Court rules Hammersmith & Fulham broke the law over 212-home scheme
Lawyers promise to block H&F regen plans
Lawyers representing shopkeepers have promised a further legal challenge if a London council tries to push on with a controversial regeneration scheme.
Local shopkeepers won a case against Hammersmith and Fulham Council in the High Court last Friday. A judge ruled Hammersmith & Fulham Council broke the law when pushing through a 212-home development which would have involved the demolition of a number of shops.
The flagship Conservative council was found not to have followed procedures when drawing up the plans for the regeneration of Shepherd’s Bush Market in west London.
Shopkeepers successfully argued that a planning document drawn up by the council was incorrectly designated as a supplementary planning document, rather than a development plan document, which applies to larger schemes and requires secretary of state approval. Judge Mr Justice Wilkie quashed the SPD as a result.
The council has nevertheless pledged to press on with the scheme. A spokesperson for the authority said a planning application approved in February was valid as it was judged against the core strategy and not the quashed SPD. This is despite the authority arguing in court that there would be ‘inconsistency and confusion’ if the SPD were to be quashed.
Michael Webster, of law firm Webster Dixon, which represented the shopkeepers, has now invited the council to withdraw the application on the basis the core strategy is no longer valid as it refers to an SPD which no longer exists.
Mr Webster said the decision to award planning permission will be challenged in court if it is not withdrawn.
He said: ‘The decision of Mr Justice Wilkie is a damning indictment of the council’s planning practices and procedures.’
The council’s core strategy outlines plans for 22,000 new homes in three ‘opportunity areas’ and includes a controversial 7,500-home scheme in Earls Court.
A spokesperson for the council said it is considering its options but the regeneration would still go ahead.