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Judge throws out Doon Street tower challenge


A man who claims he will be living in the shadow of Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ proposed 43-storey Doon Street tower at London’s Waterloo should have complained earlier, a High Court judge has ruled.

William Ashton claimed the skyscraper on the Southbank would overshadow the balcony of his flat at Broadwall, some 260 metres east of the development site.

Ashton was cleared to challenge planning permission for the construction of the tower, which will boast 329 new homes, a community sports centre, swimming pool and commercial premises, by former communities secretary Hazel Blears in 2008. His claim has already been rejected by Judge Mole at the High Court.

However, his latest challenge has also fallen foul in the eyes of Appeal Court judge Lord Justice Pill who ruled that Mr Ashton lacked legal ‘standing’ as he had not lodged a complaint during the public inquiry before planning permission was granted.

Sitting with Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Lord Justice Moore-Bick, he said: ‘I do not consider that the appellant had standing to bring the present claim. His participation in the planning process was insufficient in the circumstances to acquire standing.

‘He was not an objector to the proposal in any formal sense and did not make representations, either oral or written, at the properly constituted

Iain Tuckett, group director of project backers Coin Street Community Builders, said: ‘We are delighted that we are finally able to move forward with our plans for 329 new homes and these much-needed public swimming and indoor leisure facilities.  It will substantially improve the environment around Waterloo Bridge and the National Theatre and will enhance London’s skyline.’

Previous story (06.10.09)

English Heritage gives up fight against Doon Street tower

English Heritage (EH) and Westminster City Council have decided not to carry on with its legal battle to try and stop Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands’ Doon Street tower

In a statement released to the AJ, EH said it decided not to appeal against the recent High Court decision to allow the practice’s contentious 43-storey skyscraper near London’s South Bank.

EH mounted an ‘unprecedented’ legal challenge to torpedo the project,claiming the tower would cause ‘irreparable harm’ to the setting of Somerset House on the opposite side of the Thames, after Communities Secretary Hazel Blears came out in its favour last August.

The statement reads: ‘Despite the leave to appeal granted… we have decided not to pursue the issue further.  Reaching this decision has been difficult and we continue to believe that the development will permanently harm, not enhance, London’s precious historic environment.

‘EH and Westminster City Council jointly challenged the decision to grant planning permission for the Doon Street scheme because we felt that the advice of the planning inspector to the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was clear. It is important that where a Secretary of State does not agree with their expert Inspector, that her reasons for doing so are clear, reasoned and complete.

‘It is of continued concern to us that the subsidised community facilities espoused by many as a benefit so valuable that the provision thereof would outweigh any or all of the harm caused by the scheme, are not secured and may not be delivered.’

The scheme for Coin Street Community Builders will house 329 new homes and public swimming pool and leisure centre. The scheme was backed by local MP Kate Hoey, Lambeth Council and both Richard Rogers and Terry Farrell.


Readers' comments (3)

  • It's a really terrible decison to grant permission for this, which will have ramifications for other places.

    What happened to all the policies supposed to prevent this sort of thing happening, and protect the setting of historic buildings?

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  • There's still a long way to go before this monstrosity may be unleashed on London. Firstly a local Coin Street Community Builders (CSCB)resident - who was part of the initial action along with EH and WCC - is progressing his appeal, for which leave has been granted by the High Court; so hopefully the Court of Appeal will sling Blears' disgracefully partisan decision in the bin. Secondly there are covenants protecting the site from commercial development which were put in place when this site plus 6 others were sold to CSCB for £0.75m. These covenants have a financial clawback mechanism on any profits the development stands to make - which according to CSCB's own figures which they were forced to release at the public inquiry are projected at £31m (yet they are a "not for profit" organisation...). Thirdly on CSCB's own figures the scheme was unviable in 2007 - which formed part fo EH's case - and requried a £23m subsidy, which is more than the cost of the swimming pool! With raw material costs still rising but property prices stalling at best, this is getting more unviable by the month.
    In short this development will not be able to go ahead in the forseeable future. Which begs the question why the developers have pursued it for the past 9 years?

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  • It is to be hoped all the problems which still exist, as detailed above even with this latest blow, will indeed eventually derail this terrible scheme. It is not enough to say that this will fund 'community benefits'; so could a far less damaging scheme. It will not improve the environment around the National Theatre and it will not enhance the skyline in the slightest.

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