Soho House bids to open three restaurants on Wilmer Place site in Stoke Newington
PUBLISHED: 14:26 15 September 2016 | UPDATED: 15:40 15 September 2016
The private members' club empire Soho House is eyeing up the derelict Wilmer Place development in Stoke Newington High Street for its hip restaurant chains.
The site remains empty a year after campaign group Stokey Local won a long-running battle to stop a Sainsbury’s and 53 luxury flats being built on the land adjoining Abney Park cemetery and nature reserve.
The supermarket giants planned to build a large store but pulled out at the 11th hour after a four-year dispute that went as far as the High Court.
Developers Newmark Properties, who were subsequently left without a commercial partner for the project, then sold the land for £15.1million to Reichmann Properties– a healthy profit on the £6million they paid for it.
Now an application has been made to open three restaurants – Chicken Shop, Pizza East and Dirty Burger – which are all owned by Nick Jones’ company and would create 80 jobs.
Since the opening of Soho House in 1995, Mr Jones now has 17 clubs around the world, including Shoreditch House, and has three more on the way in the next few months.
His company has also opened hotels and last year launched Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire.
But Nick Perry, Stokey Local campaigner and planning guru, said the bid to open branches of the three Soho House restaurants would divide opinion in the area.
He said: “It’s way better than the Sainsbury’s plan and doesn’t encroach on Abney Park, so it’s good for that. And it’s good for employment. Whether it’s good for Stoke Newington town centre is a different thing.
“Another string of restaurants pitched at middle income diners doesn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence. It’s already a saturated market, particularly pizzas.
“How many pizza restaurants do we need?”.
A decision is pencilled in for Tuesday.