Friday, 25 May 2012
Some breaking, and if true, sensational news from the Goldhawk Road Traders who looked set to be demolished by our Council and property developers Orion. As the 'last chances' were demolished one by one the judicial review into the way in which our Council has behaved over the issue looked set to be the last chance saloon.
Writing earlier this morning on the Facebook page leading campaigner Aniza Meghani, who I interviewed for the guardian here, has said this:
"Yipeeeeeeeeeeeee! yabadabadoooooo! WE HAVE WON! We would like to thank you all for yr wonderful support, prayers, motivation and enthusiasm, in keeping up with this case. We the Goldhawk Road Traders, would like to thank firstly, to the three Angels of Shepherd's Bush, who came into our shops almost 2yrs ago and informed us that we were to be demolished. They are, Coll, Kimi and Elaine. Their guidance and support has led us to where we are today. Also our special thanks to Sarah Gates, for putting up this Facebook page up. We would like to THANK OUR LAWYER AND HIS LEGAL TEAM, Michael Webster of WEBSTER DIXON LLP, OUR QC GREGORY JONES AND WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK LORD JUSTICE WILKIE FOR RESTORING FAITH IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM. ONEC AGAIN, THANK YOU ALL XXX"
Well, that's pretty clear. It looks like our Council's determination to ride roughshod over local people has been pole-axed once again by the little people who just wouldn't lie down and see their livelihoods and the character of the Bush bulldozed. You can see Aniza's determination in the video above when she first doesn't sit down and shut up as our Assembly Member Kit Malthouse was trying to get her to do, and then puts Boris on the spot. We later found out his expression of regret was less than sincere since he himself had signed the papers giving the scheme the go-ahead and must have known this as he was answering Aniza's questions.
I understand that the ruling means that the knocking down of their buildings cannot now go ahead.
It also gives new Council Leader Nick Botterill, who inherits this mess from outgoing Leader Stephen Greenhalgh, the opportunity to take a fresh look at how these people have been treated thus far. I hope he takes it.
More details soon. You know where you read it first. And I plan on going along to the inevitable victory party in the sun - see you there!!!
1100 UPDATE: Details of the Court decision:
High Court ruling to overturn a decision of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to adopt a Supplementary Development Plan (SDP) for the regeneration of the Shepherd’s Bush Market in West London.
The 13 successful claimants are freehold or leasehold owners of various trading premises between 30-52 Goldhawk Road which is a terrace of shops, cafes and restaurants fronting onto the Goldhawk Road in Shepherd’s Bush. Although the Goldhawk Road shops were not part of the market they were set to be demolished as part of the regeneration of the area which included the building of over 200 flats by the property developer, Orion. Mr Justice Wilkie quashed the decision of the Council to adopt the SDP on the grounds of:
(i)That its decision was procedurally flawed in that it failed to follow the proper procedure for adopting a Development Planning Document (DPD).
(ii)It is procedurally flawed in that adopting a document that was a DPD failed to conduct a sustainability assessment.
(iii)Whether or not the document was a DPD or an SPD the decision to adopt it on 27 October 2010 was procedurally flawed because it failed to apply its mind to whether an environmental assessment was required before adopting it, pursuant to the 2004 Environmental Assessment Regulations.
1215 UPDATE - Some emotional reactions from the traders:
Aniza Meghani, the owner of Classic Textiles Limited stated
“Our victory is a vindication of our objections to the Council’s plans to incorporate our shops into a redevelopment that is disproportionate, ill conceived and that has not been subject to proper public scrutiny. The High Court has ruled decisively in our favour that the Council has acted unlawfully in trying to push through their plans without the proper scrutiny required for a development that would undoubtedly be of significant change to the area and involve the demolition of our shops. Many of our businesses have been established for decades and it has never been our wish to be part of the regeneration scheme as we are not part on the market. It is our intention to continue with our fight to retain our shops and we will seek to challenge the existing planning permission and also to have that quashed or otherwise withdrawn. This Council has a reputation for not listening to the people that it serves and clearly had its own agenda in seeking avoid full public scrutiny of its redevelopment plans.”
