The 2012 Wilmer Place planning application: an update
The consultation period on the current application for a 1,486 sq m (16,000 sq ft) Sainsbury's superstore and 68 unit housing development at Wilmer Place N16, overlooking Abney Park Cemetry closed at the end of September. Since then, the Council's planning officers have been considering the 300 or so objections thay have received, have been consulting with other departments on various technical points, and discussing their initial concerns with the devlopers.
In short, we are unlikely to see an outcome or be involved in further hearings or consultations until the new year.
The major areas of conern for the planning officers have been around the ecological effect of the development on Abney Park Cemetery and its height and proximity in relation to the cemetery.
Developers are given an opportunity to make alterations or further submissions to alleviate any concerns. In this case they have commissioned a nocturnal bat survey, a 'phase 1' ecological survey of the cemetery and a further lighting study. Council officers are yet to fully consider these submissions.
The issue of height and proximity is likely to be a major stumbling block and we can only speculate on how this might be resolved.
This current application might be considered by the Planning Inspector (a national body, headquartered in Bristol) either as an appeal to the Council refusing this application or on the basis that the Council have failed to determine it within eight weeks. In either scenario there would be no submission before Hackney's Planning Sub-committee, but instead there would be a hearing or (more likely) inquiry held by the Planning Inspector here in Hackney at some point in the first half of 2012. This is a process which typically takes between 22 and 30 weeks.
Alternatively the developers may revise the scheme to the satisfaction of the planners. Realistically this would be a major revision and will require further consultation. Such revisions will need to be drawn up and the viability re-considered. It's unlikely a revised scheme will be submitted before the new year (though not impossible). Once submitted, the further documents and revised drawings will be published by the Council and a new 21-day consultation period will begin. If after considering the revisions and the consultation, the Council officers are minded to approve the revised scheme, they will take it to the Council's Planning Sub-Committee where it will be decided. If they are still unconvinced, then we will be back at this point.
As ever we will keep you updated with developments as we find out about them.