High Court challenge for Earl’s Court plans

by vgm8383/Flickr

West Kensington & Gibbs Green Tenants & Residents Associations (Claimants) have launched legal proceedings in the High Court of Justice against the planning policy underpinning the Earl’s Court scheme.

Residents allege that the adoption of the Earl’s Court/West Kensington Supplementary Planning Document by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and by the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (Defendants) was unlawful. The Court is requested to declare the adoption unlawful and to quash the decisions. The claim was served also on Interested Parties: EC Properties; Transport for London; and the Mayor of London’s Office/ Greater London Authority.

Michael Webster, a partner in the City firm Webster Dixon representing the Claimants states:

“The Defendants have failed to follow the correct procedures in adopting their regeneration plans despite receiving several warnings from residents and others that their actions were unlawful. There is an overwhelming objection by the residents   to the demolition of their homes for the sake of a private development. The protection of family homes and the welfare of individuals, many of whom are vulnerable, should not be sacrificed for the profits of a billion pound developer.”

Gregory Jones QC and Sarah Sackman of Francis Taylor Building Chambers (Barristers) have been instructed by Webster Dixon to represent the Claimants. The Claimants have requested a Judicial Review on the grounds:

Ground 1 – The Earl’s Court “SPD” policy document is in substance an Area Action Plan (AAP) and as such is a development plan document (‘DPD’) for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004 (‘the 2004 Regulations’).

Ground 2 – By endorsing the conclusions of the Estates Regeneration Economic Appraisal (EREA), which assessed four different development options all of which were in breach of strategic planning policy for failing to meet affordable housing targets, the Defendants acted unlawfully and/or took into account an irrelevant consideration and further acted unlawfully and irrationally in adopting a supplementary planning policy which was in conflict with adopted planning policy and/or failed to give cogent reasons for departing from policy.

Ground 3 – Breach of s.149 Equality Act 2010 and/or failure to take into account material considerations about the impacts of the proposed plans on protected groups, particularly, black and minority ethnic individuals.

Ground 4 – Unlawful failure to consider the need to replace the social housing lost to the estates’ demolition in breach of the LBHF core strategy.

Ground 5 – Multiple breaches of the SEA Directive and the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/1633).

By Teri Pengilley

Sally Taylor (above right), Chair of West Kensington Tenants & Residents Association, and Diana Belshaw (above left), Chair of Gibbs Green Tenants & Residents Association said: “This is a close knit community; there’s nothing wrong with our homes; we won’t be bullied into demolition. The Council’s planning policy is not only immoral; now we have asked the High Court of Justice to declare it unlawful.”

Sir John Skynner 1723-1805 Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer of Pleas, 1786, by Thomas Gainsborough



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