The saga over the Wilmer Place development took a new twist this week with the news that Marks & Spencer had submitted an offer for the site in Stoke Newington.
According to documents published online by Kingsbury, the agents selling the building, “an offer from Marks and Spencer PLC to occupy a new retail unit of 11,500 sq ft” has been received.
A Marks & Spencer spokesperson said: “We are always looking for new store locations and can confirm that we have an interest in the Stoke Newington area. However we have no further details to report at present.”
The site was put back on the market in April after Sainsbury’s pulled out following a four-year legal battle with residents over the site.
A campaign group called Stokey Local was founded over fears of the impact of the Sainsbury’s multi-storey supermarket on small businesses and the environmental damage it would cause to the adjoining Abney Park cemetery.
Russell Miller, the chairman of the Abney Park User Group, had written an ecological appraisal of the site. He said: “We outlasted Sainsbury’s. The economics of supermarkets have changed.”
The new Marks & Spencer, he continued, didn’t pose the same environmental risks.
Stokey Local spokesman Nick Perry said: “Any Marks & Spencer store would occupy just a quarter of the size of the Sainsbury’s.
“Its environmental impact is substantially smaller. It has almost no effect on Abney but could harm the ‘grain’ of the shopfronts on Stoke Newington High Street.
“It doesn’t supply anything the area needs but just takes more market share away from the local stores.”
Kingsbury are yet to respond to the offer from Marks & Spencer.