Community oppose Sainsbury’s plans

Part of the site for the proposed Sainsburys superstore. Pic: Emma Marvin

Developers behind the heavily opposed plans for a new Sainsbury’s superstore and 68 housing units in Stoke Newington are inviting residents to voice their opinions on the latest proposals before September 9.

Earlier this year, East London Lines reported that the developers, Newmark Property Investments, who owns the site near the junction of Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street, were forced to scale down the size of the proposed supermarket after mounting opposition from pressure group Stokey Local. A 300 strong  zombie ‘protest’ was held last September and  the group collected 5,000 signatures against the new development.

The revised plans for Wilmer Place and 193-201 Stoke Newington High Street, located next to Abney Park Cemetery and forms part of Stoke Newington’s Conservation Area, now propose a 16,000 sq ft Sainsbury’s store  – a 33 per cent reduction in size to the previous proposal of 24,000 sq ft – and 68 residential units. Original plans for an underground car park have been scrapped and two buildings, which were set to be demolished, will have their Victorian frontage preserved.

Top team: Designer Androulla Toumaza and her seamstress mother Helen. Pic: Emma Marvin

Androulla Toumaza, 50, fashion designer and director of Androulla Fashion, has been working with her mother Helen, 84, a seamstress, for the last thirty years at one of the units due for demolition.“I’m so stressed at the moment. It’s been a long battle.” She said.

“Hackney Council is not helping small businesses. They are going to shut one by one. I’ll give it a year. The furniture shop next door went two weeks ago.

“There are enough little shops around here. We don’t need a chain and we don’t need a Sainsbury’s. They could build something really creative that pulls people into Stoke Newington but not a Sainsbury’s. It makes me so angry. Hackney Council should bring interest to the area and not actually deflect people from it.”

Will Kumar, the Planning Consultant for the development, argued that the supermarket could provide around 150 new jobs and it would only compete with other chain supermarkets in the area, not smaller local businesses. 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.

Shop owner Tuta Niah. Pic: Emma Marvin

However, Tuta Niah, 46, owner of newsagents High Street News on Stoke Newington High Street said that if plans went ahead, he would have to think about turning the shop into something else. “Sainsbury’s will take all my business. All these independent shops along the high street are going to die out.”

Joseph Bloor, who runs local community group Green Wood from a workshop next to Abney Park Cemetery said of the latest plans: “In my view the proposed building is inappropriate and it will cause significant and lasting damage to the cemetery as a habitat, a nature reserve and a heritage conservation area.”

Bloor added that he will continue to oppose the planning application until a “reasonable and considerate” scheme is proposed.

Judith Crickmay, pharmacy supervisor at Benjamin Chemist, opposite the proposed site, said: “If Sainbury’s has a pharmacy, it will affect us big time. There are people living above the shops and they’ve already been asked to move.”

A spokesperson from Newmark Property Investments told ELL: “We believe that this is a much improved scheme thanks to all the feedback we have received and we would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to comment.”

Earlier this week ELL reported on another planning application, currently being  considered by Hackney Council, that could see the closure of the Church Street Bookshop, which has been running on Stoke Newington’s Church Street for over 30 years.  

To look at the reviewed planning application for the proposed Sainsbury’s store and residential units, click here.

Comments and opinions on the revised plans can be submitted here before September 9.

Stokey Local has said that it will publish its views on the new proposals later this month.


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