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Cruise Terminal at the High Court

Packed court for David v Goliath

On the 13 July 2016 the judicial review of London’s cruise port was concluded. The first day on the 12th was reported in the south and north London local press. Most of the second day consisted of the Defendant’s and Interested Parties counsels making their case as to why the permission should stand. It was again a packed court with even the gallery opened – a rare event.

Much has been made of the fact that few objections were made to the 2012 planning permission which allowed the cruise port. The Defendant’s key argument appears that, if the 2015 permission were to be quashed, then the 2012 plan would be built. Whatever errors may have been made in the 2015 permission, which the Defendant claimed were none, then a cruise port would still go ahead in Greenwich.

An arduous process

This claim, and many others about how air quality should be assessed in approving or refusing new developments, took up most of the two day hearing. It was an exhaustive and, for any of the many spectators, an exhausting process.

Dan Hayes, Chair of East Greenwich Residents Association, who attended the hearing says:

“It was a long and arduous two days at the High court and EGRA would like to recognise the brave commitment of a Greenwich resident who brought this case against Royal Borough of Greenwich and its application of the planning process. We have to recognise that ultimately this case is being heard on whether or not the permissions granted in connection with the cruise liner terminal had adhered to correct procedure. Ironically whatever the outcome on the merits of the case, what is not in doubt is that Greenwich continues to endure some of the poorest air quality of any urban area in Europe. The cumulative air quality impacts of the cruise liner terminal, high density residential developments, the Silvertown tunnel river crossing, IKEA store and now the planned 24 hour operation of the Greenwich power station cannot possibly be justified in the context of an area already breaking recommended pollution standards. The Mayor Sadiq Khan agrees with our stance, as does our local MP; however Greenwich Council continue to defend the indefensible. People's health will continue to be blighted by Greenwich Council’s reckless approach to urban planning. The fight to secure our residents future health is ongoing and will not end whatever the outcome of this judicial review.”

Judgement expected in August

Mr Justice Collins at the end of the case reserved judgement which we may expect to be made public in August. One observation was overwhelming to the public who packed the seats downstairs and in the gallery. The Claimant was represented by a single counsel and lawyer, compared to a plethora of lawyers on the Defendant’s side.

A David and Goliath fight indeed, but David did at least have a sling.

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