Hackney will be left to the mercy of the property developers: Pickles proposals will tear the creative heart out of Hackney, warns Mayor
Hackney Council has today warned of consequences that will threaten the borough’s fragile creative commercial districts, leading to a free-for-all for luxury housing developers and the loss of up to 40,000 jobs if a change in planning regulation, lead by Secretary of State Eric Pickles, is granted following a recent consultation.
The Council is now calling on over 3000 local business leaders to get behind a new petition, launched this week, to fight the DCLG planning proposals, urging start-up and established businesses to get involved with the consultation online (open until 11:45pm on Friday), sign a petition and voice their support against the policy by tweeting #savehackneybusiness.
The Department for Communities and Local Government have once again outlined plans, under question 2.5 of the technical consultation, that will give greater powers to developers to change commercial properties, such as office space (called a B1(a)) into residential (called C3) without the Council or businesses being consulted fully about planning proposals. This will prevent the Council from opposing any commercial to residential development in key commercial areas such as Shoreditch, Dalston, Hackney Wick, Haggerston and Hackney Central.
This latest DCLG technical consultation on planning follows a hard-fought and successful campaign in May last year where, with the support of the business community and MPs, Hackney was one of only 17 local authorities, that included 11 London boroughs such as Islington, who were granted exemptions from the same planning laws. Being granted an exemption from the policy helped to save key parts of Hackney’s employment areas, such as Tech City and wider creative clusters, from an increase in high-end and unaffordable housing after being considered by Government as areas of ‘National Significance’.
This is now the second time that the DCLG have floated these detrimental planning laws that will have serious and long-term impacts on the capitals cluster of technology and creative businesses that are establishing themselves here in Hackney. If this change in policy were to go ahead, commercial properties will be left to the mercy of developers who will convert them into unaffordable residential spaces that will not help to house local people. They will be creating luxury homes for millionaires while depriving Hackney people of much needed local jobs. This will also prevent new businesses from purchasing commercial space in a volatile market and forcing many other businesses to relocate, transforming some of the capitals key, globally-known centres of technology start-ups into areas devoid of employment and investment opportunities. I am asking the business community from across Hackney to get involved in the consultation and get behind the petition, challenging this policy and forcing the Government to reconsider implementing these proposals that will tear the creative heart out of Hackney.