We understand that Hackney Council officers are proposing to recommend acceptance of the Wilmer Place development (the Sainsbury store with housing estate on top). We are alarmed at this proposal for a number of reasons.
The first is transport.
The adverse impact of the development on the High St and it’s very important bus stops. The area is already too congested to contend with the additional flow of customers, the cyclists, the illegal dropping off and picking up. While the developer is not directly responsible for illegal behaviour of car users, design is supposed to mitigate illegal behaviour.
Abney Park is very likely to get SSSI status in the near future. The development clashes with a range of ecological policies, and if approval is rubber stamped, then this may give rise to a Judicial Review of the decision.
• LDF CS Policy 26 Open Space Network- commitment to increase open space and connectivity between spaces (also Development Management Plan DM31)
Wilmer Place is 0.5 Ha of open space including some very high quality green space.
• LDF CS Policy 27 Biodiversity and Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan
If this development is permitted to damage the most important reserve in the borough then CS27 is utterly meaningless.
• There has been no Environmental Impact Assessment as is required for developments over 0.5 Ha in sensitive locations (Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (SI 293 1999))
• BS5837 - British Standard for managing trees on or near development sites
All veteran trees are of the highest value (A3) and are especially sensitive to change. The developer's tree survey grades Abney poplars C1, i.e. low value. This is clearly inaccurate.
The committee is being asked to make a decision without sufficient evidence. There is a need for a better report on Ecology and Environmental impact. There needs to be a proper model and better views. The committee need to see precisely how high this building will be and how it impacts on the cemetery. They need to see a model on pedestrian flow around those tight bus stops and new cycle stands.
Ultimately this development is too large, too intrusive, too complicated, and too unproven for the council to reach the view that the demonstrable negative impacts outweigh the negligible positive benefits: (a modest number of low paid, mainly part-time jobs, and some expensive accommodation).