Developers have been forced to respond to pressure from locals opposed to the scheme to bring a large Sainsbury’s to Stoke Newington. A new exhibition is planned and, according to Stokey Local, it is likely that the plans will be scaled down.
The current proposals in Wilmer Place, at the junction of Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street, include 44 residential units, and housing association One Housing was said to have been in talks with the developers. However John Page, of campaign groups Stokey Local and the Hackney Unites coalition, reports that One Housing have now said they will not be involved in the project.
Developers Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s have so far declined campaigners’ calls to hold a public meeting, but have now agreed to show the plans again in public. A similar event was held in July. Details on when and where the second exhibition will be held are not yet available.
Stokey Local also report rumours that the plans for the Sainsburys store have been scaled down. The exhibition may reveal these changes.
Daniel Stevens, a councillor for the Lordship ward, said: “We welcome the developer’s commitment to hold a second public exhibition before submitting a formal planning application. In the absence of a public meeting it does at least offer some form of further engagement with the local community.”
A spokesperson for Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s said no planning application has been submitted at this stage, but Newmark and Sainsbury’s have taken a number of measures to gather residents’ views, including contacting elected representatives, community organisations, local businesses and others, distributing a newsletter to homes and businesses in the area, and setting up a website where the proposals can be viewed.
“Both Sainsbury’s and Newmark Properties LLP are committed to ongoing consultation with the local community and prior to submitting a planning application we will hold another public exhibition which we will invite local residents and business owners to,” they said in a statement.
A petition against the new store has gathered over 5,000 signatures. Local councillors in the wards affected have also expressed opposition, as has Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
In October Stokey Local staged a ‘zombie-a-thon’ protest against the proposals, when around 300 locals marched through the High Street and Church Street dressed as zombies.
Those opposed to the plans say the area already has several large chain stores, and another would drive out smaller local shops. They also cite concerns over inadequate transport provision and disruption of the Stoke Newington Conservation Area, which includes Wilmer Place.
Newmark Properties say the development will provide housing, boost employment and contribute to the regeneration of the area. It is claimed that the Sainsbury’s store will create 200 full and part-time jobs.