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Petiton against develpment 2013/2945, Morris House, 130 Kingsland High Street Hackney London E8 2NS / Tescos site

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This petition is against a planning application which will adversely affect residents and businesses in Dalston. 

Application No: 2013/2945

Morris House 130 Kingsland High Street Hackney London E8 2NS (Tescos site)

Development: Erection of a part 4-storey, part 5-storey building providing retail use on ground floor and offices on upper floors, with associated car parking, cycle parking and waste storage. (Outline planning application with all matters reserved).

You can see all the details on the planning section of the Hackney council website. This is a huge proposal with no architectural merit that will dominate the junction of Kingsland high street, Sandringham road, and John Campbell Road.

The plans can be accessed by going to the following link

and typing in the planning reference  

Written objections are the most effective method, they can be sent to

See below for an objection drafted by a planning advisor, which serves as useful reference

Application 2013/2945, 130 Kingsland High Street, Hackney

This is now the seventh application since 2011, all of them purport to be a response to previous refusals though in reality it is just the same proposal repackaged. This time the applicants appear to have gone backwards. Their response to a refusal on grounds of excessive size and height and a poor design is to have made the building bigger than ever, taller and even more poorly designed.

The first point to make is that the submitted plans are, as before, riddled with inaccuracies and appear to be a ‘cut and paste’ job of recent schemes merged with the building designed and submitted in 1990 – which is presumably why it appears so dated. The drawings, as before, have the appearance of a less than successful school project suggesting a level of contempt for those living locally who have a  regard for the future of the site. It is very worrying that the architects/applicants can’t even be bothered to change their plans properly and it speaks volumes for the quality of their submission.

The approach this time appears to be to ignore all of the lessons from recent submissions and go back to a consent apparently granted (though I am unable to verify this) in 1990. The assumption presumably is that if it was acceptable then then it should be acceptable now. This is however an ill-informed assumption which appears to disregard 23 years’ worth of policy development and design guidance improvement. Moreover, claims about this 1990 consent should be handled with some scepticism, the Planning Statement refers to a “draft approval” in 2003 (2001/1198). There is no such thing as a draft approval. The application was withdrawn.

The Inspector who dismissed the appeal last year stated that “It is the height of the respective buildings that is important rather than the number of storeys. The proposal would be a similar height to the listed Cinema. However, even in views where the apartments at fifth floor could not be seen, the illustrative drawings indicate that the proposed building would appear significantly higher, some 2.1-2.5 metres, than its neighbours to the north and south”. The current proposal is bigger and taller than this previously dismissed appeal proposal and its overall impact far worse than a proposal proved to be unacceptable.

The indicative elevations present a daunting and frightening prospect for those who live and work in the adjacent streets. Not only is the design hopelessly dated but the sheer size of the building is preposterous and completely out of scale with surrounding buildings. The Sandringham Road elevation in particular shows an enormous building with a dead frontage which will dominate the whole area and make the pavement outside it a very unpleasant place to be.

The applicants will tell you that this is an outline application and that the elevations will form part of the reserved matters submissions but you still have to be content that their proposals will work in a practical sense and they plainly do not. They chose to adopt the 1990 approved design thinking, presumably, that it was the right approach. This is plainly misjudged.

The sheer bulk and mass of built form will dominate and detract from the setting of the Listed Cinema on the opposite corner. The notion of a landmark building as alluded to in the Design and Access Statement may have some merit but it doesn’t follow that a landmark building has to be so brutal and monolithic. The proposal will tower above adjacent building making the surrounding public realm feel tight and claustrophobic.

This important and prominent site needs, above all else, some good quality architecture and a brief not driven solely by maximising return. The applicants very clear desire to save money on their submissions has backfired and I hope that it will continue to do so.

In light of the above objections whilst there might be broad policy support for the redevelopment of the site in principle, there remains a critical need to respect detailed policies which are designed to ensure the delivery of good quality development in the interests of all. In that regard, the Hackney Core Strategy Development Plan Document at Policy 24, Design states that: “All development should seek to enrich and enhance Hackney’s built environment and create a sense of place and local distinctiveness that is attractive and accessible” The means by which that is to be achieved include [inter alia] “adopting a rigorous design and impact approach to assessing the heights and bulk of buildings in relation to existing surroundings and views, which may involve a detailed local area analysis.” and “identifying with and respecting the architectural, historic quality and character of the surrounding environment.” The application plainly fails to meet these requirements.

There are clearly sound planning reasons for refusing permission and I respectfully request that the Council does so.

If you need any more information on this issue I can be contacted at

If you are interested in joining the Rio Cross residents association please go to

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