“It took me a while to realise, we have lost in court but effectively we have won”, said campaign leader Nick Perry in his speech at St Paul’s Church West Hackney. The proposed unloved building will come but at least changes were made and – most importantly – Sainsbury’s stays out.
In their first meeting after their appeal against a new building in Wilmer Place was dismissed in High Court last week, Stokey Local campaigners signalled that they will keep an eye on the future developments in Stoke Newington.
After explaining the complicated legal battle Stokey Local fought for over four years, Perry announced the next steps. All legal options have been exploited; the chances of winning on another judiciary level are “close to nil”. Probably there will not be another supermarket, the size of the building is problematic for a lot of chains.
Most likely the current owner, Newmark will sell the property on. Depending on the plans of a possible future owner, the campaign might have to get involved again. One of the biggest points of criticism in the campaign against Sainsbury’s was that the community was not included sufficiently in the planning process. An issue a prospective buyer should definitely have in mind considering Stokey Local’s success.
The fight against the big supermarket franchise brought the whole neighbourhood closer, as lead campaigner John Page pointed out in his speech. “Everyone met people they never spoke to before and made new friends”, he said impressed by the success.
At the moment Stoke Newington’s residents lack opportunities to interact with developers who are planning the areas future. One lady from the audience suggested that Nick Perry should run for Council, as he will have more chances to influence decisions.
When asked for her favoured shop for the new building, treasurer Jane Holgate said: “It’s a decision for the community, listen to them”. An advice developers should definitely respect.
Newmark did not respond to Eastlondonlines’ query on what will replace Sainsbury’s in the plans. Updates to follow.