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Friday, 13 July 2012

Wilmer Place: local employment opportunities


Following yesterday's letter on housing, Labour Councillors in Stoke Newington Central, Lordship and Clissold wards have today written an open letter to Sainsbury's calling on the company to maximise employment and training opportunities for local residents and to set what support they will offer to local business if the proposed development at Wilmer Place goes ahead.

Below is a copy of the text of the letter that has been sent.

Sainsbury’s has estimated that the proposed store would create up to 150 new jobs. However, it has not been clear whether this is the total number of individual jobs, or the total number of full time equivalent jobs.

If the development is approved, we want to see as many of these jobs as possible offered to local people. We also think that there is a valuable opportunity to provide local jobs during the construction phase.

The provision of local labour and construction is one of a number of ‘Planning Contributions’ (like affordable housing) that will be negotiated and agreed as part of the planning process.

We are pleased that Sainsbury’s has committed to a “local labour agreement” which is a written commitment between employers, investors or developers and Councils to recruit and train residents from a particular local area for some or all jobs. The letter calls for this agreement to include a commitment for Sainsbury's to provide the maximum number of jobs as possible for local people.

Copy of the Letter to Sainsbury's:

13 July 2012

Dear Mr King,

RE: Proposed Development of Wilmer Place, Stoke Newington

Following the second public display of the plans for the Wilmer Place development we are pleased that many of the issues we raised last year have been taken on board. However, there are still a number of important issues and concerns that we would like to see addressed.

1. Local Employment Opportunities
At the public exhibition it was estimated that the proposed new Sainsbury’s store in Stoke Newington would create up to 150 new jobs. However, it is still not clear whether this is the total number of individual jobs, or the total number of full time equivalent jobs.

We are pleased that Sainsbury’s has committed to a local labour agreement - a written commitment between employers, investors or developers and Councils to recruit and train residents from a particular local area for some or all jobs. Whilst we are aware that negotiations around this will form part of the planning process, we want to stress the importance of this agreement including the maximum number of jobs as possible for local people. It would also be helpful if you could set out what training and development opportunities will be available and how you will ensure that these are offered to local people.

Furthermore, we think that there is a valuable opportunity to provide local jobs and training opportunities during the construction phase. We urge you and the developer, Newmark Properties, to ensure that this opportunity is made available to Stoke Newington residents.

2. Support for Local Business
Hackney planning policy states that the Council should encourage a diverse range of developments within its major and district centres, including Stoke Newington. These developments are required to enhance the environmental quality of the area and to resist the loss of shops.

As you know, Stoke Newington is home to a successful and diverse independent retail and evening economy, which is complemented by more affordable provision on the High Street. We would like more detail from you on what assessment you have made of the impact your new store will have on local businesses, and what support you can give to local shops in Stoke Newington who could lose potentially lose business as a result of the new store.

We look forward to receiving your response on these two issues.

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