“We found a site with existing planning consent and our intention is to use it within the parameters of that existing consent.” – Neil Abrams, Ocado General Counsel, Yerbury School Public meeting 28/01/20
You would be forgiven reading this for believing that Ocado simply happened across the site behind the school and that just happened to have storage & distribution rights.
Also Neil Abrams at that same public meeting:
“Ian’s team are scouring London, scouring the country for suitable sites all the time. We tried to get this land ten years ago.”
And, in reference to the site:
“For the last two years it’s been empty. And for the six years before that, very sporadically occupied.”
Ocado had, in fact, intimate knowledge of the site stretching back several years.
In April 2019 the site’s owner, Telereal Trillium applied to the Council for a storage & distribution certificate. As has been shown, Telereal misrepresented the site’s use to the Council, falsely claiming it had always been used for storage & distribution when it had not.
Ocado’s original intention was to install three diesel petrol pumps just yards from the school nursery. During the brief period of schooling before the summer, Ocado continually disrupted the children’s education by repeatedly breaching noise conditions.
Why does this matter? It goes to the question of Ocado’s character and behaviour.
Ocado have stated in recent press releases that they are “committed to being the best possible occupant of the site at Tufnell Park”.
Words are cheap. Ocado’s actions, and the actions of their landlords in fact show staggering cynicism and contempt towards the community.
Perhaps fearing a planning refusal again as in Sutton, Ocado and Telereal tried to use a backdoor route onto the site. It is thanks to the dedication and determination of the community that they were found out.
From the outset Ocado and Telereal have acted with complete disregard for the children and the community. They attempted no consultation with the school or the parent body or wider community on their plans.
Ocado have put the community, the school and the children of Yerbury through enough in what has already been an incredibly difficult year.
Aside from the obvious effects of air pollution and noise on children’s health and education, Ocado and Telereal have shown they cannot be trusted.
We will be watching the site very closely to ensure Ocado do not breach the Revocation order.
If Ocado choose to ignore the protests of the children and community and try to force this depot through, we will mobilse again against this outrageous development.
An intensive 24/7 industrial distribution hub has no place next to a school and homes.
We ask now that Ocado and their partners Marks & Spencer finally show the children and the community the respect lacking so far and formally withdraw this dangerous depot.