Following the recent decision of Lewisham Council to approve the City of London’s proposals for their Sydenham Hill Estate, concerned members of the community have set up a Crowd Justice account to fund a legal opinion as to whether there is a case for a Judicial Review. Time is tight. Please donate and/or share on Social Media or with your contacts:
The community living on Sydenham Hill Ridge welcomes the development of the City of London Sydenham Hill Estate for social housing. We believe in building good quality, environmentally friendly social housing that will last well into the future. However, the huge increase in density sets to impact the quality of the housing built, the historic environment, the conservation area, the local infrastructure and the natural environment, reducing the much needed green communal space, felling mature trees and impacting the ancient woodland opposite, visited by people across London. We raised money to fund the initial advice of a solicitor. Following that advice, we are now raising funds to seek the opinion of Counsel.
The approved planning application can be seen here:
Update (Sun 20 Dec)
Legal advice is that there is a good chance of success. Further details on Crowd Justice, here:
The pre-action protocol letter has been sent to Lewisham and, because Lewisham timed the publication of their planning decision to hit the Christmas period, as of today (Sun 20 Dec) there are now just 10 days remaining in which to raise the money needed to lodge the case with the Courts.
Please share this with your contacts.
We are very close to raising the amount we need to file at Court, but we’re running out of time to do so. As of the time of typing, we have pledges totalling £6685 on the Crowd Justice website. We need £315 more to enable us to pay the lawyers to file at Court by the morning of 31st December, which is the Court deadline (i.e. six weeks following Lewisham’s publication of the planning permission).
It would be really sad if we were to fail, not because of a weakness in what we have been told is a good case, but because of a shortfall in donations.
Please head on over the the Crowd Justice website and donate and/or share this link to help us to reach our target.
One thing I’ve been wondering about this application is whether Historic England have been properly consulted on the effects the planning will have on Lammas Green. Not least the demolition of the listed boundary wall and the reduction in the garden of one of the listed buildings there. Demolition of listed elements I believe must always be referred as this doesn’t appear to have been.
I hope to be able to post more info in the next few days.
In the meantime, here is the latest update from the Crowd Justice page …
Update on the legal case and fundraising
We are thrilled to have made our initial Crowd Justice target. Thank you for supporting and sharing our campaign to challenge a planning decision that will be so detrimental to this unique environment.
Our lawyers received the responses from Lewisham and The City of London and filed the claim in Court where it was issued and has been served on the defendant. Lewisham and The City of London are required to respond to the court with their grounds for defence by 26th January 2021. A Judge will then consider whether there is an arguable case and make a decision on granting permission for judicial review.
We are now actively fundraising to reach the £12,000 stretch target to cover a potential claim for costs from the other side and enable us to begin moving on to the next stage, which will be to consider any grounds of resistance.
Your support is hugely appreciated.
Note: now that we have met the initial target, the countdown will automatically renew every 30 days.
Update from Crowd Justice website:
Yesterday, Friday 29th January, Lawyers [Susan Ring of Harrison Grant Solicitors & Richard Harwood QC] acting on behalf of a member of the Friends of Mais House, filed a Reply to the Council’s defence at Court; a Judge will now consider whether to grant permission to bring Judicial Review proceedings against Lewisham Council and the Corporation of the City of London.
If the Judge approves the application for permission, the case will move to a full hearing; 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.
Your contributions have made this progress possible. Thank you! We are working hard to reach our target of £12,000 by Monday. Please continue to support this campaign by donating and sharing the Crowd Justice link. Inevitably, our target will be stretched further as the case progresses. However, we are taking this step-by-step, with each step bringing us closer to success.
Please consider donating here …
FRIENDS OF MAIS HOUSE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS!
PERMISSION FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW GRANTED
The Friends of Mais House are delighted that Mrs Justice Lang has granted permission for a Judicial Review into the way Lewisham Council handled the 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’.
The case will now move to a full hearing; 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.
The Friends will be stepping up their fundraising campaign and you can help this important case by spreading the word and donating here:
THE FRIENDS OF MAIS HOUSE are delighted that we have a Judge’s permission for a Judicial Review into Lewisham Council’s handling of their grant of planning permission for the redevelopment of the City of London’s Sydenham Hill Estate.
The hearing has been scheduled for 27-28 April 2021.
The Judge who issued permission for the hearing said: ‘In my view, the Claimant’s grounds are arguable and merit consideration at a full hearing’.
Few cases cross this high bar. This is a great vindication of the Friends’ hard work and the support that you’ve already given that we’ve achieved this.
Please continue to support this important case by following this link or using the QR Code to donate to the legal fund. Every donation, no matter how small, helps.
MAIS HOUSE CAMPAIGN ON THE BBC!
The Friends of Mais House Campaign will be featured on BBC London News tonight [late breaking news stories permitting].
In the item, to be broadcast as part of BBC1’s London News at 18.30 tonight [Weds 07.04.2021]reporter Luke Hanrahan films the next generation enjoying an Easter Egg Hunt on the communal area that will be impacted by the City of London’s redevelopment of their homes. Luke speaks with campaigners, including long term tenants and investigates just what the City’s plans will mean for the environment.
Following the broadcast, the programme will be available on Catch Up.
Update: the story wasn’t broadcast last night, because of other news stories coming in. It will still go out, but at a date TBA. I will try to post details when I get them. Apologies to anyone who tried to watch last night.
Here is a link to a BBC Radio London interview with a Mais House campaigner, which was broadcast yesterday.
The interview starts 50.25 mins in and the interviewer is Salma El-Wardany, not Eddie Nestor.
FINAL PUSH FOR FUNDRAISING
The Friends of Mais House would like to thank everyone who has spread the word or donated to our legal fund; the response has been amazing.
We have campaigned for over 2 years for a more sensitive development, which we strongly believe is achievable.
We have been featured on BBC London News and you can see Luke Hanrahan’s report here:
Thanks to your generous donations we are now nearing the target required to see the matter through the Court hearing next week.
Please continue to support our cause. We still need your help.
Some great news!
Following the Judicial Review, Mrs Justice Lang handed down her Judgment at 10.00 hrs this morning [18.05.2021]. She concluded:
“Given the number of significant errors made by the Council, and the possibility that, absent such errors, a different conclusion could have been reached by the Planning Committee, I consider that the decision to grant planning permission ought to be quashed.”
The Judicial Review hearing on 27/28 April found a number of failures in the way Lewisham Council handled the planning application by the Corporation of the City of London to redevelop its Sydenham Hill estate, including that the Planning Committee were given an incomplete picture of the heritage harm and were materially misled on some aspects of the heritage issues.
Thank you to everyone whose support - both financially and emotionally - made it possible for the community to challenge Lewisham.