Ocado bid to open delivery depot near Archway primary school under renewed scrutiny

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van in south west London. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van in south west London. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

An online supermarket firm’s bid to build a delivery hub next to an Archway primary school is under renewed scrutiny due to an apparent planning issue.

Nocado campaigners have put a dossier to the council concerning the previous use of the Bush Industrial Estate site, which borders Yerbury Primary School.

It alleges Ocado’s landlords Telereal should not have been granted a lawful development certificate for the Bush Industrial Estate Site in April last year, arguing it should be revoked.

The certificate classified the site as B8, for storage and distribution, green-lighting Telereal’s leaseholder, Ocado, to run its proposed delivery hub.

Nocado claims it can prove the site has not been consistently used for “storage and distribution” purposes from 1992 to when the application was made in February 2019. If correct, this would likely have led to the council rejecting the application.

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A letter from Islington Council’s acting director of law and governance, Peter Fehler, to Telereal and, as an interested party, Ocado, states: “The council sought leading counsel advice on [the dossier’s] contents. He has concluded that, if the material in the pack and the inferences drawn from that information are correct, then there would appear to be justification for revocation.”

An Islington Council spokesperson said: “We have written to Telereal Trillium and Ocado about the certificate of lawful use for the site and await their response. We will consider that response before making any decisions on the lawful use of the site.”

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Telereal declined to comment.

Neighbours and parents involved with the Nocado campaign have been fighting Ocado’s separate planning application to develop the delivery depot.

The firm initially wanted diesel pumps to serve its fleet of vans. Nocado argued the resulting pollution would be harmful for schoolchildren.

But Ocado has confirmed it hs secured a deal with UK Power networks to deliver a power upgrade on-site, enabling it to use electric vans, subject to planning permission for the upgrade.

It says it no longer wants the diesel pumps.

A spokesperson said: “Our plan [is] to operate the site with 100 per cent electric Ocado vans, from its outset. This will see us invest in one of the largest electric van fleets in the country which will revolutionise the way we deliver groceries in the borough and mean that our overall emissions in Islington and the surrounding areas will fall.”

But a Nocado spokesperson said: “We reiterate our case that the site is completely unsuitable for this depot and we applaud the council for initiating the revocation process.”

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