Sadly, our court battle against the Wilmer Place development has come to an end. On Tuesday 21 April the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Terence Etherton, decided our appeal against a previous High Court judgement would be unlikely to succeed. So the legal process ends here.
Obviously we are disappointed, and our legal team were shocked that their solid arguments, although praised by the judge, were rejected.
But this isn't a time to be downhearted. Even though we've lost this specific battle, our continued tenacity and vigilance could still win the war. Things have changed a lot in the four years since we started our campaign, and supermarkets are no longer quite as enthusiastic about opening big stores as they used to be. Today Sainsbury's confirmed it no longer has a lease on the site â€“ which could mean the development is shelved after all. If we've waited our opponents out until they change their minds, that's a massive victory. And we've achieved a lot anyway, by bringing the community together, revealing the injustices of the planning process and giving local people, businesses and wildlife vital extra years without this harmful development on their doorstep.
For more details of the legal wrangling, including yet another shocking revelation of Hackney Council's culture of secrecy, obfuscation, defensiveness, digging-in and capitulation with the developer, read Nick Perry's blog on the Stokey Local website.
So what next?
If Sainsbury's are no longer be interested in the site, the developer may be looking to sell it on â€“ which may mean another planning application. Let's hope our campaign has persuaded the next developer to genuinely engage the local community in their plans next time. If not, watch this space!
Time for a meeting!
We've raised nearly Â£34,000 since we launched the campaign and as a result of court orders limiting our costs and our lawyers working for free or reduced cost, we should come away with a few hundred pounds left in the bank account, once the bills are in. No doubt we'll need this for the next round in the battle.
But in the meantime we need to take stock of our achievements and decide what we do next, and I daresay, answer a few questions.
We'll be holding a public meeting at 7pm on Monday 11 May 2015 at St Paul's West Hackney Church, on the High Street, at the junctions of Evering and Amhurst Roads. All are welcome.
In the meantime, you've been amazing!
We haven't mailed you in a while. Sorry about that. The developments in the campaign were mostly legal, but since last we wrote to you, we've had some superb fundraising activities.
#LoveN16 Our antidote to Valentines' Dinners sold out, in just a few days â€“ we had to squeeze extra seats in! The event exceeded our best expectations. We raised around Â£2,000 clear profit thanks to the huge generosity of our suppliers and volunteers. We're hoping to repeat the idea every year in aid of a different local cause. If you came and took pictures please send them our way for our Facebook album.
If you've been forwarded this email or haven't been following the campaign recently you might like to find out more about our campaign to resist a mixed development comprising a large supermarket and 53 luxury flats, hard by Abney Park Cemetery. The development, by dint of its scale and position, will damage the local ecology, seclusion, heritage and trade. It offers only 9 "affordable" flats and a supermarket to add to 45 that are already within 1.8 miles of the site.
We took our battle to the High Court, but lost in 2014 and were refused permission to appeal, but the delay apparently caused the principal tenant, Sainsbury's, to pull out. You can read more about our fight on our website.
It doesn't look like the battle is over â€“ we're keeping an eye on developments and are hopeful that we'll get a better outcome for the site and the local community.