Golden Lane residents legal threat over ‘ghost block’

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

Campaigners desperate to prevent the site of Bernard Morgan House becoming a block of “ghost homes” have threatened the City Corporation with legal action if it does not withdraw planning permission.

Properties are set to range from £695,000 studios to £2.4million penthouses after Taylor Wimpey’s proposal for 99 luxury flats was signed off by the authority in the summer.

But Golden Lane residents have vowed to challenge the plans, and through lawyers Dowse and Co have delivered a letter before action to the Corporation, calling on it to pull the plug or face an application for judicial review to the Planning Court.

In the letter, the Save Golden Lane Consortium cite 11 “errors of law” allegedly committed by the Corporation during the decision making process.

The band of residents also fear that zero provision of social housing will mean the properties – which are to replace 120 former police section dwellings – are snaffled up exclusively by overseas investors.

Taylor Wimpey, who purchased the land on which Bernard Morgan House sits for £30.4m in 2015, has paid £4.5m to the Corporation in lieu of not providing affordable housing as part of the build. But the pay-off to sidestep social housing commitments has been described as “shockingly inadequate” by protestors.

“The City of London has chosen to replace accommodation for police officers and other key workers with ghost homes,” said a statement from the consortium, which has so far raised more than £7,000 to fight the plans.

“If the permission is not withdrawn then we will need to raise more funds to meet the cost of the application to the Planning Court.”

The Corporation confirmed that the letter had been received and noted but declined to comment.

Lead image: Chris Dorley Brown