Cressingham Gardens ‘safe for now’ say campaigners’ lawyers

Cressingham Gardens residents protest at a council meeting
Cressingham Gardens residents protest at a council meeting

Lambeth council next month faces a second judicial review of its plan to demolish the Cressingham Gardens estate on Tulse Hill.

It has also agreed a court order preventing it from beginning demolition work, possession proceedings or compulsory purchases of homes on the estate.

A hearing of the judicial review will take place at the High Court on 15 and 17 November.

The grounds for judicial review include a failure by the council to follow its own criteria as to the net value of its demolition plan, as well as a breach of the right to property of Andy Plant, a member of the Save Cressingham Gardens campaign.

A court order he has won bans the council from demolishing the estate until the conclusion of the legal challenge. It also prohibits the council from beginning possession proceedings and compulsory purchases. The order has agreed by the council and endorsed by a High Court judge.

A council spokesman said: “Our published timeline for the proposed redevelopment already makes it clear that no demolition would start on Cressingham Gardens before winter 2018 at the earliest, so this order does not affect that schedule in any way. It is therefore incorrect to state that this order means the estate has been “saved from demolition”, temporarily or otherwise.

“The order was made following agreement between both parties. It was made in order to limit delay and the financial expense to the council tax payer and allows the council to progress the cabinet’s decision in most respects.  The order will, for example, enable the council to proceed with any contracts with the development team, allowing secure tenants to move away and purchasing leasehold properties.

“Lambeth council’s cabinet endorsed the proposal to redevelop Cressingham Gardens in March this year, following extensive consultation with residents, as they judged that it represented the best option for the future of the estate.

“We will present our case explaining why we believe we have acted lawfully in respect of this decision, when the issue is heard at judicial review next month.”

A year ago in the first judicial review, the High Court ruled that Lambeth council had acted unlawfully when it removed options for refurbishment from its public consultation on the future of the estate.

Rowan Smith of Leigh Day said the solicitors were pleased the council had agreed the terms of the court order in their client’s favour.

“This means that Lambeth council is strictly limited to what steps it can take on the estate before current legal proceedings have concluded, otherwise it will be in breach of the order and contempt of court.

“The estate is safe for now, but the legal case to decide its future is still going on. We are preparing for the court hearing in November 2016, meanwhile Lambeth Council is prevented from demolishing the estate.”


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