Michael Boughton, the owner of the famous of Cooke’s Pie and Mash shop, stated
“The court’s decision is a clear message to the council that small independent shopkeepers should not be ignored when they have genuine concerns about regeneration plans that directly impact their business. The irony is that our parade of shops does not form part of the market yet the council felt the need to demolish buildings without considering any viable alternatives. The pie and mash shop been located on the same site for 113 years and is part of the historical fabric of Goldhawk Road. We are not against regeneration where it is appropriate but the council’s plans were never about the redevelopment of the market, but the building of 200 flats with their preferred developer Orion. Let’s hope my shop will continue to exist for the next 100 years.”
Michael Webster, a Partner in the firm of Webster Dixon representing the Claimants said
“the decision of Mr Justice Wilkie is a damning indictment of the Council’s planning practices and procedures; even one of the grounds would have been enough to quash the decision however the Judge found in our favour on three grounds. Despite several warnings the Council continued to plough on with their unlawful policy of the regeneration of the market. In our view the purpose of the regeneration was not the market itself but the development of 200 flats for which the developer Orion stands to make millions of pounds. The Council has in reality used the SPD procedure to prepare a policy which ought properly to have been subjected to a more detailed examination and public scrutiny, circumventing the more time consuming and expensive procedures attached to DPDs and its adoption is as a consequence, unlawful. The Council should now reconsider its position to ensure that it complies with its lawful obligations to allow proper public scrutiny and consultation of its regeneration policies.”
1730 UPDATE - Well our Council have gone into full spin mode putting out an article on their own website that appears to be written as if the court decision was just a silly old bit of jackanapes and we can all carry on as normal anyway, can't we? Here's what a spokesperson told me this afternoon:
"This judgement does not affect the regeneration plans or the legality of the recently issued planning consent. The Shepherds Bush Market regeneration scheme represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hugely improve the market and surrounding area. It will increase retail expenditure by more than £3million a year and will create numerous new jobs. The vast majority of Shepherds Bush residents support these plans along with many of the market traders. The Goldhawk Road businesses have been offered a fantastic deal by the developer, including the chance to return to new, larger shop units on the Goldhawk Road.”
Er, sorry matey, I'm afraid that's not true. The Council are now relying on the technicality that they also used another document which was not subject to the Courts' deliberations. So ner-ner Judge we'll knock 'em down anyway.
Their problem is that the traders have also got lawyers behind them (now being paid by our Council since they were forced to pay the traders legal fees for having lost) and their legal understanding is very different. Here's what one of them told me late this afternoon:
"they can't go ahead, because there are [now] no plans to guide them. although Orion has submitted planning application, we are going to court on that to be squashed too. In reality, the borough has no plans to guide them anymore so they have to start the whole process again".
The Council will counter that they've been advised by their lawyers that they can. The problem is that those are the same lawyers who just lost a case, so I know which ones I'd believe.
So ner-ner back H&F - now then, how about listening to people instead of property developers?
MONDAY UPDATE - Planning Magazine, which specialises in, well, guess what - has also agreed with the traders view of what the court ruling means, contrary to our Council's spin. Here's what they have to say:
On Friday, Mr Justice Wilkie ruled that in preparing the document the council failed to follow the proper procedure for adopting such an important policy document.
He said that the council failed to identify the document in advance as an "area action plan", and that as a result failed to consider whether it was in accordance with the existing development plan for the area.
And he found that it failed to apply its mind to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment should be carried out prior to adopting the document on 27 October 2010.
As a result, the council will be forced to reconsider the matter, potentially placing a stumbling block in the way of the redevelopment, for which outline planning permission has since been granted to developer Orion Shepherd’s Bush Ltd.
The ruling could prove a setback if and when Orion seeks to secure full permission to proceed with its plans.
Posted by Chris Underwood at 10:23