A WIN IN THE HIGH COURT FOR FRIENDS OF UDNEY PARK
Excellent news for all who love community sport and green space
The Planning Inspector shocked everyone when he removed Local Green Space(LGS) status for Udney Park at the very end of the Richmond Local Plan process. We appealed for a Judicial Review(JR) of this decision. Quantum strongly opposedFUPPFin the High Court arguing against LGS protection to enable their building plans.
On 8thFeb 2019 in the High Court, Judge Waksman upheld FUPPFs claim and ordered a new consultation on the LGS status of Udney Park.
Victory for the underdog!
Justice has prevailed -the community has won; Quantum lost and will pay our costs
The Teddington Society and Friends of Udney Park applied for “Local Green Space” status, important as it is equivalent to “Green Belt”, as part of the Richmond Local Plan, which sets the development strategy for 15 years. After a public consultation, the Council Cabinet adopted LGS for Udney Park in Dec 2016. The Local Plan was then subject to a Public Exam by a Planning Inspector, where the Council defended the LGS status and Quantum tried to remove it, arguing that Udney Park Playing Fields had “no recreational value”.
After the Public Exam the Inspector issued his Main Modifications, without referring to Udney Park; as a result, all parties assumed Udney's LGS status would be maintained.
However, in his Final Report, the very last stage of the Public Exam the Inspector unexpectedly removed LGS from Udney, an act that has now been repealed by the Judge.
Our case rested on the fact that the Inspector's Main Modifications hid his intention to remove LGS from Udney and so denied the community a fair chance to argue the LGS case, in contrast to Quantum who as challenger of the Plan could lobby against LGS.
Our barrister successfully argued that once the Inspector had secretly changed his mind about the LGS status of Udney Park, then the community themselves became a challenger to the Plan and had a right to be consulted, which it had been unfairly denied as the Inspector failed to mention his LGS decision in the Main Modifications, the final consultation window.
After the Judge ruled unequivocally that our primary grounds for raising the JR were legally sound, crucially we had to prove we had suffered "substantial prejudice", which means answering "could the outcome on the assessment ofLGShavebeen different?" We had to prove we had ample independent evidence that the Inspector had denied himself the chance to assess. The Judge concluded that this additional evidence could have impacted on the outcome of the assessment of Udney LGS , that our case was good, and issued a Consent Order.
What Happens Next with the Consent Order?
The Consent Order turns the clock back to October 2017, when the Council had approved Udney LGS. In the next 2 weeks, the Council will commence a new6 week consultation on the Inspector's decision that had removed Udney LGS status from the Local Plan.
We will then have 6 weeks to prepare our new Application for LGS, which will then be assessed by LBRUT and crucially determined by a new Planning Inspector by 15th May.
So, to be clear, we don't yet have Udney as LGS back, but we have a fresh chance to make the case on a fair and open basis. If LGS status is recovered it will help the Council fulfil its own commitments in the Local Plan and provide further weight to their Objection in the upcoming Public Inquiry on Quantum's Planning Application, starting on June 24th.
Councillors of all 3 parties were elected with manifesto commitments to keep Udney Park free from development. The adopted Local Plan also commits Council Officers to protect Udney. We will be asking for another meeting with the Leader of Richmond Council, Councillors and Officers to ensure all of Quantum’s opponents: UPPF Trust, the Teddington Society, the GLA, Sport England and the Council are aligned with "common ground" and with a consistent strategy to protect all of Udney Park at the Public Inquiry.
Ready to talk Plan B
Udney Park can be a successful community facility for all to enjoy without a developer’s carve up. Quantum justify their building plan by arguing that Udney Park is not viable without residential development; the thriving clubs locally prove this is complete nonsense. Teddington CC and Teddington Athletic FC have started building an amazing new £1.5 million pavilion in Bushy Park without any cash from a developer! FUPPFare working on Plan B, the only appropriate future for Udney Park, watch this space.
Playing Fields are now even more heavily protected in Policy, the new 2019 LondonSport strategy focuses on physical activity and social cohesion, London must keep its playing pitches. Investing in building over playing fields is increasingly viewed as unethical and large property firms and investment funds steer clear of such schemes.
We are ready to offer Quantum a way out of their toxic “punt” on Teddington's playing fields.
Thank you to all that donated so far to help us secure all of Udney Park for the community, this Judicial Review is a massive win in the war for the future of Udney Park.
"Udney Park Fields Forever!"