The 4 Aces club in Dalston had been temporarily saved from demolition. Grassroots local group OPEN issued proceedings on 13 December 2005, challenging the Council’s decision to proceed with demolition of the buildings without making a full planning application.
On Monday this week a High Court Judge found in favour of OPEN in its claim that Hackney Councilmade an unlawful attempt to demolish the historic buildings without public consultation.
This forced the Council to apply for total demolition before a Planning Sub-Committee. Despite an overwhelming number of local objections to the proposals, on 6 February the Planning Sub-Committee voted to demolish the buildings.
Bill Parry-Davies, chairman of OPEN cautioned that the buildings remain highly vulnerable to Council demolition.
“The Council did not deny in Court, that at a meeting in late September 2005 its Property Manager, Head of Planning and Hackney’s Mayor agreed to demolish without further consultation with either the public or elected members”
said Mr. Parry-Davies, adding “The Council’s contempt of legal and democratic processes is quite breathtaking. Our campaign continues.”
Since Sunday 19 February the buildings have been occupied by people attempting to prevent their demolition.
Formerly Dalston Theatre, which housed a circus and even elephants in Victorian times the building became a cinema in the 20’s and then a nightclub in the 60’s when it played host to a variety of international reggae stars throughout the 70’s and early 80’s.
At the end of the decade the club changed direction and picked up on the emerging rave movement, playing host to the now legendary ‘Club Labyrinth’ events.
Throughout all of this it was managed by old hand on the club scene Newton who remained running the venue till its final closure in January 1999.
The 4 Aces was an invaluable resource on the free/underground party scene throughout the 90’s, always ready to offer new promotors a chance to experiment with diverse styles of dance music. Tribe of Munt, Tectonic and chimaera are just some of the many crews that cut their teeth there in the late 90’s.
It formed part of a network of underground venues in Dalston, along with Tyssen Street, Roseberry’s and Trenz creating a grimy techno vilage which will be fondly remembered by many. All of these venues have now closed.
The club was initially scheduled for demolition to make way for a new road scheme (a move that also saw the closure of Roseberry’s), however this scheme never materialised and it was lain abandoned for five years until last month, bar the odd sqatter and odder squat party.
Campaigners have called for the space to be returned to the community, with plans of a social centre possibly afoot, the void would call for the 4 Aces to re-open as it was, a champion of underground music, and a cutting edge music venue. This would make a fine compensation to local musicians for the expensive and farcical mess that was the Hackney Ocean.
Meanwhile as reported below, 34 Broadway Market was evicted yesterday, but activists have pledged to fight on … watch this space.