Wilmer Place proposal redesigned and a further public exhibition planned

There has been some movement on the part of the developers. The Casenove Area Action Group received an email from Four Communications regarding the proposal:

From: Nicholas Vose

Date: Mon, 14 May 2012

I am writing to update you regarding our revised proposals for the above site in Stoke Newington, Hackney and to offer you a briefing.

The proposals will provide a significantly reduced foodstore which will increase much needed footfall in this area and provide new homes including affordable homes for Hackney.

Following the consultation activity we undertook in 2011 we have carefully considered the feedback we have received from LB Hackney officers, elected members, local residents, business owners and other stakeholders and have made a number of significant revisions to the proposals, which we have already received some positive feedback on.

If you would like to discuss the proposals in more detail and arrange a briefing prior to the second public exhibition please do not hesitate to contact me.

We will be holding a second public exhibition shortly and I will ensure that you receive a separate invitation in due course.  

Yours sincerely,  


Nicholas Vose

Account manager – Four Public Affairs

So as was suggested late last year there has been a redesign but at this stage we don't know how the proposal has been modified (the developer's webiste still hasn't been updated yet

We'll keep you posted on developments.

Apologies for the lack of website…

We've been having problems with the website for a while (something was flooding the servers), but things seem to be back up and running smoothly again..

There is still no word from the developers and no change to the Wilmer Place website. We'll update you if there is any movement. 

5,000 signatures to the petition and counting

We can now announce that we have received 5,000 signatures to our petition in opposition of the proposed developement. 

The clear majority of these (over 4,200) have come from shops around Stoke Newington and our thanks go to the shopkeepers for hosting the petitions and especially to  Hamdy and Suzy for doing such a great job of organising it. The rest have come from the online petition which you can still sign.

On most of the petition forms there was an opportunity for people to leave a comment and we have analysed a chunk of them to get a feel for what Stoke Newington residents feel about the proposal.

Most of the comments and concerns fell into distinct themes so we grouped them together, giving the breakdown of the most common as follows:


33% – Don't need another supermarket

24% – Would damage local businesses

14% – General objection to proposal

 7% – Traffic and congestion problems

 6% – Would damage the area's character

 3% – Would adversely affect the local community

 2% – Impact on local environment / polution

 2% – Don't need large corporations / no to corporate greed

 2% – No to cloned high streets


It is clear from this petition that opposition to this proposal is strong and the comments indicate that there is a wide range of concerns about the development. 

These concerns are described in more detail on the Issues pages of this website so please take the time to consider them for yourself and also sign the petition if you haven't already.

Reports of revisions to Wilmer Place development plan

In the last 24 hours there have been reports on Twitter that there has been a delay in submitting the application because the developers are revising the plan in light of the response from the Stoke Newington community. According to these reports the architects of the development have suggested that the supermarket aspect of the proposal is being scaled back. 

At this point in time we have no idea to what extent the plans are being altered and there have been no updates to the Wilmer Place website so far to confirm this. 

It is also worth noting that this would not be the first time that developers have put forward a clearly inappropriate proposal before submitting a scaled back application, with a view to softening up opposition.

This fight is by no means over, but it does show that by getting together we can influence how our community develops and that we can work together to support and maintain Stoke Newington's unique character. We will keep you up to date with the latest information as soon as we become aware of it.

Deliveries by articulated lorries now planned for Church Street

After the success of the zombie march we've been working out our next steps and there will be lots to crack on with in the next few weeks. We also have reason to believe that the planning application will be submitted this month so the clock is ticking and things are going to get busy.

But first things first, the developers met with the Stoke Newington Conservation Areas Advisory Committee a while back and a set of boards was shown to the group, including some new ones not shown at the consultation.

Possibly the most significant change is the adoption of articulated lorries for deliveries rather than the rigid lorries we were assured would be doing the deliveries at the consultation.  

As predicted early on in the Stokey Local campaign, there is clearly insufficient space for rigid vehicles to manoeuvre in Wilmer Place, so the developers have been forced into changing their plans to using articulated vehicles. Indeed they haven't even bothered to update their 'consultation' website which still states that "deliveries will be undertaken by an 11 metre rigid delivery vehicle".

The plots on the board show the lories approaching the site from the west end of Church Street and exiting the site via the heavily congested east end of Church Street so if this development were to go ahead, we would have 6 to 8 articulated heavy goods vehicles pounding the length of Church Street on a daily basis. 

Heavy goods vehicles are the cause of half of London's fatal cycle accidents and one tenth of London's fatal pedestrian accidents although they only account for 5% of London's traffic. These vehicles are dangerous, articulated lorries particularly so, and this is just one of many examples of why this development is deeply inappropriate for Stoke Newington.

Stokey Local Meeting this Tuesday

Just a quick note to say that there will be a Stokey Local meeting downstairs at Cafe Z Bar on the High Street from 7pm. This will be a chance for people to catch up with each other and plan our next steps. Hope to see you there.

