Council to Decide on Neighbourhood Forums 24th November 2014

On Monday 24th November two competing proposals for a neighbourhood forum in the Stamford Hill area will be discussed at the Council’s Cabinet. The meeting will be at Hackney Town Hall, Mare Street, from 6pm

The fact that there are two competing applications demonstrates once again that there is no consensus regarding planning in the area. Unfortunately, given that the rules of accountability of ‘Neighbourhood Forums’ are very weak, it would be possible for one section of the community to dominate a forum to the exclusion of other sections.

Fortunately the Cabinet Report (available here) recommends that both proposals are rejected and that the alternative inclusive Area Action Plan is progressed.

Planning Watch supports this position and we are asking our supporters, if you have not already signed, to sign our petition urging the Councillors to reject both of the competing forums.

Urgent: please let people know
With just a few days before the vote, we need as many people as possible to sign the petition (because we don’t want the Council to think we have gone away, and we know that supporters of the proposed forums will be seeking to convince the Cabinet to reject the report). So please forward this email to friends and neighbours and ask them to sign the petition. 

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Many thanks for your support

Planning Watch

Stokey Local taking case to Court of Appeal

Following the decision at last week’s meeting to carry the fight over the proposed development of Wilmer Place to the Court of Appeal, Stokey Local have announced plans for a series of community based fund-raising events.

They are looking for good ideas and volunteers to help raise the funds to fight on. They want to save Stoke Newington from inappropriate developments, have some fun, and get to know each other along the way.

The ideas they have come up with so far include:-

  • A fun-day-cum-board-game – a cross between Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, where the board is Stoke Newington and we are the pieces.
  • A ‘battle of the bands’ and other entertainment.
  • A systematic approach to door-to-door fundraising of local businesses, and a celebration of those who have already supported the campaign, including Hamdys, Benjamin’s Chemist, The Discount Store, Shine Holistic, Levenes Solicitors
  • An ‘auction of promises’
  • A formal dinner or supper club with entertainment
  • A series of street parties

To get involved, donate and find out more check out Stokey Local.

Sainsbury’s Campaign to appeal

At a meeting to discuss what to do next after the High Court’s rejection of Stokey Local’s application for a Judicial Review for the Sainsbury’s/Wilmer Place Development attended by fifty people there was overwhelming support for continuing the campaign.

As reported by East London Lines, the meeting learned that vital information on how the Council Officers and the developers had arrived at an agreement over the proportion of social housing in the development had been withheld, not only from the general public, but also from Councillors and the Planning Committee.

The campaign aims to get these documents made public, and will shortly be canvassing support for funding raising options.

Find out more at Stokey Local.

Urgent Public Meeting on Judicial Review 3rd November

A meeting to discuss what to do next about the High Court decision turning down Stokey Local’s application for Judicial Review over the Sainsbury’s Wilmer Place development is set for:-

7pm, Monday 3 November

St Paul’s West Hackney N16 7UY

(On the corner of Evering Road and Stoke Newington Road, where the farmers market is held on a Saturday).

& don’t forget they are trying to make up the short fall in legal costs so please donate  too.

For full details see Stokey Local

Judicial Review Turned Down

You may already have learned that the Judicial Review sought by Stokey Local has been turned down by the High Court last week. Read their full account here.

It’s very disappointing, as it has been a huge achievement made possible by a lot of hard work by many people, not least Nick Perry.

The campaign so far has raised an amazing £17,500, but the campaign is left with a bill of a little over £22,000, so they are asking for donations to cover the shortfall. All the details about how to contribute are on the Stokey Local site.

Stokey Local has announce there will be a public meeting in the week beginning 3rd November 2014 to review options and consider how to take the campaign forward.

We’ll let you know when we do.

Abney Park & Judicial Review

A couple of quick news items:

Abney Park
Abney Park had a success FUN-draising afternoon, organized by the Abney Park User Group (APUG), Abney Park Trust and Stokey Local. All of the proceeds – over £700 on the day – went to the Stokey Local Fund

The Abney Park Users Group hold regular meetings and are always looking for volunteers to help the Trust with some litter-picking or tidying up and horticulture. Email for more details.

Judicial Review over Wilmer Place Development

The main Judicial Review hearing for the Wilmer Place/Sainsbury’s Development is listed for 14-16 October 2014. If the case is heard in full, we’d expect to hear the Court’s decision around six weeks later.

In the meantime Stokey Local Have been in court on preliminary and procedural matters. Most recently last Friday 19 September in the Court of Appeal to ask to see the secret viability documents that the developer used to say he could only afford to build 9 “affordable” homes (2 of which are “social rent”) out of the 53 he’s building. Hackney Policy, like many councils seeks 50% affordable homes but only 17% are on offer because otherwise, the developer claims, the scheme would be unviable. It a trick that is routinely repeated across the country. And because the documents are self-certified as confidential, we don’t get to scrutinise them.

You can read Nick Perry’s blog post on our day in Court on the Stokey Local website. And for more on what’s wrong with the system of viability read Olly Wainwright’s excellent piece in The Guardian

Sadly, the Court of Appeal didn’t give the campaigners permission to see those documents ahead of the JR. The campaign have to pay some of the costs of the other sides in mounting that Appeal, but they will be relatively modest (and certainly no more than £5,000) as we didn’t go ahead with a full hearing. The appeal was still useful though. It raised some important points and brought some interesting legal arguments forward which will be useful at the Judicial Review.

