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1st March 202


The plan to build a huge development on the Sydenham Hill ridge dominating London has been scheduled for a Judicial Review in Court.

In a David v Goliath move, social housing campaigners have checked the City of London and Lewisham Borough Council by securing a key date on 27-28 April.


On 11 February Mrs Justice Lang gave the go ahead for a Judicial Review into the way Lewisham Council handled a planning application by the Corporation of the City of London to redevelop its Sydenham Hill estate.

In her Order, Justice Lang said:

‘In my view, the Claimant’s grounds are arguable and merit consideration at a full hearing’.

Lawyers [Susan Ring of Harrison Grant Solicitors & Richard Harwood QC] are acting on behalf of a member of the Friends of Mais House.

Friends of Mais House is a community group, formed by residents and neighbours of the City’s Sydenham Hill Estate as a result of their frustration at the failure of the City and Lewisham to listen to concerns about the City’s plans for a massive redevelopment of the Estate.

Until now, Sydenham Hill Estate has been protected by Conservation Area status, with parts of the Estate also being Grade II Listed. But those safeguards did nothing to prevent a Lewisham Planning Committee granting approval for a scheme that would tower over existing housing and change forever the

delicate ecological balance between Sydenham Hill and its ancient woodland.

Now, the case has been scheduled for a full hearing on 27-28 April.

The Friends hope that the Courts will quash the recent planning permission and the City will work collaboratively to produce a co-design scheme for the Estate that respects the existing community as well as providing high quality homes for new residents.

There is a strong sense of injustice about how the development consultation was carried out. Some of the issues consistently raised were:

• Unprecedented density in a suburban location with poor infrastructure and transport links at the top of a hill • Incongruous design - overbearing and intrusive. • Disregard for the Area of Special Character along Sydenham Ridge

• Sydenham Woods wouldn't be there if local residents hadn't campaigned for it back in the 80s - Southwark council wanted to build on it. • Negative impact on biodiversity in a nature corridor, loss of 19 mature trees and severe damage to several more excellent specimens. • Loss of play space for children. • Displacement of Mais House residents, lack of assisted living and limited accessible homes.

A spokesperson for the Friends said: “Obtaining permission for a Judicial Review was huge. We know we have a really strong case, vindicated by the Judge’s words. It all comes down to funding now.”

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