PLT Masthead 430

Masthead Housing - Planning

Date set for Court of Appeal case on lack of reasons for refusal to call in scheme

The Court of Appeal will on 19 July hear Save Britain’s Heritage’s challenge over the refusal of then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, to give reasons for not calling in the Paddington Cube scheme, it has been confirmed.

The campaign group said: “Our legal action is focused on the government’s failure to follow published policy announced in Parliament that reasons would be given for decisions not to call in major planning decisions for public inquiry. We believe this case goes to the heart of open and accountable decision making and needs robust scrutiny.”

In granting Save Britain’s Heritage leave in March to bring proceedings to the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Lewison is reported to have said: "The question whether the Secretary of State may adopt a policy which does not conform with his published policy is an important one, and this ground of appeal has a real prospect of success.”

However, the Court of Appeal refused to grant the group permission to continue with its challenge to Westminster City Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the Paddington Cube, which is now marketed as Paddington Square.

Landmark Chambers said at the time that this meant that the permission was free from litigation as a result.

Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “Call-in for major schemes is an important safeguard within the planning process and giving reasons for decisions can only improve understanding of public decision making. This is particularly important in cases involving major demolition and contentious development. We look forward to our case being heard in July.”
 
Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: "Local councils are under increasing pressure to approve damaging development proposals. The ability of the Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry under an independent planning inspector is a vital safeguard, allowing contentious cases and issues to be examined and assessed in an open and public forum. An essential part of this process is that the Secretary of State gives reasons when he declines to hold an inquiry. This was established policy, announced through Parliament but was changed by civil servants without any announcement and even more surprisingly without telling ministers."  

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