Council to swerve Cressingham Gardens judicial review with new planning hearing

housing estate in park setting
Cressingham Gardens from Brockwell Park

Lambeth council has cancelled permission for its own housing company to demolish 12 homes on the Cressingham Gardens estate, the Architects Journal reports today (23 July).

The council said cancellation and a new planning hearing would be quicker and cheaper than going through a judicial review of its plans.

The council’s planning committee earlier this year approved plans by Homes for Lambeth, its wholly company, to demolish the buildings in Ropers Walk and create 20 new homes in their place.

Campaigners against the plans of the council and Homes for Lambeth last week won permission for a judicial review of the scheme – the third they have won.

The council yesterday cancelled planning permission for the scheme, the Architects Journal reported.

It said the judicial review would have focused on whether or not the council had properly considered the heritage aspects of the “regeneration” scheme.

The council said Homes for Lambeth would commission a further heritage assessment, which will then be submitted to the planning authority.

The council will then need to re-consult all interested parties.

A council spokesperson said it regretted the scheme would be delayed.

“We’re not prepared to spend more taxpayers’ money contesting a challenge that could end up delaying these new homes for at least another year while we wait for a court date,” they said.

Cressingham Gardens protest march 2017
Cressingham Gardens protest in 2019

“Quashing the original permission and ensuring that an updated plan is put before the planning applications committee, is the cheapest and quickest way of resolving this issue in the interests of everyone in Lambeth.”

Campaigners charge that the council is “salami slicing” its plans to demolish the entire estate by starting with small, piecemeal changes.

In 2015 it was forced to rerun a consultation after a court ruled an option for refurbishment had been unfairly dropped.

In 2016 a judge ruled the council had acted lawfully when it approve redevelopment.

Jo Parkes of Save Cressingham Gardens told the Architects Journal: “We hope that Lambeth will finally recognise the heritage importance of Cressingham and give it the conservation status that English Heritage suggested back in 2013, rather than wasting time and money on demolition proposals that do not have resident support.”