Newmark, the developers who are seeking to build a new Sainsbury’s in Stoke Newington, have submitted an application to Hackney Council that is identical to one that has already been approved.
The resubmission has cost the applicant £39,000 and follows the announcement that campaigners who oppose the development have raised money for a judicial review of the Council’s decision. The review questions the procedure that led to approval of the development at Wilmer Place.
Nick Perry, on behalf of Stokey Local, had submitted a formal letter to the Council in August criticising the council’s previous procedure. He said that an Environmental Impact Assessment is needed and that the affordable housing offer was “significantly below the 50% core strategy policy target”.
A spokesperson for Newmark Properties (SN) LLP said: “We strongly refute the reasons cited for a judicial review and that is why we have sought to contest them. Whilst we respect the legal process, we have submitted an identical planning application to expedite the matter.”
Hackney Planning Watch blog said: “It appears that the developer does not have any confidence that the recent planning approval will survive our judicial review and is trying to be clever by getting the Council to reconsider the same application, but this time following the appropriate procedure.”
“This could be a clever move on their part as if the Council can ‘go through the motions’ of properly considering the new application and then rubber stamp its approval, they will have outmanoeuvred the judicial review proceedings.”
Newmark Properties told East London Lines that submitting an identical planning application will “give Hackney an opportunity to address the concerns raised by Mr Nick Perry on the application process, which is what is being challenged, not the decision itself.”
“This approach will avoid the costs and delays of the judiciary process which should be welcomed by all parties.”
Perry said: “It’s either a shrewd move or a spectacular own goal.
“By submitting a new application it gives us an opportunity to ask the Secretary of State to “call in” the application so he will consider it himself – not the council. This would put the application before a thorough inquiry process that would, in fact, lengthen the timescale for resolution, not shorten it.”
The inquiry process would allow campaigners against the development to present evidence and challenge the applicant directly.
Perry said: “We have no faith that the Council can resolve the complex, sensitive and controversial planning issues whilst under this pressure, to the satisfaction of everybody involved. This why we want the Secretary of State or the applicant to refer it to the Inspector, or reserve it for himself.”
The Stokey Local campaigners have launched a petition asking for the Secretary of State to call-in Newark’s most recent application.
They said: “This is no longer a purely ‘local issue’, it is about whether supermarkets can simply ‘out-gun’ local communities.”
Speaking at a public meeting earlier this week, Jane Holgate of Stokey Local, announced that so far £12,500 has been donated by over 250 Hackney residents to fund the judicial review.
To view ELL’s interactive timeline of the campaign against Sainsbury’s development at Wilmer Place, please click here.