Why destroy Gillett Square’s fragile ecosystem when it can be nurtured and improved?
May 2, 2018 — This objection is not about blocking developments on Gillett Square, it is about developing the square harmoniously and intelligently, with a sensible understanding of how it works, as a conversation between its different parts: a thoughtful, caring and carefully crafted development, not a brutal parachute scheme with no understanding of the local ecosystem.
There needs to be a sensible open conversation about alternatives so as to develop a positive sustainable vision. This development needs to be stopped in its current form. Here is a detailed article explaining the proposed development and including a sensible alternative proposal. http://opendalston.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/gillett-square-plans-co-operative.html
Gillett Square does need improving, but it has to be developed responsibly, with a common vision, crafted in coordination with the public, private and voluntary sectors.
Why the proposed HCD scheme needs to change / a few points to consider:
1. The current plans submitted by HCD have many avoidable negative impacts (significant loss of business, expensive, risky). The stated benefits (increasing affordable workspace) could be achieved by a much simpler, cheaper and less disruptive development.
2. The existing iconic and highly successful market pods (which were 100% public funded at a cost of £250,000 of tax payer’s money), as well as the exterior walkways, are key to Gillett Square as they enable small businesses to be directly part of the life of the square. If HCD’s current proposal goes through, they will be buried under corporate glass and plastic cladding. Gillett Square would lose this very successful and distinctive active frontage as well as its connection to the building.
3. Market pod traders have been told they will be trading from containers in the middle of the square during the proposed building works. They will however have no clients to trade with as the square will be a noisy and dusty building site, empty of users and surrounding businesses for at least 12 months. It will be very difficult for them to survive the scheme.
4. Many businesses in the buildings surrounding Gillett Square will suffer loss of business and be affected by the lengthy and unnecessary proposed development.
5. HCD tenants are unable to voice their concerns about the development for fear of their tenancies not being renewed.
6. The public funding and consultation process has been obscure, especially as HCD is a Community Interest Company. HCD refuses to publish its figures and the viability of the proposed development plan, the failure of which could see the South side of the square sold on the open market. A "public" consultation (invite only) was carried out at the end of last year. The proposed plan was badly received. Complaints and objections have not been addressed.
7. The aesthetics of the scheme do not fit with Gillett Square or Bradbury Street (as assessed by Dalston Conservation Area Committee), and will reduce sunlight by 18%.
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