Residents blast plans for Ocado distribution centre by primary school

Residents blast plans for Ocado distribution centre by primary school

05/05/2021

Residents blast plans for Ocado distribution centre close to primary school in north London as retail giant begins court battle over council’s decision to revoke certificate

  • The online shop wants to open a centre at Bush Industrial Estate in Tufnell Park
  • Pupils and teachers from the nearby Yerbury Primary School are protesting
  • Ocado is taking legal action against Islington Council over its decision reversal 

Residents are protesting against the upmarket retail giant Ocado for its plans to set up a storage and distribution centre next to a London primary school. 

Schoolchildren gathered outside the High Court on Wednesday ahead of a bid by the online supermarket to overturn a council’s decision to revoke a certificate for the facility in a residential area of north London. 

Ocado is taking legal action against Islington Council over its reversal of approval for use of the site at Bush Industrial Estate in Tufnell Park.

Pupils from Yerbury Primary School hold a banner aloft reading ‘Nocado’ outside the High Court in London on Wednesday

Residents are protesting against the upmarket retail giant Ocado for its plans to set up a storage and distribution centre next to a London primary school

Schoolchildren gathered outside the High Court on Wednesday ahead of a bid by the online supermarket to overturn a council’s decision to revoke a certificate for the facility

Residents and school staff say the proposals would endanger pupils due to high levels of pollution

Pupils from Yerbury Primary stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice before the case, chanting ‘Hey, Ocado, leave our school alone’ while holding placards reading ‘No noise, no pollution, no Ocado’ and ‘Education over Convenience’.

In 2019 the council granted property company Telereal Trillium Ltd (TT) a certificate of lawful development for the site and the court heard that Ocado went into a lease agreement for the units that year having ‘relied upon the certificate as conclusive evidence that its intended use of the premises was lawful’.

But the council said ‘false information’ had been provided by TT and ‘material information (was) withheld’ with regard to the nature and extent of the plan and the nature of the use and occupation between 1992 and 2019.

The local authority said the ‘totality of the picture painted was of a single planning unit, occupied throughout as such’ and that ‘each part of that factual analysis was central to the application and was flawed’. 

Pupils from Yerbury Primary stood outside the Royal Courts of Justice before the case on Wednesday

They chanted ‘Hey, Ocado, leave our school alone’ while holding placards reading ‘No noise, no pollution, no Ocado’ and ‘Education over Convenience’

The court heard that Ocado went into a lease agreement with property company Telereal Trillium Ltd (TT) for the units in 2019

Locals known as the Concerned Residents of Tufnell Park oppose use of the units ‘by anyone in an unrestricted manner’. 

In a court document they cited concerns about the ‘inevitable effects of the resulting development, particularly the impacts of (most critically) engine fumes but also of noise, light, other forms of pollution and traffic intensification, residential amenity, and on the health and wellbeing of the 450 primary school children who attend Yerbury Primary School’.

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss said the site is opposite the school ‘literally along the whole length of our playground’.

Speaking outside court ahead of the hearing, she said: ‘It’s about health, it’s about pollution, it’s about air quality and it’s also about noise pollution.

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss said the site is opposite the school ‘literally along the whole length of our playground’

The head teacher said there had been ‘so much work’ done in recent years to improve air quality around the school and the outdoor environment for the children

‘We’re a 120-year-old building and our classrooms look directly over the site.’

She said there had been ‘so much work’ done in recent years to improve air quality around the school and the outdoor environment for the children.

‘If Ocado come in, in one swoop all of that work is undone.’

A spokesperson for Ocado said the site would be ‘one of the greenest and quietest grocery facilities in the UK’ thanks to its fleet of 100 per cent electric vans. 

The hearing is expected to last a day and a half. 

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