On Tuesday over 70 supporters of Stokey Local held an informal meeting in the basement of Yum Yum restaurant. Many thanks to Atique, for his hospitality and for the nibbles and complimentary drink for our supporters. It was a very informative and enjoyable evening, but we also did some serious work.
We now know that the third application will not go to the November planning committee, but is intended to go before the December planning committee. Meanwhile the Council is defending the judicial review of its decision to approve the second application.
This means that in December the Councillors will be asked to approve an application which is identical to one which they have previously approved (and which they assert was properly decided), I think we can all guess what the outcome of that is going to be!
This is one reason why we are calling on the Secretary of State to ‘call in’ the application (in other words to take the decision away from the Council). You can help us by signing our petition (if you have not done so already) http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/we-ask-the-secretary-of-state-clg-to-call-in-an-application-for-development-land-at-wilmer-place-and-198-201-stoke-newington-high-street-lb-hackney-2013-3186 We currently have over 4,650 signatures, and you don’t have to be a Stokey resident to sign up. Please get your friends and family the length and breadth of the country to support the petition.
We are looking for politicians to challenge the Secretary of State, so far we have offers from at least one member of the Greater London Authority, but not our local MP (it looks like there may be a need for some gentle persuasion there).
In the meantime we are still pressing the Council to re-consider the financial viability arguments (which the developer is using to avoid meeting affordable housing targets) the need for an environmental impact assessment, and the impact the development will have on heritage (it is by far the largest development in a conservation area the borough has ever seen).
Our Barrister (who is working for us at no cost) has made it plain that we need to produce two expert reports, one on the ‘viability statement’ and one on the impact on heritage. The meeting agreed on Tuesday that we would spend £3,000 on these reports and also prepare to launch a second judicial review, if as expected the Council goes ahead and rubber stamps approval of the third application in December.
While we expect the Council to ignore these reports and to rubber-stamp the decision, we are preparing the legal basis for a further challenge. Unfortunately, we cannot go to a court and say: ‘we assumed they would ignore any evidence they did not like, so we did not waste our money producing it’.
This anticipated expenditure will have a serious impact on our funds. We originally set our self a target of £10,000 to launch a single judicial review. Unfortunately, with the additional expert costs, and the prospect of a second judicial review, we need to revise our target upwards and need approximately another £7,500.
At this stage, we are not asking the 250 people who have already given money to dig deeper into their pockets, instead, if you support this campaign, and can afford to, we would encourage you to make a donation now. We need a further 150 people to donate £50 to meet our revised target (if you cannot afford £50, please feel free to donate less, and if you can afford more, then we won’t turn you away). We are particularly keen to encourage local businesses to donate somewhat larger sums. This development will have a dramatic impact on the local economy, and you have as much to lose as everyone else.
We are of course grateful to Hamdy’s Newsagent and ‘Ultimate Accessories (the Discount Store) both on the High Street, both of whom have donated £1,000 to our campaign (when out shopping, please remember to support the stores that support us).
If you can, please make a donation by telephone or on-line banking
Account name: Stokey Local Community Fund
Sort code: 08-60-01
Account number: 20316473
Alternatively, please write a cheque to ‘Stokey Local Community Fund’ and send it c/o Jane Holgate, 30 Bergholt Crescent, London N16 5JE
What can you do to helpSign our on-line petition (and ask others to do the same)
- If you have not already done so, please make a donation
- In the next week, we will publish our letter to the Secretary of State, we will then ask for individual letters to the Secretary of State
- In the meantime, please tell people about this campaign.
- If you are on twitter: please tweet Diane Abbott ‘@hackneyabbott are you going to support the ‘call in’ of the Sainsbury’s/Wilmer place development #stokey local’
Thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign. We continue to grow in strength and influence and despite the fact that we are facing a determined developer we have overwhelming support from the community. They are wealthy and have undoubtedly been clever, but they have underestimated the resolve of our community.