A row of Georgian houses in Dalston is to be replaced with “bogus replicas”, after a campaign group lost their high court battle on Monday.
Murphy’s scheme involves the erection of 44 new homes, dubbed “unaffordable” by campaigners, and 1000 square metres of retail space.
Founder of OPEN Dalston, Bill Parry-Davies, told EastLondonLines: “Despite its claims to be champions of our heritage, Hackney [council] is in fact destroying it in favour of bogus replicas. For years it has stood idly by and watched our Georgian houses and local businesses being destroyed and families being driven from the area.”
The council had a long-standing conversion plan, which did not involve total demolition of the buildings, according to OPEN. This was overridden when Murphy’s design team advised that complete demolition was necessary due to the condition of the houses.
Building preservation charity The Spitalfields Trust offered to buy out the Murphy contract and “faithfully restore” the surviving 1807 houses for private sale. Their plans also included working with a housing association to provide 27 “affordable” flats for social rent.
OPEN claim that Hackney Council continually refused requests to meet with the trust.
The activists challenged the council’s decisions in court on November 24, arguing that conservation-led schemes were not properly considered before permission for total demolition was granted, but they were unsuccessful.
High Court Judge, Mr Justice Collins ruled: “It is inevitable that I cannot conclude that there has been an error of law.”
Parry-Davies said: “Hackney [Council] failed to consult and, I fear, has missed the opportunity offered by Spitalfields Trust to save the houses, preserve local character and provide affordable housing. OPEN has lost a court case but it is Hackney’s citizens and future generations who have ultimately lost out and sadly that is irreversible.”
OPEN now has 21 days to appeal this result. The group said that this course is “under consideration”.
OPEN Dalston tweeted: “DONT PANIC. It’s not necessarily over. Legal team will need to sit down and reflect on the options over the coming days. Stay tuned.”
BUT DONT PANIC. It’s not necessarily over. Legal team will need to sit down and reflect on the options over the coming days. Stay tuned. [NP
— Save Dalston Lane (@SaveDalstonLane) November 24, 2014
A Hackney Council spokesperson said: “[The Murphy development] is a step forward to finally bring back into use this part of Dalston Lane, to provide space for existing and new businesses, as well as for new homes.”
The council said they could not comment on details of the deal with Murphy Homes due to “commercial sensitivity”.
Murphy Homes failed to respond to requests for comment.