Stoke Newington residents and business owners have expressed outrage at an image of the proposed Sainsbury’s development on Church Street.
This view of the development, as it would appear from across the high street, was not displayed at the exhibition for residents of the area. It was un-earthed by local resident Bernard Bourdillon on page 84 of the application’s “Design and Access statement” where few casual readers would have come across it.
The already hotly contested apartment block, is shown in the drawing as it would look from Cazenove Road. It appears to loom over Abney Park Cemetery’s Grade II listed gates. It was described variously as “destructive”, “a travesty” and “a stinker.”
Bourdillon lives on nearby Bouverie Road and has visited the cemetery frequently over a period of 33 years. He made an earlier objection to plans for the Wilmer Place development.
He described the problems that the building would cause for cemetery users, calling it an intrusion on the cemetery. He said: “Abney is one of only two statutorily designated nature reserves in Hackney.
“It is government recommended that we have one hectare of nature reserve per 1000 residents. In Hackney, we have 0.12 hectares per 1000 residents. There is a massive underprivilege of natural spaces and this development is a travesty.”
Bourdillon listed further reasons for his objection. He said: “Shadows [created by the building] will block the sun from the cemetery, and that will affect people, animals and plants.
“Policy requires that new developments must be kept as far as possible from the walls of the cemetery. It says in the report that where visible, the new building will make a positive visual contribution.
“Yet it does dominate, it competes with the lodges and gates, and is in competition with them in a very real sense.
“Several recent new developments have been too large. Four of these have gone ahead, and one is pending a decision. At present, when you stand in the park, you can see the sky.
“It is crucial that this development, and the steady accumulation of harm, is halted here, and that the park is not turned from an open space into a closed one.”
Cazenove Road business owners were also outraged. Kev Freel, 40, co-owner of Volt BMX questioned the application, calling it a: “big stinking horrible lump.”
He said: “Locals are constantly being turned down for planning permission. People apply for extensions on their home; small things, but they’re rejected. How can something like that suddenly be given consideration?
“These big wigs… they’re so dirty, they’re clean, aren’t they?”
He looked at the picture again and said: “It really is a stinker. My home will overlook this crap.”
Juliette Rodrigues, 35, is a shop assistant at Food for All, which has been on Cazenove Road for 37 years and is one of London’s oldest health food shops. She was concerned about the effect of the development on the neighbouring cemetery and said: “It destroys the aura and magic of a place that is so full of charm.
“At present, (the cemetery) is a unique oasis in the middle of the city, an entirely secluded and calming area. That looks like it will be very destructive.”
The council planning committee are due to discuss the plans in December or early in the New Year.