What’s going on with Navarino?

28 January 2015

GOOD NEWS JUST IN: Hackney Planning have refused the developers 2nd application! Massive relief, though we already know Pentonville will be appealing this decision, so more campaigning to come. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who spread the message and helped us get here today; and thumbs up to Hackney Council for taking our community concerns into account.

7 November 2014

Last week Pentonville Developments submitted a revised application.  Hardly anything has changed in the developer’s 3rd proposal – they now plan to keep a cluster of sycamores by the railway line and say it would be a car free development.  Also, they have reduced it by just 1 property; to 8 x 4 bed, 3 storey townhouses.  They may try to dress it up, but these plans are still all about concreting over a wild corner of the borough, one that has never been built on and provides vital sanctuary for all manner of birds, beasts and bugs.

A fuller update will arrive here soon, meanwhile the new online petition, number 3, can be found at following link. Please share amongst all your friends and networks too. We knew it could be a long fight…  now we need to protect the trees again.

Our petition asking Hackney Council to reject planning application 2014/3378

So what is going on with Navarino?

The local community of E8 are uniting to protest against a development proposal by Pentonville Developments (a division of Fairview New Homes.)

View Navarino Grove in a larger map

A secluded pocket of green land lying between Navarino Grove and the overground railway line, the plot contains an abundance of mature trees, including oak, ash, willow and sycamores – see lots more of it in our photo gallery here.

garden 6

It has never been built on (it is not a brownfield site as Pentonville are describing it) and provides a rare and precious habitat for local wildlife, in a part of Hackney defined as ‘lacking in green space’.  Approximately half the site lies in the Graham Rd & Mapledene conservation Zone, and also incorporates railway land planted with scrub and vegetation.

Pentonville’s latest plans (31 Oct 2014) are to build 8 x 4 bed townhouses, at a height of 3 storeys, which we feel is grossly inappropriate for a plot of this size and kind, and will have a detrimental effect on existing community, to the benefit of the developer’s bank balances.

Back in early 2013 nearby residents to the site were promised a consultation with the developers, where our voices would be heard and we could participate in the development process.  But on 21 May 2013, the day Pentonville took possession of the site, they bought in their workers armed with chainsaws and began to fell trees.  With the help of local councillors and fast action at Hackney Council, we were very fortunate to get an emergency TPO (Tree Preservation Order) in place, though not before a number were lost.  (Read the full story of that day as reported in Hackney Gazette)

We appealed to Hackney Council to make the TPO permanent, letting them know  how important the trees and wild space are to many local people.  We received support from far afield from people concerned about what could be lost so easily; the pictures of the land and trees speak for themselves.  In November 2013 the Council rejected Pentonville’s objections and made the TPO permanent.  They told us our collective response of support was the biggest they have ever received to a TPO.

Pentonville’s 2 initial planning applications were submitted in April 2014 – one car free and the other with parking for 11 vehicles on site.  By making 2 applications in one go the developer forced us to do twice as much work in opposing them- each application requiring separately tailored letters of objection.  Hackney Council rejected both applications outright; one of their key reasons for doing so being the amenity benefit the trees bring to the community.

Now an amended application has been submitted by the developer (Nov 2014) and the fight to defend the trees and this valuable wild patch continues.