businesses, shoppers and visitors. 

As part of ambitions to ensure a fair recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic, Hackney Council has also launched a consultation on the new draft Dalston Plan, recently approved by the Council’s Cabinet, which sets out wider proposals for the town centre.

The draft Dalston Plan is the culmination of over three years of collaboration between the Council and the local community, which started with the Dalston Conversation – an engagement exercise with input from more than 5,000 people. 

The plan formally sets out how development in the area will be managed to protect and enhance what local residents and businesses value most about Dalston, from the unique shopping offer to the thriving cultural and night time economies and much-loved local institutions such as Ridley Road Market and the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.

It also establishes how changes that are needed to accommodate new homes and workspaces can be delivered in line with the priorities set by the community and the Council’s commitment to ensure a fair recovery from the pandemic, in which local residents and businesses are the first to benefit. Site proposals for the town centre set out a clear delivery plan on how and when developments will happen.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
Dalston has undergone big changes in recent years, yet Ridley Road street market has acted as an important anchor with its continuity that reassures many of us and helps give Dalston town centre its cultural and economic identity.

But our commitment to protecting Ridley Road street market does not mean standing still – it means investing in its future, enhancing what makes it so special and equipping traders so they can maintain their businesses and continue to provide a vital service to the community as we reopen following the coronavirus crisis.

These proposals represent an important first step in delivering the draft Dalston Plan and demonstrate how the Council is committed to act on the feedback of local residents and businesses to create a greener, safer and more sustainable town centre and work for a fair recovery for Dalston.
Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Housing Regeneration, Planning, Culture and Inclusive Economy
For many years, we have noticed that Ridley Road needs investment. Cashless machines will be very helpful, especially during the pandemic, which unfortunately is not yet over.

As a trader, if I see a better, cleaner and safer market, it will make a better place and I am sure all the visitors and residents to Ridley Road will feel the same way.
Hemin Qaladze, who has been trading at Ridley Road market for 15 years

What’s happening in Dalston

Ridley Road Market

The final plans developed by the Council alongside traders, residents and market users include:

  • Improved facilities for traders, including contactless payment machines, new look gazebos and larger pitches – helping them attract more customers
  • Better public spaces throughout the market – with new trees, planting, greenery and places to sit
  • New dedicated character areas – including a hot food stall zone and market garden area with trees and seating
  • Changes to the market’s layout – to help make the busy market safer and more accessible, and to encourage visitors to make use of its full length

Work is expected to begin in September and be completed in 2022. 

View and comment on the final proposals

Ashwin Street

The plans will be complemented by improvements to public spaces on Ashwin Street, which is home to some of Dalston’s iconic destinations including Cafe Oto and the Arcola Theatre. The street will see new signage, street trees, planters and paving to help build on its reputation as a focal point for Dalston’s creative and cultural organisations while making it greener, more accessible and more pedestrian and cycle-friendly.

Work is expected to begin in the coming months and be completed in early 2022. 

View and comment on the final proposals

The Dalston Plan

Ambitions for the Dalston Plan will be achieved through the provision of detailed area-specific planning policy guidance.

Some of the key elements of the draft Dalston Plan include:

  • Safeguarding the long-term future of Ridley Road Market by improving public spaces along the market, and ensuring any new development on adjacent sites incorporates new shops and doesn’t result in the loss of market pitches
  • Protecting the long-term future of Dalston Eastern Curve Garden and ensuring that any new development close by doesn’t impact its privacy and sunlight
  • Provide development and design guidance on 10 Council and privately-owned sites, including the redevelopment of Kingsland Shopping Centre to deliver over 600 new genuinely affordable homes, 700sq m of additional community space and 14,000 sqm of commercial and workspace (including retail and office space) by 2033
  • Providing guidance on increasing sustainable transport, especially walking and cycling routes in the town centre
  • Protecting Dalston’s buildings of local heritage and significant importance
  • Supporting new and existing art, culture, evening and night-time venues in the town centre

The plan will build on other improvements already being delivered in Dalston, informed by feedback from the Dalston Conversation and the Towards A Dalston Plan engagement including the Ridley Road market and Ashwin Street investment, tackling antisocial behaviour at Gillett Square, and proposals to create Hackney’s first 21st Century Street in Colvestone Crescent.

View and comment on the proposals