Stokey Local is also entirely a volunteer run organisation; if you’d like to help out do get in touch. They also need donations. They say:

With almost £17,000 raised already we’ve done very well as a campaign. But even though our team of barristers are working at no cost to us, we need to raise at least £4,000 more to cover a portion of the other sides’ costs if we lose, as well as our incidental court and administrative costs to date.

If you haven’t already donated to the fund or know of others who might want to contribute to our campaign, donations can be made direct in to our bank account (details below). You can email them at to let them know if you make a direct donation.

Account: Stokey Local Community Fund
Sort code: 08-60-01
Account: 20316473


All About Abney The Battle for Wilmer Place Sat 6th September

Saturday 6th September there’s a fun day fundraising event on Saturday 6th September in Abney Park Cemetery from 2-5pm. This is a collaboration between The Abney Park User Group, Abney Park Trust and Stokey Local. Please put the date in your diary and come along if you can. Do encourage your friends, neighbours and social networks to do so as well.

All About Abney

There will be guided walks kicking off at 2pm and 4pm near the main entrance gates on Stoke Newington High Street. Abney’s John Baldock will show you just some of the many treasures of the Park and explain how its future management is being considered by the Council. Arboriculturist and ecologist Russell Miller will show you some of the species that live on the site and explain the effects of the proposed Wilmer Pace development on the park’s rich ecology. Nick Perry of the Hackney Society and Bernard Bourdillon of the Trust will explain how the five storeys of supermarket and housing will negatively impact the built heritage and seclusion of the Cemetery and Stoke Newington Conservation Area.Between 3-4pm we’ll have music and entertainment on a stage near the Stoke Newington High Street entrance.

Throughout the afternoon there will be a host of family-friendly activities including: art workshops, craft demonstrations, a forest school and theatre. Fancy dress is most welcome, so why not dust off the great costumes we saw at the Bug Parade and Zombie March – or surprise us with something totally new.

It should be a fun and informative afternoon for everyone. We’ll have information stalls and a coffee shop (with a proportion of proceeds to the Stokey Local Community Fund) running throughout.

This is an opportunity to find out about the work the Trust does managing Abney Park for us all as a woodland cemetery, a nature reserve, heritage asset and public park. The Abney Park User Group (APUG) represents the interests of all the park’s users and will also be there, helping organise the day and telling people about the sorts of vital volunteer activities they organise in the Park. We’ll also have a Stokey Local stall to give a focus to the fundraising, and offering the chance to donate what you can afford on the day (especially if you have not had a chance before) or pledge a donation by bank transfer.

We’re specifically targeting this event at those who don’t know about the campaign or how the development will affect Abney; and to highlight the hidden treasures of Abney and the many activities and events that go in the Park for the benefit of Londoners far and wide.

Our friends and supporters at St Paul’s Church, on the High St and Evering Rd, are having a grand re-opening of the West Hackney Recreation Ground and Churchyard from noon till 3:30 on the same day. They’ll have a picnic (bring some food to share or buy some at the adjacent Farmers’ Market), music and free workshops. So why not make a day of it, and visit the market and West Rec before coming to Abney for our event? For more details, visit

Aside from the fun on the day, there is a serious point to all of this. Donations and any profits from the day are being donated directly to the Stokey Local Community Fund. The fund’s objective is to back the two Judicial Reviews and legal appeals that Nick Perry is pursuing with Stokey Local’s support. These challenge the granting of two identical planning permissions by Hackney Council which are due to be heard in at the Royal Courts of Justice on 14-16 October 2014. Over 400 people have already donated to the fund and raised an impressive £16,800. We still need to raise up to another £4,000 to cover possible further legal and professional costs. Our expert barristers are kindly working at no cost to the campaign, but if we lose we’ll have to pay our opponents’ legal costs (currently capped at £15,000) plus our own solicitors fee and incidental costs.

We are also looking for volunteers to help the day run smoothly, both before and on Saturday 6th September itself. There is a range of things you can do to get involved and help support the day:

  • Talk to your neighbours and friends, encourage everyone to come along.
  • Download and print off the poster (designed by Abney woodworker, Joseph Bloor) and put it up in a window or on a door and give copies to local shops and businesses.
  • Download and email the flyer to your friends and social network. Or download the print version of the flyer for printing out on paper.
  • Distribute the latest Campaign leaflet and flyers in your area. With a lot of people away on holiday at the moment, it would be a great help if you could spare an hour or two for this.
  • Help distribute flyers on the day at Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market at St Paul’s West Hackney, and along the High Street and Church Street.
  • Help with arrangements on the day – setting up (late morning) and/or marshalling 1.30-5pm (high-viz jacket provided)
If you would like to help, please e-mail you name and contact number to, together with your address for leaflets, posters and flyers (so we can put you in touch with the right area co-ordinator for your ward).We look forward to seeing you on the day and hope you have a great time with your friends, family and neighbours. And all in a good cause!

Spread the word

We will keep you updated about the Stokey Local Campaign, but in the meantime, feel free to share this newsletter with friends, family, neighbours etc, and share it on Facebook/Twitter etc.

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