Hammersmith & Fulham Council have been acting illegally in pushing through unpopular plans which allow developers to make profits by the destruction of local communities.
Today’s decision by the High Court to uphold the Goldhawk Road shopkeepers’ Judicial Review of the Council’s planning policies should prove fatal to the Tory Council’s controversial planning strategy. Under these plans, first announced in 2007, much of the borough would be redeveloped as high-rise luxury investment flats, with existing homes and small businesses destroyed.
Mr Justice Wilkie handed down his judgment in the Goldhawk Road case today. He had heard evidence that the Council had broken the rules repeatedly in trying to help developer Orion build 212 luxury flats on the site of existing local businesses and affordable homes.
This has been a difficult fight, with traders, shopkeepers and local residents all pulling together to tell the council that they have simply got these plans wrong. The councillors for Shepherds Bush and I are all delighted that we could play a part in what has been a real community effort.
On a personal level I am delighted for the Goldhawk Road traders, and their thousands of supporters. The Council should protect long-established and well-loved businesses such as Cooke’s Pie and Mash Shop from rapacious developers, not collude in their destruction. Cooke’s, and the world-famous fabric shops in the same row have already suffered years of stress and uncertainly. It is always difficult to take on the Town Hall and win, but they have done so by their courage and determination – and the assistance of some very able lawyers.
This case has been made necessary by the arrogance of the Council, which is out of touch with its residents and acting always in the interests of big developers and for political gain.
They have wasted so far over £200,000 in lawyers’ fees alone – many times this in officer time and propaganda. This is our money, which as usual they feel free to waste. Now they are talking about appealing the decision and pressing on with the demolition in spite of the Court’s verdict.
‘Next week the Council elects a new Leader. This should be a chance for it to pause and review some of the more controversial planning projects, including Shepherds Bush Market. To spend more taxpayers’ money trying to overturn this decision or to continue to support the developer would be obscene.
All of the Council’s dodgy planning and housing policies will now be under legal scrutiny and if they do not fundamentally rethink their approach they will be back in court again and again.
This is the press release issued by the solicitor who acted for the traders: