CPCA to challenge Secretary of State's approval for 180 luxury flats in Crystal Palace Park
January 2011


On 14th December 2010, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles MP gave his Formal Decision to grant planning permission to the LDA Masterplan application for Crystal Palace Park.

Following the Local Public Inquiry into the LDA Masterplan application held in Crystal Palace between 7 July 2009 and 9 September 2009, the Inspector Alan Novitzky recommended that planning permission, conservation area consent and listed building consent all be granted subject to conditions.

In a letter of 21 July 2010, The Secretary of State (S of S) indicated that he was, in principle, minded to agree with the Inspector and to grant planning permission, subject to the revised conditions set out in Annex A to that letter, and to the submission of a revised section 106 agreement which addressed the concerns set out in paragraph 30 of the letter.

Eric Pickles then deferred his decision on the application and associated applications for conservation area consent and listed building consent to enable parties to comment on the proposed revisions to the conditions and for revised section 106 agreements to be submitted for his consideration.

Section 106 Agreements
Section 106 agreements are legal agreements between a planning authority and a developer, giving the local authority the right to require that specified things are done. For example, if a developer were to build 100 new houses, there would be effects on local schools, roads etc…which the local authority would have to deal with. In that situation there might be a Section 106 agreement as part of the granting of planning permission. The developer might agree to make a contribution towards provision of new schools or other infrastructure requirements.

The S of S noted that the planning application is described as a hybrid application but designated it an outline application with all matters except means of access reserved except that the proposed changes associated with the Grade II* listed National Sports Centre are fully detailed.

The S of S further stated that he considered Conditions 58-60 and the related Annex A1, which required the payment of money, would be unlawful and he proposed deleting Conditions 58-60 and the related Annex A1 as he considered that any arrangements for the payment of any monies for the improvement works, as originally set out in Conditions 58-60 and Annex A1 should be the subject of a planning obligation, and he invited the LDA to submit a reformulated section 106 agreement incorporating those provisions contained in Conditions 58-60 and Annex A1 of the Inspector's Report.

Eric Pickles agreed with the Inspector's recommendation to grant planning permission for the proposed development subject to the revised conditions, as set out in his letter of 21 July 2010 and the submission of a revised section 106 agreement which addresses concerns set out in this letter.

Robert McCracken QC and Annabel Graham-Paul have advised the CPCA that there are powerful legal grounds to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State in the High Court. Robert McCracken QC has kindly agreed to continue to act on a pro bono basis. Annabel Graham Paul has kindly agreed to act on the basis of much reduced fees. CPCA is currently preparing evidence and other material to tight deadlines and is urgently considering the matter of costs in so proceeding and the possibility of costs awarded against the applicants if the challenge were to fail.

It is probable that two persons, CPCA Chair John Payne and member Tony Elliott, will be the named applicants, and it is intended to ensure that they are protected or otherwise indemnified against possible adverse cost awards. Whilst the CPCA has some limited funds, donations are needed from members and others and a minimum of 10 persons are each asked to enter written surety to provide £500 towards any adverse costs award.

The purpose would be to indemnify the applicants against an adverse costs award. It is hoped that there would be no need to draw upon it, and that the exceptionally modest legal fees for CPCA representation would be recovered from the S o S.

Further information on the progress of the legal challenge will be forthcoming.

Mike Warwick


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