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Parents win key victory in fight to stop Ocado hub beside school in north London

Jonathan Prynn
·2-min read
Concerned: children wear face masks and wave placards in protest
Concerned: children wear face masks and wave placards in protest

Parents campaigning against a proposed new delivery hub for Ocado close to a primary school have claimed a major victory after the local council made a key ruling against the plans for the site.

Islington council said it has revoked the “lawful development certificate” for the depot at the Bush Industrial Estate, which Ocado hoped to use for its new same-day delivery service for Marks & Spencer. The scheme infuriated parents at nearby Yerbury Primary School in Tufnell Park, who claimed traffic and fumes from diesel vans and pumps posed a threat to the health of 450 children.

Following a legal challenge from the so-called “NOcado” campaign, the local authority’s legal team has written to the landlords of the site, property giant Telereal Trillium, to inform them that some of the information submitted with the application about the past land use of the site “was false”.

The ruling was welcomed by parents and staff, who called on Ocado to halt the plans and apologise to the school.

A statement on NOcado’s website said: “The revocation is a hugely important milestone in the campaign to stop Ocado opening up the damaging 24/7 depot next to the school, but is unlikely to be the end. Ocado may take the council to the High Court to try and overturn the decision or they may put in a fresh planning application, or both.”

Headteacher Cassie Moss said: “While the council’s call to revoke Ocado’s licence is due to the withholding of important information, with the site being just three metres away from the playground of 450 primary school and nursery children, it should never be acceptable to put expansion ahead of community health.”

Andrew Grieve, an air pollution scientist at Imperial College London and a parent at the school, said: “We’ve known for some years now that air and noise pollution can harm children’s physical and mental development. If the Mayor’s green design policies and Islington’s own development guidelines mean anything, this development must be refused to protect the children and residents. Ocado can find another site. The children cannot find another school.”

A spokesperson for Ocado said: “Ocado is committed to being the best possible occupant of the site at Tufnell Park. The area is currently designated as a Locally Significant Industrial Site; our plans ensure it will be one of the greenest and quietest grocery facilities in the UK but we will continue to listen and respond to any concerns.

“We are disappointed by the council’s decision to revoke the site’s certificate of lawfulness and we are considering all options with the landlord.”

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