Fight against Sainsbury’s Stoke Newington development set to reach High Court

The proposed development at Wilmer Place will include five-storeys of flats and only 17 per cent aff

The proposed development at Wilmer Place will include five-storeys of flats and only 17 per cent affordable housing - Credit: Archant

Stokey Local’s campaign has been granted fresh hope in its three year legal battle against Sainsbury’s, as the fight is taken to the Royal Courts of Justice.

The residents’ group, from Stoke Newington, has raised thousands of pounds to oppose the construction of a supermarket and flats at Wilmer Place, that it says will “irreversibly damage” the community and is calling on Town Hall to “be braver”.

Nick Perry of Stokey Local, the claimant in the High Court challenge, told the Gazette that taking the council to court “isn’t the proudest moment of my life” and it is a “great shame it has come to this.”

Perry said: “But with near-universal support within Stoke Newington, of the view that the council twice made the wrong decision, and did so without giving the community a fair shot at objecting, bringing this before a judge will hopefully give planners and councillors pause for thought about what power they actually have to mitigate or refuse harmful applications such as these.”

Campaigners will see their judicial review heard at the courts on May 19, with local lawyers offering their services free of charge and hoping to overturn the green light given to the plans in December.

The proposed site was given the green light by councillors at a controversial meeting in December, where campaigners vowed to fight on and were soon rejected by Communities and Local Government secretary of state Eric Pickle, after appealing for him to ‘call-in’ the plans.

Perry added: “Hackney is justifying the undisputed harm to the heritage, ecology and seclusion of Abney Park by claiming the 53 expensive flats - out of financial reach to most of us - will contribute to solving the housing crisis.”

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“Whatever the outcome, we hope Hackney Council will be braver in the future and realise it doesn’t need to cave into powerful developers, but has the power and duty to protect scarce amenities and the character of our neighbourhoods, whilst meaningfully contributing to the housing crisis.”