Friday, 3 October 2014

Judge grants OPEN permission for a judicial review of Hackney's decisions to demolish Georgian houses

The High Court Judge, Mr Justice Foskett, has today granted OPEN permission for a judicial review of Hackney's decisions to allow total demolition of the surviving Georgian houses in Dalston Lane.

After a tense morning in Court, when OPEN’s barrister picked apart the advice given to Hackney’s Planning Committee, the Judge was persuaded that OPEN has an arguable claim that Hackney had failed to properly consider the options for a genuine conservation-led scheme, when it granted planning permission for total demolition last March. The claim will now be heard over a full one-day judicial review hearing in late November

Hackney allowed Murphy to begin demolition last December. There was public outcry and they only stopped when forced to accept that they needed prior planning permission.

Murphy were granted planning permission on 5th March to demolish all the houses, and last week Hackney discharged the outstanding planning conditions so that demolition could now start at any time. OPEN's solicitors, Dowse and Co., have today written to Hackney and Murphy's lawyers to require undertakings that they will not proceed with any further demolitions until the judicial review is completed. If such undertakings are not given OPEN will return to Court to seek  an injunction to restrain any such demolition.

 The Story of Dalston Terrace 1807 - 2014 (Video) - a story of appalling neglect of our heritage assets and the destruction of our local environment and economy.  

OPEN has also required Hackney and Murphy to withdraw their allegations that all of OPENs Court claims are not challenges to environmental injustice. We say that decisions to destroy these heritage assets come within the Aarhus Convention, which protects environmental challenges, and so Hackney and Murphy are not entitled to threaten OPEN with claims for unlimited costs if we lose. In Aarhus type cases, the Court's rules limit awards of legal costs against an unsuccessful claimant to £10,000.  

OPEN’s offer to  Hackney's Mayor Pipe, to facilitate a 'round table' meeting, between Hackney and the Spitalfields Trust to consider the options, remains open for Hackney to take up. OPEN has yet to receive a reply from Mayor Pipe. Hackney has continued to refuse to meet Spitalfields Trust which has made proposals to restore the 1807 houses and develop the others to provide affordable housing (the Hackney/Murphy scheme provides none).

So in the meantime the fundraising must continue. We have raised £0000s from the community so far but we must be ready to continue the fight against municipal vandalism and to preserve Dalston’s heritage and identity. Thanks to everyone who has donated so generously to pay for legal expenses to date - you have given us inspiration and hope! Some of you have donated £000s but it is the small sums that are really adding up!! We urge everybody to donate whatever they can to support the campaign.

If we win we should recover most of our legal costs. All donations , after legal costs and expenses have been met, will be refunded pro-rata.

 You can donate by PayPal...

or by direct transfer to OPEN's bank account:

OPEN Dalston Barclays Bank  Sort code: 20-46-57 Account 33274659

It ain't over yet. It's just beginning and it could be a long fight.We must not allow it to end like this:


1 comment:

  1. All too often we hear about local authorities and developers riding roughshod over the democratic process and putting our communities up for sale. Keep the faith!


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