2nd HIGH COURT JUDGEMENT and GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
FRIENDS OF MAIS HOUSE
Working to Save Sydenham Hill Ridge
The Friends of Mais House are naturally disappointed in the latest Judgment from the High Court. The Judgment is a complex and lengthy document that required careful consideration.
The Friends can now announce that The Claimant has taken further legal advice and her lawyers are proceeding to Appeal this decision via the Court of Appeal.
The full Judgment was issued on 11 July
Grounds for Appeal:
1. Viability: That it wasn’t shown that the application is the least harmful plan that could be viable on the Estate.
2. London Wildlife Trust letter: It recently came to our attention that the London Wildlife Trust had serious concerns about the application. These had been expressed not only in pre application correspondence with the Applicant’s agents but also in a formal letter of objection emailed by LWT to Lewisham Planning. Friends of Mais House were not aware of the existence of this correspondence until recently.
Although the London Wildlife Trust had recorded on Lewisham’s online comments system that they had emailed Lewisham Planning a letter of objection, that email was not read by Planning and therefore not taken into account or its existence made known to the Planning Committees.
Indeed in a staggering development, Lewisham has now admitted that it does not read any emails that have been cc’d to the its Planning Department’s advertised address of Planning@Lewisham.gov.uk
The important London Wildlife Trust objection fell foul of this failure.
It’s astonishing that Lewisham has not made it known that its Planning Department does not open any emails that it receives via cc!
Background Information: Friends of Mais House is a community group, formed by residents and neighbours of the City of London Corporation’s Sydenham Hill Estate as a result of their frustration at the failure of the City and Lewisham to listen to their concerns. Friends of Mais House are supporting The Claimant, who is a tenant on the City of London Corporation’s Sydenham Hill Estate, to challenge Lewisham Council in Court.
Claimant: Helen Kinsey Lawyers for the Claimant:
Susan Ring – Hodge, Jones & Allen Solicitors Richard Harwood QC – 39 Essex Chambers
On Thurs 9th June - High Court Judge Mr Justice Fordham heard arguments put forward by both sides as to how Lewisham Council handled its latest grant of planning permission for the City of London Corporation’s massive redevelopment plans for the Sydenham Estate.
This is the second time Lewisham Council have rubber stamped this controversial planning application. Last year, the tenant won a powerful victory at a Judicial Review, when High Court Judge Mrs Justice Lang agreed that Lewisham Council had acted illegally in its handling of the grant of planning permission and ordered the permission quashed.
But instead of working with the community on a more acceptable, less environmentally destructive scheme, the Council instead rushed the self-same scheme back before another planning committee, which again approved the application.
The unchanged plans mean the urbanization of an environmentally sensitive area.
The loss of green space on the site itself has been highlighted in a report by the Countryside Charity for London.
Fundraising among some of the trees marked for destruction.
You can contact the Friends of Mais House and learn more here: https://www.friendsofmaishouse.com/
COURT PREVIOUSLY RULED THAT COUNCIL ACTED ILLEGALLY
In May 2021, a High Court Judge ruled that Lewisham had acted illegally when it granted planning permission for the City of London Corporation to demolish Sydenham’s much loved Mais House sheltered housing flats and build a massive development in one of the most environmentally sensitive and prominent areas of South East London.
Last year, Mrs Justice Lang agreed that Lewisham Council’s planning processes were unsound, ordered the quashing of its grant of planning permission and urged Lewisham and the City to work with residents to reach an acceptable design.
BUT LEWISHAM DETERMINED TO DRIVE MONSTER DEVELOPMENT THROUGH
But within weeks of Mrs Justice Lang’s ruling the community was left stunned when, instead of holding discussions with residents and at dizzyingly short notice, Lewisham rushed the very same planning application back before a Planning Committee, which again ignored concerns and granted permission.
Lawyers acting on behalf of a member of the Friends of Mais House, believe that Lewisham’s processes on that second occasion were also flawed and asked the Court to quash that second grant of planning permission accordingly.
THE NEXT STEP ... FOLLOWING THE SHOCK DECISION BY JUSTICE FORDHAM NOT TO ORDER THE QUASHING OF LEWISHAM’S SECOND GRANT OF PLANNING PERMISSION, AN APPEAL IS BEING FILED AT THE COURT OF APPEAL.
The Friends of Mais House are immensely grateful for the community’s support and are asking for further contributions to the legal fund here: https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/friendsofmaishouse
Learn more and contact the Friends via www.friendsofmaishouse.com