Despite the Council granting planning permission for the Sainsbury’s/Wilmer Place development, we still have the power to stop the development in its tracks, as we have sufficient grounds to submit a Judicial Review of the decision. But for that we need to raise some money fast.
If we can raise an initial £5,000 in the next 20 days, then we can proceed with a Judicial Review.
We already have pledges of £4,960, we now need to convert those pledges into cheques made payable to Stokey Local Community Fund and posted to c/o Jane Holgate, 30 Bergholt Crescent, London N16 5JE.
On Wednesday 31 July, despite overwhelming community opposition, the Council’s planning sub-committee granted planning permission for the Sainsbury/Wilmer Place development. The community has no right to appeal, but we can launch a Judicial Review if we believe the Council’s decision-making process was flawed: for example, if we can show that they took into account irrelevant considerations, or failed to consider information that they should have considered.
If a Judicial Review is successful then the original decision is ‘quashed’ and it is as if planning permission had never been granted.
As has been explained before, this is not a cheap process and we will need a minimum fighting fund of £10,000 to pay the costs of the solicitor and a contribution towards the potential costs of the Council should we lose. We need to raise £5,000 of this before we actually serve the legal papers, which has to be done before 18 September.
This may seem a large amount of money, but it is only because our barrister is prepared to work on a no-win no-fee arrangement that it is not considerably higher.
We have grounds for a Judicial Review
Having studied all the paperwork, our barrister is now confident that we have sufficient grounds to pursue a Judicial Review against the Council. We anticipate that Nick Perry, who spoke at the council meeting on our behalf, will also make this Judicial Review claim on our behalf.
Do you have technical skills?
To save money, our team will be doing lots of the work that the solicitor would ordinarily do. If you have legal training, or are an architect or surveyor and are willing to help, please contact Nick: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can we raise £5,000 in just 20 days and a further £5,000 over the next six months?
To date we have received pledges from 101 people totalling £4,920. We are therefore well on the way to our initial target, but we now need people to write out their cheques and send them in.
We have applied for a bank account, but inevitably it takes a while to organise and it is not open yet. It will be however by the end of the second week in September.
Unfortunately, we cannot wait for the bank account to be open so can people please write out their cheques now and make them payable to: ‘Stokey Local Community Fund’ and send them to: c/o Jane Holgate, 30 Bergholt Crescent, London N16 5JE. These will be paid in immediately the account is open.
Committee and constitution
We are aware that we are asking for a substantial sum of money, and have therefore set up a committee and agreed a constitution for the fund.
The fund’s interim committee (whose sole responsibility is for the fund, not the campaign itself) will be:
· Jane Holgate (who chaired the most recent meeting at the Methodist church).
· Mike Flood Page (who spoke at the meeting suggesting that the target is achievable if we can get 200 people to pledge £50)
· Andrew Harrison (a stalwart of the campaign and in particular petitioning at the farmers market)
· Hamdy Shahein (of Hamdy’s newsagent fame)
· Janet Buchan (Curate at St Paul’s Church)
You can view the fund’s constitution here: http://tinyurl.com/p3l7ds7
Inevitably a constitution is a bureaucratic document, but it is essential as it defines the context in which the trustees can make decisions. There are some explanatory notes to the constitution here: http://tinyurl.com/o5bynua
Whilst we have grounds to seek a Judicial Review, there is, inevitably, no guarantee of success. That is why we have to raise not only funds to pay our own legal costs, but also to pay a contribution (up to £5,000) towards the Council’s costs should we lose.
Over the last three years we have demonstrated that the Stoke Newington Community is capable of coming together and organising to challenge an unwanted development that threatens the character of the area and the biodiversity of Abney Park.
Lets continue to build that strength.
Thank you to everyone who has pledged money: please now convert that into a cheque made payable to Stokey Local Community Fund. If you cannot afford to make a donation, that is ok, there will be plenty of other ways in which you can help over the next 12 months.
Please feel free to cascade this email on to others who you feel may wish to support our challenge to a decision that is unacceptable to our community.
Anyone wishing to join our email list can do so here: http://eepurl.com/mqRA9
Thank you the good people of Stoke Newington: you are amazing!