UPDATE Sainsbury's snubs Hackney politicians' calls for public meeting over store plans
PUBLISHED: 11:17 24 August 2011
Diane Abbott and Stoke Newington councillors among those calling for public meeting
Supermarket bosses have snubbed calls by Hackney politicians for a public meeting over controversial plans for a Sainsbury’s store in the heart of Stoke Newington.
Labour figures including Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Jennette Arnold of the London Assembly and all three Stoke Newington Central ward councillors wrote an open letter raising strong concerns about the proposed development for Wilmer Place - and condemned the consultation process as ‘deeply flawed’.
Developers Newmark Property Investments want to build a 2,200sq m Sainsbury’s store, 94 underground parking spaces and 44 flats on the site at the corner of Stoke Newington High Street and Church Street.
The plans have yet to go before the town hall’s planning committee but have already sparked anger among residents and traders upset about the demolition of exiting shops and homes, the threat to independent businesses and road safety.
Hackney politicians have called for both Sainsbury’s bosses and the developers to attend an urgent public meeting before submitting their application to the council.
In their letter, they said: “We do not support the current plans for the site and are concerned that a deeply flawed consultation process has provided little opportunity for the views of local residents to be properly considered.”
Their concerns include the size of the proposed development, the impact on the town centre sky-line, noise and disruption from delivery trucks and loss of business to nearby shops.
“Consultation on the proposals has also been characterised by the failure of Sainbury’s to engage with and understand the local community’s concerns about the development,” they said.
Darren Johnson, Green Party member of the London Assembly, has also written to Hackney Council calling for the plans to be blocked.
But both Sainsbury’s and Newmark Property Investments have failed to agree to a public meeting in their statement released this morning.
A spokesman said: “We received a letter on Monday and a full response has been sent out today.
“We have offered to have further meetings with elected members to discuss the proposals and we will continue to consult with the local community including local businesses and residents. There will also be a number of further opportunities for people to provide feedback, such as our consultation website www.wilmerplace.com.
“We will only submit an application once we are satisfied we have addressed the key issues and have the best possible scheme for Stoke Newington.
“We recognise there are some people who do not want this development but we have also received feedback from residents and businesses who support the proposals because they recognise the investment will bring wider benefits including affordable homes, increased footfall on the High Street and 200 full and part time jobs.”