(L.51) Master Plan - Path of APPROVAL

Secretary of State approves Master Plan - but the Appeal Court Challenge still lingers (next chapter...)

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Right Hon. Eric Pickles, has fully approved:

Application A - the Master Plan for Crystal Palace Park
Application B - conservation area consent
C - listed building consent

A large number of people and organisations have worked towards the regeneration of Crystal Palace Park; this is a real 'holiday season' gift to them as well as to local residents, park users, the local economy and others. The huge amount of work put into the Master Plan by its many contributors, financed by the LDA and supported by a majority of local people, now has to be put into practice. Everyone faces the challenge in the new year of implementing the plan - a complicated but satisfying task. (Rt Hon Eric Pickles) - [Ed: written after the Inspector's Report was published.]

The approval of the Master Plan has taken a long time; here are some key dates:

May 2001 Cancellation of cinema multiplex (after a four-year campaign)
March 2002 Publication of Crystal Palace Campaign questionnaire results “Consultation Starts Here”
July 2002 Consultation/conciliation (first) meeting at Battersea Park initiated by the Crystal Palace Campaign
November 2002 Formal beginning of consultation process - Facilitator, Nigel Westaway
March 2004 LDA; NSC rescue, involvement in consultation process
July 2006 Appointment of Master Planners, Latz and Partner (appointing panel includes two local representatives)
October 2007 Master Plan final public exhibition - held in Crystal Palace Park
November 2007 Submission of Master Plan to Bromley Council – for outline planning permission
December 2008 Master Plan approved by Bromley Council (votes 11 – 4)
January 2009 Call-in of Master Plan
August 2009 Public Inquiry (about a month long)
July 2010 Letter indicating that the Secretary of State was minded to concur – signature date
set back to 6 October 2010
September 2010 CPF letter – delay to 22 November 2010
October 2010 CPCA letter – delay to 13 December 2010
December 2010 Approval by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles
January 2011 Challenge to the Secretary of State's decision by Elliott & Payne: Five grounds were set out in the Claim Form (see link to challenge document CO/589/11) and were presented at the court hearing by Robert McCracken QC (with Annabel Graham Paul). The case for the defendants was put by Rupert Warren (Landmark Chambers) and Richard Ground (Cornerstone Barristers).
7 & 8th March 2012 Hearing in Court 28, Administrative Court, Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London before Mr Justice Keith
10 April 2012 Decision from hearing expected...
12 June 2012

Decision published - all elements of the claimants case dismissed
Appeals against decision dismissed by Mr Justice Keith AND, after further application, by the Appeal Court

31 October 2012 Oral Hearing: Case C1/2012/1670 was heard in Court Room 63 at 2pm today in front of Lord Justice Lewison. He allowed the application on two of the three points that remained from the original five heard at the Administrative Court on 7th & 8th March 2012.
23 April 2013 In the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) today, Tuesday 23rd April 2013, the CPCA put their challenge to the Master Plan in front of Lord Justice Laws (chief), Lord Justice Lewison and Lord Justice Mccombe. The two remaining grounds on which the judicial review was permitted were rejected by the court (all three judges concurred) and the legality of the Secretary of State's action in signing off the Master Plan was upheld. The court also refused a further appeal to that court. The next recourse for the appellants could, in theory, be the Supreme Court. The Master Plan, therefore, stands and could be utilised immediately if Bromley Council is so minded.
[Ed. The full judgement will be posted when it becomes available]

Comment - current state of play:

[Ed: The legal laymen amongst us (myself included) find it diffilcult to understand the rationale behind the most recent judgement. The two items left in the challenge are:
1 - Unlawful approach to outline planning permission.
2 - Failure to comply with the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC and the conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

Both, I thought, had been adequately dealt with by the Inquiry Inspector and in the later court judgement by Justice Keith. So much I know?? So another delay in the formal, final approval is inevitable but it does not preclude the extensive Master Plan documentation* being used as a guide for regeneration and this is what is happening. The continuance of, in my view, a needless prolongation of the final acceptance of the Master Plan will hamper fund raising somewhat, but will not detract from the use of a variety of fund sources including the GLA funds described in the 10-Point Plan at the 26th October 2012 conference. Nor should we hold back in any of the areas we're currently working on. It should be remembered that the large majority of people concerned about the state of Crystal Palace Park simply want to get on with the regeneration - the longer we wait, the more difficult and expensive it will become. We may even end up losing parts of the park's heritage for example, the terraces, now surrounded by fencing because they are unsafe, may actually begin falling down with the next frosts.

I am nothing if not optimistic since we are the local people, we're not going away, we will care for the park and regeneration will begin in spite of the misguided opposition.

Check out the new Community Stakeholders Group (CSG) website where you will see what good progress is being made.

*see the new item added to the website, the Exhibition Brochure, Item 6 on the one-stop-page.]

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Note: [correction to previous notes] January 2011 - the Secretary of State's decision to approve the Master Plan, after he had received a recommendation from the Inquiry Inspector, was challenged under Section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; see link above for full text of Section 288. Essentially any "aggrieved person" "may make an application to the High Court under this section" on the grounds that the Secretary of State's action is not within the powers of the act or that the "relevant requirements" have not been complied with in relation to that action.

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