Big thanks to the zombie hoardes!

What a fantastic day!

We had a magnificent turn out of around 200 zombies who lurched and moaned their way around the sunny streets of Stoke Newington to protest against the supermarket proposal. 

There were some truly epic zombie get-ups and the march was given a great horror soundtrack thanks to the KSS Audio crew. 

We've set up a ZombieLocal Flickr group so if people have photos or films of the march then please post them there and keep an eye on the newspapers for some great pics of the day. 

Big thanks to all the zombies who came out in support today and to the Stokey Local team who made it all happen and thanks to Mike for this great film of the day:

Zombies Rise Up in Stoke Newington on Saturday 1st October

Next Saturday 1st  October the living dead will mark their outrage at the invasion of the proposed new Sainsbury’s in Stoke Newington by marching lurching through town.

Their aim is to raise awareness of the serious problems associated with the development amongst local residents, shoppers and shopkeepers.

All zombies are very welcome to join the protest and you can find more information and links to flyers and posters below:

 WHEN? Saturday 1 October, 12pm

WHERE? Assemble at Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington High Street

Local residents in Stoke Newington are up in arms at retail giant Sainsbury’s plans to build a massive 2,200sqm superstore on the corner of Church Street and the High Street.

Now local people are making the point that a giant supermarket will kill off local shops with a light-hearted Zombie Day on Sat 1 Oct.

There’ll be a mock funeral for the local economy with traditional jazz musicians. And local people of all ages will dress up as Zombies as Abney Park Cemetery gives up its famous dead to say NO to Sainsbury’s.

Community-minded zombies will lurch up and down Church Street handing out leaflets and explaining why Sainsbury’s is a threat to local business – and will make traffic congestion even worse.

Afterwards there’ll be tea and cake (zombie cake, of course) at St Mary’s Church Hall to 3pm.

Everyone is welcome – especially zombie kids. Already 150+ people have said via Facebook that they’ll attend.

Stoke Newington has a long history of dissent and free thought. We’re sure that Daniel Defoe, Paul Foot, Mark Bolan, and Salvation Army founders William and Catherine Booth – who are buried in Abney Park Cemetery, which would be blighted by the new Sainsbury’s – would have been against this unwanted invasion of a thriving community of locally-owned businesses.

So don’t be surprised if you see some of Stoke Newington’s famous late residents rising from the dead to make their thoughts known too…

Come down and join in. As the zombies say: “No to Sainsbury’s – yes to BRAINS-bury’s!”

A3 Zombie Poster for Printing (jpg)

A3 Zombie Poster for Printing (pdf)

A5 Zombie Leaflet for Emails (jpg)

A5 Zombie Leaflet for Emails (pdf)

A5 Zombie Leaflet for Printing (pdf)

Going Back In Time: 2005 Hackney Retail & Leisure Study

A couple of months back we posted about a 1999 planning brief which outlined the council’s views on the Wilmer Place site.

In 2004 Hackney Council commissioned a Retail and Leisure  Study from consultants Roger Tym & Partners and the final report was published in 2005. The aim of this work was to “provide background information to inform the forthcoming preparation of the Local Development Framework” and as part of this work the consultants reviewed the retail and leisure situation in Stoke Newington.

On the developer’s website and at the consultation this study was cited as providing justification for the addition of a large new supermarket.

Specifically they state:

The site is earmarked in Hackney Council’s ‘Hackney Retail and Leisure Study’ (May 2005) as ‘having the potential to provide new retail development.’

In fact the report’s authors suggest that the site could be developed for retail or leisure:

SN4: Retail Allocations

We recommend that the following site is allocated for retail / leisure development in Stoke Newington, in accordance with the approved development brief:ƒ

  • Wilmer Place.

However while the developer is happy to cite the report where they feel it supports their case, they choose not to reference the specific recommendations made by the authors about the nature of Stoke Newington’s retail development:

Suggested Draft Policies for Stoke Newington 

SN1: Retail Function

Stoke Newington is located close to Dalston and Mare Street town centres, but is smaller and serves a different function. It has two distinct geographical elements – Church Street that provides upmarket fashion retailing and good quality restaurant/cafe facilities characterised by independent traders, and Stoke Newington High Street that provides basic day-to-day shopping facilities again with relatively few multiples that serves a very localised catchment.  As such it serves a different market than other two town centres in the Borough.  Stoke Newington does not, and we recommend that it should not, compete directly with these other centres. These characteristics represent the individual strength of this centre and should be protected.

The retail units in Stoke Newington tend to be comparatively small in size, affordable and attractive to independent retailers. This explains why there are few multiple retailers in this centre. The centre’s character and function should be protected and where possible enhanced, possibly by seeking to build upon the already significant “ethnic” retailer and restaurant/café representation.

It appears that the views of the experts hired by Hackney Council to advise on their retail and leisure planning policy align closely with many in the local community: as this campaign has progressed, we have spoken to a lot of local residents about what they really value about  Stoke Newington life and in most cases we have heard a very similar description to those recommendations, coupled with comments about how inappropriate the proposed development is.

