The Anonymous Widower

Draft Hackney Central And Surrounds Masterplan

Last week, I went to a consultation about the Draft Hackney Central And Surrounds Masterplan in the Narrow Way by HackneyCentral station.

If you want to see the full version of the masterplan it is available at www.hackney.gov.uk/spd.

About Myself

As this article will be sent to the Council Planning Department, I’ll say a little bit about myself.

  • Widowed, in my seventieth year and living alone.
  • I’m coeliac, which I inherited from my father.
  • I always describe my politics as left-wing Tory and very radical.
  • As someone, who has helped create two high class technology businesses sold for millions of pounds, I’m very entrepreneurial.
  • My father and three of my grandparents were all born within the triangle based on the Angel, Dalston Junction and Highbury Corner.
  • My father was the least racist person, I’ve ever met. I hope his attitude has rubbed off on me!
  • My two grandfathers were of part-Jewish and part-Huguenot ancestry respectively.
  • As my two grandmothers families came from Northants and Devon, I usually describe myself as a London mongrel.
  • My late wife and myself partly brought our three sons up in the Barbican.
  • My middle son talks of that time in a tower block with affection, so I’m not against well-designed tower blocks.

After a stroke, left me unable to drive, I returned to my roots.

My Views On The Masterplan

I like lots of things about it. And especially these!

  • The prominence given to new workspace, shops and the creation of jobs.
  • The creation of new housing, where I’m only against bad tower blocks.
  • The opening up of the railway viaduct, so it becomes a feature. Network Rail get a lot of stick, but they know how to look after railway brickwork.
  • The creation of a public square at the bottom of the Narrow Way.
  • The creation of more pedestrian streets.
  • Better use of the bus garage site.
  • Improvement of Bohemia Place.

It wouldn’t be me, to not put in my own wish list.

The Overground

Truth be told, I don’t think Transport for London, thought the Overground would be the success, it has turned out to be. So the designers did the minimum they felt they could get away with and would satisfy their political masters!

But the London Overground’s success has been repeated in places like the Borders Railway, Electrification in Liverpool, new stations in Leeds and the Todmorden Curve, and it is now proven in the UK, that if you give the population a good train service, they’ll use it.

Now that the walkway has connected Hackney Central and Hackney Downs stations and other improvements to the complex are in the pipeline, I think that serious consideration should be given to creating a second entrance to Hackney Central from Graham Road.

Failing that, pedestrian routes should be improved, so that access to the cluster of buildings around the Town Hall and the Empire is easier.

Hackney Central As A Meeting Point

Once the public square is created at the bottom of the Narrow Way, use of the area as a meeting point should be encouraged.

Consider.

  • Hackney Central is where two rail lines cross.
  • The London Overground through Hackney Downs gets new trains in 2018.
  • There are several bus routes passing through the area.
  • Bohemia Place and the railway arches must have potential for specialist shops and cafe/restaurants like Leon.
  • Leon was started by a Hackney resident.

Who said it’s all about location?

Learning From Other Cities And Towns

I travel extensively, in the UK and Europe and see both good and bad examples of how to develop cities and towns.

Recently, I went to Blackburn and I was totally surprised at the transformation since I last visited a few years ago.

A Landscaped square had been created between the station and the cathedral.The square is surrounded by a PremierInn, a new office block, a small bus station on one side and a pedestrian way to a supermarket on the other.

Hackney could do similar or even better.

Sculpture

My uncle was a very good sculptor and I feel it is a crime that works of art like large bronzes are kept in store because security and insurance is a problem.

However, there are places where they could be placed with little fear of theft or damage. And that is at carefully selected locations on the platforms of railway stations.

So why not?

Hackney Downs certainly has space for one, but the platforms at Central are too narrow!

Information

When I was on holiday in Iceland, every building with a historic connection, had full information displayed outside.

Is Hackney’s information up to scratch?

Other Thoughts

This is a series of pictures with comments.

Conclusions

Hackney Central has some interesting buildings on which to develop the area. Unfortunately, there is some bad examples of boring architecture.

Some sites definitely have potential.

  • Could the top floors of the Iceland building, be converted into a Southern station entrance, with perhaps a cafe and a couple of shops that travellers like?
  • Bohemia Place could be a nice oasis with cafes, workshops and individual shops, a bit like the Box Park at Shoreditch High Street station.
  • Bohemia Place will be better, when the arches under the railway are opened up.
  • The right architect could do a fine job on the M & S Building.
  • The car park at Hackney Central station might be much better as a bus interchange.

In my view the key is Bohemia Place, as this could be a magnet for people of all ages, races and classes to come and shop and refresh themselves.

 

 

 

 

October 25, 2016 - Posted by | World | , ,

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