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Shell Centre development appeal

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Thursday 16 April 2015 7.28am
Hi I haven't seen anything reported on here about the latest April 2015 appeal against the Shell redevelopment. George Turner alone is appealing reasons below (if the link to article doesn't work)
Cheers Simon

From George Turner April 2015

Why I am appealing

This week I filed papers seeking permission to take my case to the Court of Appeal. I have not taken this decision lightly, but after much thought I am convinced that it is the right thing to do.

The entire purpose of judicial review is to allow the public to hold politicians and officials to account for their decisions. It is there to ensure that decisions are made following due process and that the views of the public are properly taken into account.

The judgement of the High Court that was handed down in February does little to reinforce public confidence in the planning process. The judgement accepts that a key part of the planning application can be kept secret, unseen even by decision makers. The judgement accepts that major decisions that will shape the future of our city can be made by officials who are openly hostile to the views of the public. The judgement allows serious harm to our nationís culture and heritage without that harm being justified.

That simply cannot be right. In the interests of proper democratic decision-making I feel duty bound to ask the Court of Appeal to review that decision. I think I have a strong case that the Court of Appeal will need to take seriously.

I do this aware of the fact that there will be some who think it unreasonable for one person to hold up such a large development. The developers are no doubt anxious to start building.

The reality is that the Shell decision will affect millions of people, and will set a precedent for many other buildings throughout the country. The public interest in having a well functioning planning system is much greater than any private interest on an individual development, no matter how large.

It must also be remembered that Shell, Canary Wharf Group and Qatari Diar put themselves in this position.

It was the developerís choice to bring forward proposals that destroy large amounts of open space.

It was the developerís choice to build exclusive luxury housing, instead of the affordable housing demanded by the development plan.

It was the developerís choice to withhold the evidence that they said proved they could not build more appropriate, affordable housing.

It was the developerís representatives that asked the planning inspector to dispense with the rules for running an inquiry that are set out in law, and in doing so reduced the ability of the public to scrutinise their proposals.

The planning process was designed precisely to prevent speculators from destroying our environment. It is there to make sure that buildings stand the test of time and meet the real needs of society rather than simply maximising the short term profits of developers.

If Shell and their partners had instead proposed a building that followed the development plan for the local area, they would be well on the way to building. I have no doubt that a plan compliant scheme would have provided ample profit for Shell - a company which some might argue makes plenty of profit already.

Instead, the developers rejected the planning process. They sought to squeeze as much cash as possible out of London, regardless of the impact on Londoners. In doing so, they set themselves up for this long and lengthy battle.

George Turner
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Thursday 16 April 2015 8.48am
What a very well reasoned and argued case and I wish Geoerge Turner every success. His case and arguments only demonstrate once again that the Judicial system and the Judiciary do not always come to decisions that are just. In fact they make many perverse decisions such as Mr. Turner is fighting.

I am convinced that from council officers on the bottom of the pyramid to Government ministers at the top there is a collective attitude of them and us. The them being the rate paying residents, tax paying citizens and the us the paid officials who always seek to help the developers get around the law and regulations.
Council officers seem to regard the citizens withtin their remit as an amorphous mass who can be dismissed and ignored with impunity, which is generally the case, and regretfully until our councillors and we their employers call them to account ever will it remain so.
I am interested in how George Turner has financed his case, I do hope he has not had to bear the brunt of such a public spirited action, perhaps he or one of his supporters could tell me
Monday 11 May 2015 9.07pm

Thank you Thebunhouse for your supportive comments.

I'm pleased to let you know that as the case comes under the Aarhus Convention and as George is a litigant in person his costs were capped at £5,000. Justice Collins who presided over the case at the High Court refused to make an order for costs against George, given how badly the public inquiry had been managed.

You can read Justice Collins' judgement here

George is now appealing Justice Collins' decision and the same cost cap will apply.

Of course there are still many costs to taking this sort of action, with the court fees, paper, printing, stationary etc needed, not to mention the enormous amount of time and energy required.

Thanks again for your support!


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