Stoke Newington isn't getting another pizzeria! Soho House Wilmer Place bid rejected
PUBLISHED: 11:48 13 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:51 13 December 2016
Private members' club empire Soho House has been knocked back in its bid to put three hip restaurants on Stoke Newington's embattled Wilmer Place site.
The company had eyed up the derelict units in the high street for three of its restaurant chains but officers rejected the bid last month.
That means locals won’t be getting a taste of Chicken Shop, Pizza East or Dirty Burger. Instead they’ll have to walk yards to eat in one of the area’s other trendy pizza restaurants.
Officers said the loss of retail space in favour of restaurants would have an “adverse effect on the vitality and viability” of the area and employment opportunities would be lost.
They added: “The proposed development, by way of the insensitive appearance of the shopfronts and materiality of the design, would result in harm to the character and appearance of the Stoke Newington Conservation Area and the wider streetscape.”
The site remains empty more than 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.
Nick Perry, of the Hackney Society planning group led that campaign. He said of the latest decision: “It’s perhaps a surprise, but it seems yet another pizza outlet was one slice too many. This setback begs questions as to the future of the site.”
Estate agents CBRE were brought in by landlord Reichmann Properties to find a tenant able to pay for the investment needed, said to be more than £2million.
Co-op and Marks and Spencer Simply Food were both sniffing around but the Sainbury’s saga put Reichmann off.
But Nick said this approach for high-end suitors ignores the fact that local businesses operated from the units successfully for years until they were turfed out.
Many expected Soho House to be successful in its bid. Though the company sold its stake in all three restaurant chains last year, it is thought a lease agreement was in place to hold them to the Wilmer Place branches if approved.
The Wilmer Place site was also put on the market during the planning process, but seem to have been pulled since being rejected.