Local Politicians Write Open Letter to Developers and Sainsbury’s

MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Diane Abbott, and local councillors from the wards closest to the proposed development have sent a strongly worded letter to the developers and Sainsbury’s, setting out their arguments as to why the proposal is unacceptable.

They have also issued a request for both the developer and Sainsbury’s to attend a public meeting before a planning application is submitted, to answer the concerns that the community has about the proposal.

The letter has been published in the Hackney Citizen (the article also provides some further context) and covered by the Hackney Gazette. It is copied below in full:

Open letter on the proposed development at Wilmer Place:

22 August 2011 

Dear Mr Cohen, 

RE: Proposed Development of Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington 

We write to raise serious concerns about the proposed development at Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington. 

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. 

We ask, therefore, that Newmark Properties and Sainsbury’s attend a public meeting in Stoke Newington to discuss the proposals in detail and that both companies commit to attending such a meeting before any planning application is submitted.

The following is summary of our key concerns with the proposed development: 

1. Hackney Council’s Core Strategy Policy 25 on the Historic Environment states that “all development should make a positive contribution to the character of Hackney’s historic and built environment.” We are at a loss to explain how demolishing part of an old terrace building on the High Street makes a positive contribution to Hackney’s built environment. 

2. The Core Strategy also states that the Council should encourage a diverse range of developments within its major and district centres, including Stoke Newington. These developments are required to enhance the environmental quality of the area and to resist the loss of shops. 

Stoke Newington is home to a successful and diverse independent retail and evening economy. Neither you nor Sainsbury’s appear to have assessed the impact a 24,000 square foot retail store will have on the local economy and whether it will lead to the loss of local shops in the area. 

3. You have repeatedly made reference to the 2005 ‘Hackney Retail and Leisure Study’ to justify the proposals on the grounds that the study identified land at Wilmer place as ‘suitable for retail and leisure uses.’ This is misleading and certainly not an accurate representation of Hackney Council policy. Council planning documents designate Wilmer Place as suitable for a range of uses – of which retail is only one. 

4. Wilmer Place is part of the Stoke Newington Conservation Area. The Stoke Newington Conservation Area Appraisal states that “the opportunities for new development in the Conservation Area are very limited because of the intensely built-up nature of the townscape.” 

Where new development is to be carried out, it should follow a number of key principles, including: respecting the scale, massing and height of the surrounding historic properties and reflecting the existing details and materials of the historic buildings in the surrounding area. 

The Appraisal also states that views from Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington High Street and out of Abney Park Cemetery “must be preserved by not allowing new development which is too dominant or obtrusive.” The proposals as they currently stand do not appear to respect these requirements. 

5. We are not clear on what proportion of the forty-four residential units will be affordable, and what proportion will be family-sized. 

6. The plans show an entrance to an underground car park on the High Street. This part of the High Street is very narrow, and the entrance is near to two junctions on a red route and bus stops. Access into Wilmer Place from Church Street for delivery vehicles is also very narrow and residents from Wilmer Place are understandably concerned about noise and disruption from delivery trucks, particularly as no detail has been provided on the timings of these.  

It is our understanding that you have not carried out an assessment of the transport implications of the development; including the impact that access into the site from both Church Street and the High Street will have on traffic and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. 

The lack of detailed information about this and the other serious implications the development will have on biodiversity, conservation and the local economy is of considerable concern. We would expect a thorough assessment to be carried out in each of these areas and for the results to be published in full. 

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. This is despite a corporate responsibility policy that commits Sainsbury’s to being a “good neighbour” and to play “an active role in local communities.” 

Both Sainsbury’s and Newmark Properties should be properly accountable for the significant impact this development would have on residents and local businesses in Stoke Newington. We urge representatives from both companies to attend a public meeting at the earliest opportunity. 

Copies of this letter have been sent to J Sainsbury’s in order to highlight our concerns at the company’s failure to engage with the local community. 

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Yours sincerely, 

Diane Abbott MP 
Cllr Edward Brown, Lordship Ward 
Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Stoke Newington Central Ward 
Cllr Rita Krishna, Stoke Newington Central Ward 
Cllr Wendy Mitchell, Clissold Ward 
Cllr Daniel Stevens, Lordship Ward 
Cllr Louisa Thomson, Stoke Newington Central Ward 

CC David Tyler, Chairman, J Sainsbury PLC 
Justin King, Chief Executive, J Sainsbury PLC 
Luke Jensen, Group Development Director, J Sainsbury PLC 
Roger Burnley, Retail and Logistics Director, J Sainsbury PLC 
Neil Sachdev, Property Director, J Sainsbury PLC 
Mark Rigby, Director of Corporate Affairs, J Sainsbury PLC 
Alun Hayes, Director Politics, Four Communications 


Via We Love Stoke Newington and LorshipN16.

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