Judge Rules Oaks Planning Decision Legal
Challenge by campaign group has been dismissed
An attempt to challenge Ealing Council's planning procedure over the Oaks Shopping Centre has been dismissed in the High Court.
Acton Regeneration Group applied to the Council in 2012 for permission to redevelop the Oaks Shopping Centre and car park to provide four new shops, six refurbished retail units and 142 new homes. The Council's planning committee granted permission in October 2013 and planning permission was issued in April 2014.
There has been huge opposition to the plans and the way the planning decision was made and the Oaks Action Group (OAG) was formed to try and get it overturned.
Local resident Doug Carnegie applied for a judicial review of the decision on behalf of OAG alleging that the substitution of one councillor for another on the planning committee had been unlawful and that the planning officer's report had been flawed in how it dealt with heritage assets affected by the proposed development.
In July 2014 the Judicial Review was rejected but the OAG appealed and another hearing was granted.
A judgment has just been published (dated 14 November) and Mrs Justice Patterson did not accept that procedure was incorrectly followed, noting that written notice of the change had been given, and said that a political party's decision as to which of its members should attend a meeting was "part of the democratically elected political process and outwith the reach of the courts".
She also rejected the claim that the officer's report to the committee had failed to deal correctly with the proposed harm to heritage assets under the proposals. The judge found that "the issue was approached entirely correctly" and that "no harm [to heritage assets] was found after a diligent consideration of the heritage assets".
A spokesperson from Ealing Council said: "We are pleased that a High Court judge has upheld the original decision to reject an application for a judicial review of the council's decision to grant planning permission for the Oaks development. The judge rejected the claims against the council and confirmed that we acted appropriately in granting planning permission to transform the run-down Oaks shopping centre into a Waitrose and much needed new homes for the area."
Doug Carnegie reacted to the decision by saying the battle is not quite over:
"We're applying to the Court of Appeal on what our lawyers, Leigh Day, think are strong grounds. "
20th November 2014