Campaigners against a new Sainsbury’s supermarket planned for Wilmers Place, Stoke Newington, have won the right to take their case to a Judicial Review.
The decision was made by High Court judge Mr Justice Collins on Tuesday, after the controversial development plans were given the go-ahead by Hackney Council last week.
The application for Judicial Review relates to a decision by Hackney Council in July to approve a second application by the developers, Newmark, after initial plans were rejected. A third application, the one which was approved last week, was a fresh proposal by the developers, although critics claim it was identical to the one already approved.
In his notification, Justice Collins granted permission for the matter to go on to a full hearing after concluding that the application for re-decision had some chance of success.
He said “there can be no doubt” that the council’s decision to go ahead with the plans agreed in July was “defective in that it did not give any reasons.”
“It must be shown that the council made its decision for its own reasons which may or may not have accepted all those set out in the letter,” he added.
The High Court judge observed that there were several potential flaws to the developer’s original plans, including a failure to take out an Environmental Impact Assessment.
Justice Collins’ ruling will allow campaigners, who formed the Stokey Local community forum in opposition to the development, to continue a legal fight against the new Sainsbury’s although it remains unclear how it will relate to the application approved last week.
Campaigners hope that this third application will now be called-in by the Secretary of State, leading to a public inquiry by an independent planning inspector.
Stokey Local supporter Nick Perry pursued the Judicial Review of the council’s decision. He said: “The next step is for the defendant (Hackney) and the Interested Party (Newmark) to assemble their defence ahead of the substantive hearing some months from now.”
“In light of Judge Collins’ remarks in his permission order we’d hope that Hackney and Newmark would concede and submit to the judgement on this matter,” he added.
The Stokey Local group are opposing the Sainsbury’s development on the grounds that it “conflicts with national policy” and has the potential to negatively affect the ecology of Abney Park Cemetery, a Statutory Grade II Listed Garden and top-tier Metropolitan Site of Importance for Nature Conservations (SINC).
Campaigners have raised an initial £10,000 from contributions by over 200 residents and larger donations from two local businesses that will cover their costs if the High Court case is lost.