|Projected shadow cast by buildings over W12 & K&C|
The decision had already been deferred twice, in March and in June. This time it looked as though the council was ready to go ahead and approve the scheme – despite objections from 160 local residents, all the amenity societies in the area, and from neighbouring borough Kensington & Chelsea.
A letter sent last week from solicitors Webster Dixon, and further letters from the St Helens Residents Association, appears to have led to the council getting cold feet. The 100 page report recommending approval to the Imperial West scheme was withdrawn 24 hours before the committee was due to meet last night.
|Residents view from Oxford Gardens of proposed "poor man's shard"|
The council is already facing two legal challenges to its planning decisions, on the Shepherds Bush Market development and on the West Kensington & Gibbs Green Estate. Its planning processes are now in disarray. Use of Supplementary Planning Documents to pave the way for major change in an area has been ruled unlawful by the High Court.
“Hammersmith and Fulham Council has had 6 months to come up with a robust justification for approving this planning application. The Imperial West scheme is an outrageous example of over-development for this part of London” says Henry Peterson, Chair of the St Helens Residents Association. “We have been making the same basic legal points to them for two years now, and last week engaged solicitors”.
“The council thinks that it can interpret its written planning policies as it suits them and (like Humpty Dumpty) that words mean what they want them to mean. The courts operate on a different basis. Because the council sees Imperial College as a glamorous asset to the borough, they have been stretching their policies beyond the limit of the law.”
The council say that a revised report will be presented to the next Planning Applications Committee on July 25th. Local residents will be interested to see what new arguments are dreamed up, to justify approval to the application.