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:
- 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.