Paul Scott hasn’t escaped being brought up before the beak over Brick by Brick just yet.
A High Court judge yesterday refused an application from a South Norwood resident for a Judicial Review of planning decisions made by Croydon Council, and its planning committee, over a scheme for its wholly owned house-building company, Brick by Brick, to build a Soviet-style block flats at the end of their and neighbours’ gardens, overshadowing their homes.
Planning permission was granted at the end of March by the planning committee, chaired by Scott, for Brick by Brick to build a three-storey block of flats on garages and a forecourt north of Avenue Road in SE25.
Scott, the councillor for Woodside and an architect by profession, chaired the planning meeting. The council cabinet member responsible for housing, and Brick by Brick, is Alison Butler, Labour’s deputy leader.
Butler and Scott are a married couple.
Not one of more than 40 applications for planning permission submitted by Brick by Brick has been refused.
The resident hoping to bring the case to protect her home is Alex Toogood.
Her lawyers made their case, laying out a litany of conflicts of interest between Scott, Butler, the council and Brick by Brick which, it suggests, pre-determined and prejudiced the quasi-judicial planning process, which is supposed to judge the merits of every planning application on its individual merits.
But last night, Toogood received some disappointing news from the court.
“We have been refused permission for Judicial Review on the papers,” she told Inside Croydon. But that is not the end of the matter.
“We are renewing our application to an oral hearing,” she said.
According to Toogood, the High Court judge refused permission on various grounds, “some of which we had little or no control over”.
She said, “We are extremely disappointed and are now deciding next steps. There is one more avenue open to us if we are to continue this fight – but that very much depends on whether we can raise any more funds.”
According to Toogood, lawyers acting for Croydon Council made an application to increase the amount that the applicants – Toogood and her neighbours – would have to pay towards the council’s legal costs, above the capped limit of £5,000. The judge refused the council’s application.
Toogood and her neighbours now have a fortnight to raise additional funding to bring an oral hearing before the judge.
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