Boris Johnson’s decision to approve the redevelopment of a Royal Mail site in central London is facing a High Court challenge, AJ has learned
Lawyers instructed by Islington Council are expected to file papers seeking a judicial review of the London Mayor’s approval of the 681-home Mount Pleasant scheme ahead of Monday’s deadline (11 May). A decision on whether Camden Council will join the bid is due to be made tomorrow (8 May).
Johnson initially gave his backing to the proposals – drawn up by Allies and Morrison, Wilkinson Eyre, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and AHMM - following a City Hall inquiry last autumn. But the final sign-off for the scheme was only agreed in March.
Royal Mail originally applied for planning permission for the scheme to both Camden and Islington councils, because the sorting-office site straddles the boundary between the two. However, the postal service accused the authorities of seeking to delay a decision and Johnson used his mayoral powers to wrest determination from the boroughs.
Both Camden and Islington subsequently said they would have refused the application. Particular areas of contention surrounding the scheme include the level of affordable housing provision agreed between Royal Mail and Johnson, and aspects of the site design – including linkages between the Camden and Islington sites.
AJ understands Islington could file its application for a Judicial Review hearing as early as tomorrow. Camden Council’s executive member for regeneration and transport will also decide whether to join the action tomorrow.
A spokesman for the mayor of London said that by taking responsibility for the Mount Pleasant planning application, Johnson had been able to resolve a scheme that had spent several months jammed in the planning process.
‘He was pleased to be able to approve plans that will lead to the construction of almost 700 new homes,’ he said.
‘In the event that a legal challenge is submitted the mayor’s team are confident that his decision will be upheld.’