High Court calls for hearing into Earls Court redevelopment policy

A
High Court Judge has called for a hearing into the policy document
underpinning Earls Court’s redevelopment after local residents issued a
legal challenge against the councils who approved it.

Local
residents, represented by the West Kensington Estate Tenants and
Residents and Gibbs Green and Dieppe Close Tenants and Residents
Associations, launched a legal challenge in June against council adoption of the Supplement Planning Document (SPD), the planning guideline supporting the Earls Court masterplan scheme, claiming it was unlawful.

The
call for a judicial review was filed against London Borough of
Hammersmith and Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea,
with interested parties listed as EC Properties, Greater London
Authority and Transport for London.

In
his decision filed on 11 October, High Court judge Sycamore voted in
favour of the residents and recommended the case against the councils to
a hearing. 

“The
question as to what constitutes a development plan document and the
lawfulness of the defendants’ masterplan for the area in question is
clearly arguable and should be considered at a substantive hearing,” the
judge’s decision stated.

“There
is merit in proceeding on all of the grounds, with the exception of
Ground 3 [Breach of Public Sector Equalities Duties and/or failure to
take into account a material consideration] which the claimants have
indicated they no longer intend to pursue.”

The Judge also dismissed claims from the Defendants and Interested Parties
that the claim was not filed promptly and should therefore be refused.

“The
claim was issued within three months and the explanation advance by the
claimants together with the lack of any evidence that it would be
unfair or unreasonable to proceed persuades me that permission should be
granted,” Judge Sycamore said.

Local resident and community campaign organiser Jonathan Rosenberg was delighted by the news.

“The
High Court actions are queuing up like planes on the flight path into
Heathrow,” Rosenberg claimed. “Thanks to this judgement, the rate at
which we are bleeding the Earl’s Court scheme to death has increased
from £1.5 to £2m a month.”

The
Defendants now have 35 days to contest the claim, while the claimants
have 21 days to lodge any further evidence and 28 days to file and serve
a trial bundle.

A
spokesperson for Capital and Counties, the developer leading the Earls
Court redevelopment scheme, was unable to comment at time of press.

Got a story for Conference News? Email us: conferencenews@mashmedia.net

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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