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West London Regeneration Receives High Court Blessing

Published: 09 October 2013, in categories: Legal Updates | Commercial Property Updates | News and Updates

In a case of vital significance to the future shape of a substantial tranche of West London, residents groups have failed in a wide-ranging legal attack on ambitious plans for the regeneration of the Earl's Court and West Kensington areas.

The High Court’s decision opened the way for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to press ahead with plans that have been long in the making but faced fierce opposition from two residents associations, together representing about 1,700 people living on housing estates which face demolition as part of the enormous project.

The Court upheld the lawfulness of the Earl's Court and West Kensington Opportunity Area Joint Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which detailed the proposals and which the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority proposed to adopt as supplementary planning guidance.

The resident associations had pleaded without success that incorrect procedures had been followed and that the SPD should have been prepared as an area action plan under Regulation 6 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004.

Submissions that the councils had erred in their approach to the provision of affordable housing within the overall scheme and that the SPD was at odds with the area's existing development plan in its provisions for social housing were also dismissed.

The Court did find that the councils had failed in their duty to make available for public inspection a single, compendious statement of the reasons for their decision that a full strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of the proposals was not required. However, the Court found that quashing the SPD on that ground alone would be ‘draconian’ and instead made a mandatory order requiring the councils to publish statements that complied with the relevant regulations.

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