Lend Lease Accused of Evading Empire House Judicial Review
Residents' group claim a revised planning application is a legal ruse
The developer of the Empire House project have been accused of trying to sideline the legal process after submitting a revised application for their scheme on Chiswick High Road.
The original application was granted planning permission in April 2015 but local resident Simon Kverndal QC asked for a judicial review of the decision. This was declined but he is still seeking leave to appeal.
The Chiswick High Road Action Group (CHRAG) say that now Lend Lease have submitted a new application with minor amendments from the original one.
The project will create 72 residential units on the High Road, changing Empire House from office to residential, raising its height and adding three more blocks of six, seven and eight storeys behind and either side. CHRAG say that the new application only has minor changes that would not usually have warranted a new request for planning permission.
The revised application seeks consent for an increase of about a foot (300mm) in the building envelope on the southern elevation of one of the blocks, a few internal changes and a minor adjustment to a refuse store.
Lend Lease says in their own planning statement that, “Notwithstanding that the Applicant is confident that the claimant's judicial review challenge will be unsuccessful, this application is therefore made to seek to provide an implementable planning permission, in the event that the claimant's judicial review claim remains in the Higher Courts throughout 2016.”
CHRAG say that this means that Lend Lease is seeking permission for what is essentially the same development, since the original decision has hit legal delays.
A spokesman for CHRAG said, “We find it amazing that Lend Lease is unwilling to let the due legal process run its course, and instead seeks to circumvent it by issuing a completely new planning application, in order to sideline the legal process.”
Mr Kverndal and his supporters claim that the decision to allow the Lend Lease project planning permission was unlawful because of the failure of Hounslow Council Planning Officers to properly consult, and their failure to take into account and apply important local planning policies.The Judicial Review has the backing of four residents’ groups: Friends of Turnham Green, Chiswick High Road Action Group, West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society and Acton Green Residents’ Association.
The development will be discussed at the Chiswick Area Forum on Tuesday 8 March at 7.30pm. Residents are invited to attend.
Aerial view of the proposed scheme - Lend Lease
A view from Turnham Green - Lend Lease
A Lendlease spokesperson commented: “The new application for 408-430 Chiswick High Road responds to London Borough of Hounslow’s new Local Plan and will run concurrently with the Judicial Review proceedings. The new application demonstrates our continued commitment to regenerating this underutilised block and delivering high-quality homes and new shops on the High Road for local residents.”
March 7, 2016