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Ocado launches legal challenge in depot row

Food delivery giant takes on council over plans for hub near primary school

26 February, 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Parents and campaigners from the NOcado campaign group

FOOD delivery giant Ocado is taking the council to the High Court over the block on its bid to open a new hub in Tufnell Park.

Islington had revoked a licence allowing permission to use a site at the Bush Industrial Estate, near Yerbury Primary School, as a depot last year.

Campaign group NOcado – made up of residents living nearby and families at Yerbury – who fiercely opposed the proposal, are looking to raise £10,000 to take part in the hearing.

They fear delivery vans will create noise and pollution for neighbours and schoolchildren.

Junction ward councillor Sheila Chapman said: “It’s almost as if it hasn’t dawned on them [Ocado] that there is a ­primary school here, there’s a nature reserve here and there’s sheltered housing.

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss

“It’s remarkable, the lack of awareness that they’ve shown throughout, and continue to show. It’s really disappointing.”

She added: “We will keep campaigning, obviously, we’ll keep going. I would like them to do the right thing and negotiate a termination of that lease and recognise that this is the wrong place.”

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss said: “This case should not have to go to the High Court. Putting a 24/7 grocery depot three metres away from a primary school and nursery puts children’s health at risk.”

She said the school are waiting for impact assessments that they requested over a year ago.

Andrew Grieve, an air pollution scientist at Imperial College London and NOcado campaigner, said: “Ocado has shown disdain for the local community throughout this process. We’ve known for years now that air and noise pollution can harm children’s physical and mental development.”

A spokesperson for Ocado said: “Our commitment to a fleet of 100 per cent electric Ocado vans will help ensure the site is one of the greenest and quietest grocery facilities in the UK. At a time when delivering groceries to households has never mattered more, we are committed to being the best possible occupant of the Bush Industrial Estate, which is designated as a ‘Locally Significant Industrial Site’.”

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