Tesco Express in Kingsland High Street will be demolished to make way for a 120-room hotel, despite fears by residents and councillors of a boost in anti-social behaviour.
Plans for the six-storey hotel with a ground floor café opposite the Rio Cinema in Dalston were approved last night (7 February) by Hackney Council’s Planning Sub-Committee.
Council planning officer Stuart Hammond has said the hotel will “provide an uplift in retail floorspace and will add to the vibrancy and vitality of the town centre”.
Yet council planning documents reveal the extent of opposition by the local community.
Forty-four out of 60 responses to a public consultation last October opposed the plans, with residents complaining about its size, impact on noise and pollution, the loss of the supermarket, and its lack of benefit to the community.
The Rio Cross Residents Association, writing in to the consultation, said a 120-room hotel would “increase the appeal of Dalston as a destination for stag or hen weekends” and “draw revellers at the end of a night to one of the very locations within Dalston that is most sensitive to disturbance”.
They add: “The applicant claims that benefits arise from the hotel use, as it allows ‘the Rio Cinema to be appreciated by a greater number of people’.
“If footfall is of prime importance, it is likely that the existing Tesco store would be retained.”
The group was backed up by Dalston councillor Soraya Adejare, Speaker of Hackney, who said the hotel could lead to Shoreditch levels of anti-social behaviour in the area, which is surrounded by residential streets.
“It is clear that the proposals bring no enhancements to the locality and will, in effect add to the long standing problems with anti-social behaviour”, she wrote.
“Dalston is at a stage where it is now not far behind Shoreditch and this proposal will drag it further along this route.”
Dalston councillor Peter Snell also wrote in, opposing the hotel’s impact on the Central Dalston Conservation Area, saying: “I totally oppose the additional height proposed in the latest application and think the council should only approve an application of similar height to adjacent buildings and terraces.”
In his recommendation, planning officer Stuart Hammond wrote: “In response to concerns about the potential impact of the proposed development on nuisance and exacerbating nuisance from night time economy activities the opening hours of the retail element will be controlled to reflect the existing.”
The planning report says the hotel’s ground floor café and kitchen will be open from 7am to midnight, the same hours as Tesco Express.
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