Earls Court legal challenge described as 'absurd'
Wednesday January 23, 2013
A judge has thrown out a legal challenge that threatened £1billion worth of community benefits to North Fulham and Earls Court, describing it as ‘absurd’.
West Kensington Estate resident Harold Greatwood, applied to court to launch a judicial review of Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council's decision to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement with EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider regeneration of Earls Court. He challenged the decision on four grounds.
But earlier this week (Monday, January 21) The Honourable Mr Justice John Mitting sitting in the Administrative Court refused permission for the application for a Judicial Review, ruling against Mr Greatwood on all four grounds.
Finding that the challenge to the Council's consultation was “not reasonably arguable”, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The analysis of the consultation responses put to cabinet on 23 April 2012 and 3 September 2012 was balanced and fair. The suggestion that the results of the consultation were hidden is unwarranted". He went on to say that "The time for the consultation - nine weeks - was adequate" and that "The suggestion that because the defendant did not address the consultation documents to tenants by name or to the ‘tenant’, the process was flawed, is absurd.”
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, Leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “The redevelopment of Earls Court is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the local residents to benefit from a multi-billion pound investment in their own neighbourhood.”
Notes for editors:
The Earls Court regeneration project will create up to 7,583 new homes. It will also include new shops, offices, leisure facilities, public open space, a new school, new transport links, healthcare centre and community centre. In addition, it will create up to 9,500 new permanent jobs and 1,500-2,000 jobs per year in construction, based on an approximate total of 36,000 construction jobs over an estimated development period of 20 years.
The terms of the CLSA state:
- All homes on the estate would be replaced within the redevelopment area.
- People would only have to move when their new home is ready to be occupied.
- People who are currently overcrowded on the estate would be offered a home with more bedrooms. People who are under-occupying would be offered a new home with one additional bedroom above their need.
- Secure council tenants would remain secure tenants, with rents remaining in line with the rest of the council’s housing stock, and receive £4,700 compensation per household, plus new white goods, carpets and curtains. All reasonable fees will be paid and a dedicated re-housing officer will help every step of the way.
- Resident leaseholders and freeholders would receive the market value of their home, to be independently assessed, and an extra 10% of that amount in compensation up to a cap of £47,000. They would be offered a 10% early purchase discount on the value of a new home should they wish to buy-back into the redevelopment. They would not be expected to increase their mortgage costs to do this.
- Leaseholder service charges would be capped for five years and then controlled by the council after that point.
- Tenant service charges will remain in the control of the council and only cover the services actually received.
EC Properties is a subsidiary of Capital and Counties Properties Plc.