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'Ambiguous' Bishopsgate ruling supports demolition

The latest chapter in the legal battle over the future of London's historic Bishopsgate Goods Yard viaduct has ended, with both London Underground (LUL) and the London Railway Heritage Society (LRHS) claiming victory.

Both sides believe that the ruling, which sent LUL away with a flea in its ear for breaking planning regulations but said that the scheme is no longer a case for the judiciary, represents victory for their argument.

However, indications are that the ruling will eventually benefit LUL and those who want to see the viaduct's demolition under way as soon as possible. But the LRHS has asserted that it will not give up the fight, claiming there are still a number of legal avenues open to campaigners.

High Court judge Mr Justice Ouseley upheld the Railway Heritage Society's claim that LUL had broken planning regulations on public consultation, but said he did not support the argument that the scheme should therefore be shelved. Ouseley instructed LUL to renegotiate planning consent with the two local authorities responsible for the site, Hackney and Tower Hamlets. And Ouseley told the court that it is 'no longer a case for the judiciary'.

This will come as a disappointment to those who want to see the area saved from demolition as both local councils have a long-standing history of backing the tube extension for regeneration reasons.

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