Solicitors Deighton Pierce Glynn have issued a 'Letter before Claim' to Sutton Council ahead of judicial review proceedings regarding the Beddington Farmlands ERF. The letter claims that the decision is illegal and requests the defendant (Sutton Council) to withdraw the planning permission.
The Grounds for Legal Challenge are something like as follows (better to read the full letter linked below):
1) ILLEGALITY- Very special circumstances to over-ride Metropolitan Open Land status have not been demonstrated.
Beddington Farmlands is protected land safeguarded for development into a nature reserve as part of the Wandle Valley Regional Park as per conditions in previous planning applications and guided by policies within the London Plan, The National Policy Planning Framework and the Town and Country Planning Regulations. The special circumstances required to override this protection given were: the land being safe-guarded for waste management, no other available sites, meeting landfill obligations and local homes being supplied with heat -all these suggestions are claimed to be false by the claimant.
2) LEGITIMATE EXPECTATION- Local communities have been working towards the land being returned to the Wandle Valley Regional Park and a Nature Reserve in 2023 and have acted in reliance of that representation.
Basically local people have bought property in area, local communities have developed neighbourhood plans, community groups have been planting up green corridors to link to the new nature reserve, our bird group have been busy with conservation work and public engagement in preparation for the nature reserve being developed as per previous planning conditions. The ERF blights those efforts.
3) FAILURE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT RELEVANT CONSIDERATIONS- Environmental Effect of the combined heat and power (CHP) pipeline.
Basically the pipeline is probably a pipe dream but even if its not the proper environmental assessments have not been carried out (as the CHP network plan is only conceptual) . The planning report and associated documents wording is open ended with plenty of wriggle room for Viridor to once again default/defer on planning condition obligations. CHP networks are notoriously difficult to establish and there is the added problem of getting over the railway in our case. A CHP network promised as part of an incinerator in the London Borough of Southwark is still to materialise 20 years after it was promised. To use this ambiguous sitatuion as a VSC (a very special circumstance) is also part of grounds for challenge 1.
4) FETTERING OF DISCRETION- it is claimed that in effect the council surrendered independent judgement to Viridor and the South Lodnon Waste Partnership
5) APPLICATION WAS ASSESSED AGAINST INCORRECT POLICY- Basically something technical about the application should have been assessed against WP5 not WP3.
The Council now have two weeks to reply.
LOCAL PAPER ARTICLE
Inside Croydon post here: INSIDE CROYDON
Full letter before claim here: BEDDINGTON FARMALNDS LETTER BEFORE CLAIM