Wallace Road - Hackney Wick
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Newsletter No 2 March 2015

Wallace Road - Hackney Wick

Printed version of Tom Ridge's address to the LLDC Planning Committee  24 March 2015 Agenda Item 6 (14/00387/FUL)
Local historian objecting on behalf of the East End Waterway Group to the demolition of the two industrial buildings at 80-84 Wallis Road.

Both identified as buildings of townscape merit in the LLDC's Hackney Wick Conservation Area Appraisal (January 2014).  Such buildings can be demolished and replaced.  Consequently, the May 2013 letter (5.1) accepted demolition and replacement.

And in November 2014, the two buildings were ignored in the Quality Review Panel's report (7.4) and the GLA's report (7.8). 

However, the final version of the Appraisal was published in November 2014 and the two industrial buildings are now identified as non-designated heritage assets: same as all the other buildings which had previously been described as "locally listed", such as Central Books.  So, like all the other NDHA's in the conservation area, the two industrial buildings at 80-84 Wallis Road are:

"significant due to the architectural and historic interest, and every effort should be made to preserve or enhance them", as they contribute positively to the character and appearance of the conservation area" (p. 21 not p. 15 as stated in the EEWG letter).

Clearly, this is a material consideration in the determination of this application.  But the two buildings are not referred to in Hackney's report 14 January 2015 (7.11) nor in the GLA's comments 25 February 2015 (7.9).  

However, the GLA's Heritage Advisor chooses to contradict the final version of the appraisal: describing the building's contribution to the conservation area as "neutral" rather than "positive"; and stating that the quality of the replacement buildings will preserve and enhance the conservation area (7.10). 

The LLDC's Local Plan, which has just been examined in public, is also a material consideration.  Figure 30 includes the two heritage assets at 80-84 Wallis Road; and as buildings of heritage value they should be restored and reused for employment uses, under Policy 1.1.3.  

There is no justification for the demolition of the two non-designated heritage assets.  They are rare industrial buildings in the heart of the conservation area and their loss (together with the fact that Central Books would no longer be the tallest building in its part of the conservation area) would cause substantial harm to the conservation area; and this substantial harm would not be outweighed by six- or seven-storey buildings, one of which would have a zig-zag roof and a bit of metal cladding to look like an industrial building.

English Heritage in its October 2014 letter only referred to "harm" not "substantial harm" because it was not aware that the buildings of townscape merit had been upgraded to non-designated heritage assets.  And, although they referred to the buildings as "marginal in their individual significance" they stated that the north-lit sheds were of a type which is "increasingly rare nationally". 

With reference to 8.5.7, EEWG in its December 2014 letter clearly described the harm as "substantial" and did not describe the buildings as only of marginal significance.
For all these reasons we disagree with many of the points made in the Conservation and Heritage section of the report; and note that whilst the buildings are correctly referred to as non-designated heritage assets (8.55) they are also "considered to be of localised townscape merit" (8.60) so that they can be demolished and replaced.  Whereas according to the LLDC's own November 2014 Hackney Wick Conservation Area Appraisal and its emerging Local Plan, the two industrial buildings should be restored and reused for employment uses like all the other non-designated heritage assets and not omitted from the Masterplan (8.65). 

At least three members expressed concerns about the future of the Hackney Wick Conservation Area and two of these members referred specifically to the differences between the report and the adress on behalf of EEWG.

Affordable housing and workspace were also big issues and the Committee eventually agreed to defer for a site visit and a further report from the case officer clarifying issues, such as the differences referred to.

We understand that the site visit will probably take place on the day of the next committee meeting, 28 April 2015.
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© Tony Giles | Click image to see large version
The front range in the western part of 80-84 Wallis Road: two-storey 1960s industrial building with recessed 'shop front', with entrance to yard on left and two-storey former Carless Institute on right. The front range is a non-designated heritage asset in the LLDC's Hackney Wick Conservation Area.

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© Tony Giles | Click image to see large version
View south-west to Olympic Stadium, over four north-lit sheds in eastern part of 80-84 Wallis Road: eastern sections probably post-1916 and western sections post-1948.  Most surviving north-lit sheds in London were built in the 20th century.  
"This once ubiquitous building type is increasingly rare nationally" (EH letter 23 Oct 2014)
Omitted from Case Officer's otherwise excellent summary at 7.13 in 24 March report to Planning Decisions Committee

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© Tony Giles | Click image to see large version
Elevation of north-lit shed on Wallis Road: twelve bays with shallow segmental window arches between brick piers; pressed-steel window frames with central opening lights.  All four north-lit sheds constitute a non-designated heritage asset in the LLDC's Hackney Wick Conservation Area.

See more pictures here in February 8 Newsletter

Tom Ridge
new eewg logo East End Waterway Group
Local residents, schools, community groups, amenity societies and businesses working with the Canal & River Trust, Tower Hamlets Council and others for the protection and beneficial use of the six mile waterway ‘ring’, its historic buildings, structures and habitats.
Copyright © 2015 EAST END WATERWAY GROUP, All rights reserved.

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