Plans for a new development in the centre of Stoke Newington, including a large Sainsbury’s supermarket and forty-four new homes, have been much reduced in response to community protests.
A public exhibition organised by Newmark properties, who own the site, took place yesterday at the site of the proposed development, on Wilmer Place, where developers discussed the amendments made to their plans after the mounting pressure from local group Stokey Local which last year collected 5,000 signatures against the new Sainsbury’s store.
Developers have been forced to reduce the size of the proposed supermarket by 33%, to 16,000 sq feet (similar in size to the supermarket in Stamford Hill). The car park under the supermarket has also been removed from the plans and two buildings on Stoke Newington High Street, which were set to be demolished in the original proposals, have been saved.
Deliveries will still come via Church Street and Wilmer Place but the number and size of deliveries have been cut back and the delivery area will now be covered to cut down on the noise. The number of ‘affordable” housing units have also been increased.
Suzy Roston, a member of the Stokey Local group, was still not pleased with the proposed store: ‘There are already enough independent food shops in the area, as well as a Sainsbury’s local store nearby for people who want to shop there’.
Other residents had similar views. Kathryn Townsend pointed out an increase of independent business in the area: ‘The new butcher and greengrocer on Church Street are busy everyday and I wouldn’t want to see that decimated’.
Will Kumar, the Planning Consultant for the development, argued that the new supermarket could provide around 150 new jobs for people in the area. The Sainsbury’s store would only compete with other chain supermarkets in the area and not smaller local businesses, he said.
He also claimed that the store could actually boost the trade of local shops and cafes, as more people would be attracted to the area.
However, Arshad Mohammad, who runs a nearby independent supermarket, is concerned about the effect the Sainsbury’s store could have: ‘We are a family business and have been here 29 years, if they open we are going to have to close down – simple’.
Holly Wild, a current resident of the site due to be developed, felt it was “counter intuitive,” to have: “uninspiring developments like this, while the government has commissioned Mary Portas to revitalise High Streets”.
The plans will now go to the planning committee for approval. At the end of June.
By Oliver Shaw