(P.75) - Thanks a MILLION - Private Eye - Rotten Boroughs - 16 (?) February 2001

BROMLEY council. has scored another embarrassing own goal in its battle to build an ugly multiplex cinema plus burger bars and giant carpark on Crystal Palace park (Eyes passim).

On 8 February seven Bromley bignobs including chief executive David Bartlett and borough secretary Walter Million turned up at the appeal court anticipating a landmark victory over resident Diane Barker, who had challenged the way Bromley had granted itself planning permission for the hideous scheme. Bromley's counsel Gregory Stone QC had assured the officers there was but a "slim" chance of defeat. Their smiles faded as Lord Justice Dyson granted Barker a full judicial review.

Arguing that Bromley had breached European law on multiple counts by failing to require the appropriate environmental impact assessment (EIA), Barker's counsel Robert McCracken homed in on borough secretary Walter Million. He took the court back to the key council meeting of 6 May 1999, when three councillors had pressed for an EIA - and were ignored. The transcript of the meeting recorded the chairman asking the borough secretary for advice. "My legal advice [is] that it is not open for you to demand a formal statutory [environmental] assessment," Million had said. So the council didn't.

The case could go to the Lords and the European court of justice, and is likely to set a planning precedent for local authorities.

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