Building a fairer Dalston – new plans respond to record engagement

Dedicated planning rules and investment in Ridley Road Market will shape the future of Dalston in response to concerns raised by thousands of residents in Hackney Council’s biggest ever local engagement exercise. 

The Council will publish new guidance on the type of developments that can be built in the area – protecting green spaces, supporting existing businesses and market traders, and reducing the dominance of motor vehicles. 

Further consultation on the new guidance – including other new initiatives based directly on resident feedback – has begun, with a final Dalston Plan to be considered by the Council’s Cabinet next year.

A record 5,000 people took part in the Dalston Conversation, which was launched in September 2018 to ensure residents’ ambitions were at the heart of the Council’s work in the rapidly changing area. 

Among the key issues raised by residents, businesses and visitors were: 

  • Ensuring existing traders are supported at Ridley Road Market

  • The need to protect popular places such as CLR James Library and the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden

  • Better walking and cycling routes and public transport

  • Tackling anti-social behaviour and littering, especially in Gillett Square

  • Giving every part of the community a voice in its future

Over 4,000 people visited the Dalston Conversation website, with hundreds more attending dozens of workshops, focus groups, community events and pop-up stalls.

The Council immediately responded to concerns about anti-social behaviour – improving CCTV in Gillett Square, increasing street cleaning and working with the Metropolitan Police on more drugs and weapons searches.

Dalston’s population has continued to increase since 2014, and the prospect of Crossrail 2 – a proposed high-speed train line that would link the town centre directly to north, central and south-west London – means developers and landowners are likely to want to build more tall buildings in the area. New homes and jobs are also predicted to be provided in the borough’s town centres in the Council's draft Local Plan.

While some of these changes will be out of the Council’s control, it wants to make sure it is using every tool at its disposal to maximise the benefits of growth for local residents and achieve the objectives of Dalston’s communities – whether that’s having a say in what the town centre looks like in the future and what kind of buildings can be built, improving public spaces, or ensuring everyone has access to new workspace or job opportunities.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney
Dalston is a huge part of what makes Hackney special, but it’s changing. I’ve been clear it’s our mission to ensure that the ambitions of local people and businesses are at the heart of our work to protect what they love and improve what they don’t.

The response to this unprecedented open and honest conversation with – and about – Dalston was huge, and we’ve carefully listened to what people from all backgrounds have told us. 
We’re now getting to work to put those ambitions into action, and today’s announcements will help make Hackney fairer – ensuring new developments and investment bring real benefits for everyone who lives, visits or works here.

Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Traders at Ridley Road Market will also benefit from new stalls, handheld card machines and free wifi as part of a £1.5million investment by Hackney Council and the Mayor of London to help them compete in a changing high street. Consultation with stallholders, local businesses and residents on what revamped public spaces in the market could look like will start in the next few weeks, with dedicated workshops and public drop-in events.

You can share your views on the Dalston Plan here