This afternoon, we heard that we lost in court. We lost this stage, but we have some options and must consider what we do next. Whatever we decide, we've achieved a lot getting this far.
After three days of hearing in the High Court, the judge took less than a week to reach her final judgment. In it she gave us little credit and has roundly dismissed both claims on all grounds. That's quite a comprehensive drubbing. But also quite bizarre. Over 46 pages of judgement the Judge doesn't really engage with the matters of law and simply dismisses some arguments as "unrealistic". To some that will seem to be taking pragmatism beyond the realms of what is acceptable in law. The undemocratic planning system with its near-impenetrable quirks has won again.
This is obviously hugely disappointing.
We need to reflect on our options now and meet with all our supporters, within the next fortnight, to discuss where the great community we've nurtured goes from here and where we put our energies.
In the immediate future we'll likely be facing a bill of Â£22,000 or more â€” we'll get more exact figures soon. We have only Â£17,500 in the bank and need to fund the shortfall, so do please give generously if you can. See below for our bank details.
There are potential further legal avenues, and our legal team will consider those in time for when we all meet. We'll need to properly digest the implications â€” for cost, effectiveness and likelihood of success.
But for now, let's not forget the underlying achievements. We did something amazingâ€¦
We got organised; we got enthusiastic; we proved how much we love Stoke Newington; we focused on what was important; we found consensus; we fought for positive change.
Ultimately we won big concessions. Not nearly as many as we wanted but very important ones - a store that's a third smaller; one less storey; set back a little further from Abney Park; and two flats for social rent. Thirty-odd businesses and another thirty-odd people were able to stay for longer in their truly affordable premises.
We've revitalised community interest in Abney Park; there's greater and more active support for the Trust and the Abney Park Users Group.
We'll organise a public meeting for the week commencing 3 November. We'll get back to everyone with a date and time early next week. In the meantime, and especially if you know you won't be able to make a meeting, reflect, then let us have your thoughts.
But make some time to pat yourself on the back and raise a glass to our achievements and spirit!
Having lost in the High Court we face immediate "adverse" costs of at least Â£22,000. Whilst we have an impressive Â£17,500 in the bank, we need donations to cover that shortfall of around Â£4,500.
If we launch an appeal we may need to raise a further Â£12,500 to cover the current shortfall and the appeal. We'll discuss this at the public meeting, but the current shortfall of Â£4,500 needs to be raised regardless.
Please give generously, if you can afford to do so. If you do make a donation, please email us to let us know.
Account: Stokey Local Community Fund Sort code: 08-60-01 Account: 20316473