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  • CarolineShah

Time to save Richmond Park and London from the London Plan

Updated: Jan 27, 2021

"Guardian of High Wood, Richmond Park SAC" - Only policy protection will last

We all know that the London Plan is deeply flawed and that it will cause huge harm to communities, neighbourhoods, people, biodiversity and the natural and historic environment across London.

All over London, planning applications for huge, incongruous and unsustainable developments are already being rushed through and developers are quoting London Plan policies to justify their plans even before the London Plan has been approved

In Kingston alone, planning applications have been submitted over the last few months for thousands of high-rise flats as well as massive commercial development. These applications are not even forecast to come forward in the London Plan until the mid-2020s at the earliest

We need to do everything we can to challenge these plans now on the basis that they are not legally sound and do not offer the policy protections needed to support truly "sustainable" development

Please keep donating to my fundraising and telling your friends and family about it so that we stand the greatest chance of mounting a successful challenge

Robert Jenrick is due to give Sadiq Khan permission to publish the new London Plan in the next few days. From the date of publication of the London Plan, we will have only six weeks to launch a legal challenge of the plan

The Legal Case

I already have received an opinion from Marc Willers QC that there are grounds to challenge the London Plan on the inconsistency of its heritage policies with relevant national policies.

In addition, in light of Marc Willers’ initial opinion and having done further research and consulted with legal, planning, environmental and scientific experts, I believe that there are grounds for additional claims for breach of legal requirements in the following areas on which I am currently seeking further advice:

public participation

• the designation of Kingston as an “opportunity area”

• the conclusions of the Inspectors of the London Plan regarding the Habitats Regulations Assessment of the Plan

• open spaces policies

Advice, pre-action letter and costs

When the London Plan is published, we must act quickly to send a pre-action letter to the Mayor– and, if appropriate, Robert Jenrick - explaining the basis of our intended legal challenge on any or all of the above grounds and requesting remedies for alleged breaches

If we consider that the response from the Mayor of London to our pre-action letter is unsatisfactory, the next step will be to apply to the courts for the decisions we are challenging to be considered at judicial review. This step has to be taken before the end of the six-week period following publication of the London Plan and is called seeking “permission". The first test for obtaining permission is that we have an arguable case in law. The second test is that the party bringing the case has a genuine interest in it. We will need to raise further funds iif we wish to apply for judicial review. I am confident that there will be widespread support across London and beyond to fund an application for judicial review if we have advice that there are reasonable, or even strong, grounds to take the case forward

We can choose to proceed with or withdraw from taking legal action at either of the stages mentioned above and at other stages after permission has been granted to seek judicial review

The decision whether to progress to the next stage will always be based on the advice we receive on the strength of the grounds of challenge, the likelihood our challenge will be successful and our ability to raise the funds needed to pursue the challenge

Thank you again for your continuing support

You can donate to my fundraising to send a pre-action letter to the Mayor of London here

I have provided an update of the money I have spent so far on my fundraising page. At the end of the process, I will donate any funds remaining to the NHS Charities Together Appeal.

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