Residents mount court challenge against City planners

current view: Bernard Morgan House
The current view of Bernard Morgan House from Bowater House in the Golden Lane Estate. Photo: Chris Dorley Brown

Angry residents fighting a controversial development of luxury flats opposite the Golden Lane Estate will have their day in court next month as they take their case against the City Corporation’s planning committee to a judicial review.

The Save Golden Lane Consortium will challenge Taylor Wimpey’s 99-flat luxury development of Bernard Morgan House in a hearing on 1 March after a judge ruled their claims of inaccurate reports and breaches of listed building guidelines had merit.

City planners green-lit Taylor Wimpey’s redevelopment of the former police section site last May amidst widespread opposition from residents who say it will plunge the Grade II-listed estate and neighbouring park into darkness.

The Save Golden Lane Consortium took the case to a judicial review of the planning process last month, arguing the independent sunlight survey was inaccurate and the panel had failed to take the listed building guidelines into account. They also took issue with Taylor Wimpey’s £4.5million affordable housing contribution, which is less than half the target set out in the Local Plan due to viability concerns.

High Court judge Mr Justice Supperstone dismissed the application for review, finding no fault with the planning process, but conceded the group’s claims had some merit, leaving the door open for them to seek reconsideration.

The Save Golden Lane Consortium has already raised close to £15,000 towards challenging the application through online crowdfunding platform Crowd Justice, and campaigner Emma Matthews said they would not give up.

“The planning committee has to make their decision based on facts, not fabrications or mistakes,” she said.

Lead image: Bernard Morgan House before demolition commenced late last year. Photo by Chris Dorley Brown