100 Avenue Road: No judicial review over lorries as High Court judge rejects argument council were misled
PUBLISHED: 18:15 24 May 2019
There will not be a Judicial Review of the decision to approve the 100 Avenue Road construction management plan (CMP), a High Court judge ruled this afternoon.
The application, brought by the chair of the Save Swiss Cottage campaign group Janine Sachs against Camden Council, was comprehensively rejected by Justice Timothy Mould at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Ms Sachs brought the legal challenge against Camden Council's decision - made by the town hall's planning committee on November 22 last year - to approve plans which legislate for how lorries will move through the Swiss Cottage site.
The CMP also details for how long lorries will be in the area on a daily basis, and how many "traffic movements" are allowed from each of a number of site entrances.
Ms Sachs's barrister Tristan Jones had argued their should be a full Judicial Review on two grounds - that changes made to the CMP between July and November had not been made clear to planning committee members who were consequently "materially misled", and that the changes had not been sufficiently consulted upon.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Mould dismissed both.
He said the changes that we made to the CMP between July and November "did not affect what it was that the planning committee were being asked to focus on".
The judge added: "Although Mr Jones presented that argument with great clarity, I do not accept that he has a reasonable argument for challenge on that basis."
Ms Sachs's argument had also focussed on increases to traffic movements in the south of the site, but the judge did not see these as relevant.
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He cited Camden's barrister Morag Ellis QC and said: "The principle reason that the planning committee had deferred [making a decision] in July was a fundamental one - because it wished to have further consideration given as to whether there were alternative arrangements which were available to developers and avoided use of the second access point via Winchester Road and Eton Avenue. This was the committee's focus on the 22nd of November."
The judge said that consequently, while he accepted that there had been inconsistencies between the two versions of the CMP, they did not materially alter the decision planning committee were asked to make in November.
He also dismissed Ms Sachs's concerns over consultation.
Citing letters between The judge said: "It's absolutely clear that not only the claimant but those with her who are concerned about the impact of construction and the CMP were both able to and did make their views clear in forceful terms in advance of the meeting."
The judge also said that "as a living document both on its own terms and those in the section 106 agreememnt", the CMP was liable to be amended, and indeed had been as a result of Ms Sachs's litigation.
The judge ordered Ms Sachs pay £2,500 costs - a reduced figure in awarding which he recognised the public interest of her bringing the case.
After the ruling, Ms Sachs said she was disappointed, calling the decision "horrid news".
She said: "In my view the judge's opinion was simply wrong. He said changes to the south parkland route were insignificant, I just don't think that's the case."
Ms Sachs could not say whether she'd appeal at this stage, but said she was exploring her options.
Work is underway to flatten the former office block in Avenue Road. A 24-storey tower block will be built in its place. It will provide 184 flats, retail and community space.
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