Stokey Local loses high court appeal over Sainsbury’s development

Sainsbury's lorry

Is the battle for Wilmer Place over? Photograph: Graham Richardson

Campaigners from Stokey Local are “hugely disappointed” after losing a key battle in their ongoing fight to quash contentious plans for a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Stoke Newington.

Following a three-day hearing, high court judge Mrs Justice Patterson dismissed the claims of the pressure group on all grounds – in what the campaigners admitted was a “comprehensive drubbing”.

Developers Newmark Properties can now start the building of a five storey development, containing a supermarket and 53 homes – only nine of which are affordable – off Stoke Newington High Street next to picturesque Abney Park.

Hackney Council have twice approved planning permission for the scheme but were challenged in both instances by judicial reviews launched by Stokey Local, styled (JR1 and JR2).

The judicial reviews were combined into one three day hearing, which took place last week.

Mr Perry, representing Stokey Local, argued that in both planning applications the Council did not subject the proposal to the necessary scrutiny required by European law, in order to determine whether a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required.

He also argued that with only nine “affordable flats” in the scheme, and only two for social rent, the Council’s own policy target of 50 per cent in new developments will not be met.

However Mrs Justice Patterson dismissed both claims for judicial review, leaving the campaigners to foot a legal bill of £22,000 or more.

Nick Perry, who represents Stokey Local, said following the loss of the court battle the group were “defiant”. He hopes to raise the money to take the decision to a Court of Appeal.

Mr Perry said he was thankful to the “stunning legal team” who worked largely free of charge on the judicial reviews. He said: “When all the bills are in we’ll likely face a bill of £22,000 for legal costs up to this point and face a shortfall in campaign funds of around £4,500.

“But donations have been coming in steadily since Friday and include £1000 from a local business.

“It is ironic, that in the month in which the Department for Communities and Local Government has launched it’s new Local Government Transparency Code, the Planning Court has chosen to uphold the rotten custom of withholding documents even from the Councillors who make the decisions, let alone the public.”

In a blog post Stokey Local thanked campaigners for their ongoing support: “We got organised; we got enthusiastic; we proved how much we love Stoke Newington; we focused on what was important; we found consensus; we fought for positive change.”

Newmark Properties has said the new supermarket will being more “competitiveness and choice”.

Stokey Local has called an urgent meeting for 7pm on Monday November 3, St Paul’s West Hackney N16 7UY (the corner of Evering Road and Stoke Newington Road, where the farmers market is held on a Saturday).