The controversial plan to build a new Sainsbury’s at Wilmer’s Place, Stoke Newington, was approved again yesterday by Hackney council.
Last night, the planning sub-committee heard speeches from the developers, anti-development group Stokey Local and council advisers on the feasibility of the plan, before voting four to one in favour of the development.
Over one hundred supporters of Stokey Local – dressed in Christmas hats – also attended the meeting.
Representatives from the developers, Newmark Properties, said the development would increase choice for local people, create jobs and cause less than substantial harm to the heritage and ecology of the area.
However, Nick Perry of Stokey Local disagreed and called the plan “the most unwanted and controversial scheme there has been in Stoke Newington for a generation.”
After the decision, Perry said: “It was not the result we want, but it was somewhat predictable.”
The current plans for a new Sainsbury’s were proposed to the planning committee in April, but were overwhelmingly rejected.
The developers then very marginally changed the plans and re-submitted them in August when they were accepted by the council to the dismay of locals who then raised money for a Judicial Review of the decision objecting, among other things, that the developers had not done an Environmental Impact Assessment.
When re-submitting the plans in October, the developers provided an independent environmental assessment but did not change the plans.
Perry said: “My message to the councillors who make the decisions would be to be braver. Stop being constrained by process and cost: some decisions are more important than that.”
Stokey Local reject the development on the grounds that it will add to the area’s traffic, harm local businesses, and destroy the ecology of the nearby Abney Park.
As a result of the latest decision, the group is encouraging local people to write to the Secretary of State in an attempt to get the government to take over the plans.
John Page of Stokey Local said: “The next step is to try and get the Secretary of State to call in the decision because we think it is flawed and that significant.”
Perry added: “As long as we put some effort in now and make the Secretary of State understand all the issues surrounding the development and get them to turn this into enquiry, then that would be the result we want.”