FoPC Advised That Council Application Is Unlawful

Due to "lack of an Environmental Impact Assessment based on a flawed traffic assessment"

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FoPC’s solicitors issue a judicial review ‘pre-action protocol letter’ Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, solicitors acting for Friends of Putney Common (FoPC), have issued a ‘Judicial Review Pre-Action Protocol Letter’ stating that the proposed development at the former Putney Hospital site (ref 2012/0758) is in their view unlawful.

They have therefore advised FoPC to invite Wandsworth Borough Council to agree to revoke the permission or that it should be quashed. Should Wandsworth Borough Council decide to defend the permission, they have advised FoPC to bring a claim for judicial review. The letter, sent to the Council on the 13th of November, is issued in accordance with the
pre-action protocol for judicial review.

Key points from the letter include:

• Wandsworth Borough Council are invited to revoke the planning permission for a two form entry school (with roof top playground) and 24 luxury flats.

• Should the Council decide to defend their current position FoPC will bring a claim for judicial review.

• The Council in its capacity as local planning authority has wrongly granted permission in breach of Regulation 3 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations which provides that a local planning authority shall not grant planning permission unless they have first taken relevant environmental information into consideration.

• The Council, relying on a transport assessment which it is now accepted by the local planning authority did not adequately assess the impact of the development, did not require an environmental assessment to be carried out.
* It relied on a flawed transport assessment
* It compared the impact of traffic not for the existing use of the site – it accepted that the site has been vacant for more than ten years and therefore generates no vehicle movements at present – but with the use of the site by reference to a planning permission for a primary health centre or, perhaps (it is not entirely clear from the report), with an earlier use of the site as a hospital.

• It was wrong to rely upon a flawed traffic assessment and it was wrong to compare the impact of the traffic from the proposed development with the impact of the traffic by reference to a planning permission for a health centre or its earlier use as a hospital. The proposal to provide a primary health centre at the site was abandoned and alternative provision made elsewhere; the hospital is derelict and there is no reasonable prospect of it ever being used again as a hospital.

The letter from Richard Buxton Planning and Environmental provides full details of the proposed claim by FoPC, containing a devastating analysis of the flawed traffic assessment.

The Friends are also concerned that the Council’s approach to assessing the likely effects of the development in terms of loss of commons land, noise, impact of the health of primary school children from their proximity to a congested road (both from NO2 and the increased potential of traffic accidents), the impact on local ecology and the environmental consequences of remediating the contaminated land on site is similarly flawed.

The Council is invited to respond to the pre-application letter delivered on the 14th of November, within 14 days.

November 16, 2012