The Judicial Review Process

East Street / Brightwells development

Judicial Review

Farnham Interest Group (FIG) has now applied for permission to seek a Judicial Review into the East Street / Brightwells development.

FIG is a group representing The Farnham Society, Farnham Building Preservation Trust, and East Street Action Group. It was formed to challenge and fight the East Street redevelopment, as was proposed and has subsequently been revised. The Group is in favour of redevelopment of the area south of East Street, but is of the view that any development must be sustainable and must be in keeping with Farnham. In 2013, FIG challenged the Compulsory Purchase Order to acquire the Marlborough Head.

The Judicial Review is a process for examining whether the law has been followed when a planning decision was taken. It does not look into the planning merits of the decision.

FIG is seeking to overturn the planning decision made by Waverley Borough Council on 24 May 2016, to proceed with the East Street / Brightwells development, having made changes to the scheme. Regulations for Public Contracts require that when a significant change is made which benefits the developer financially, then the contract should be retendered. Otherwise, developers who tendered for the original scheme are put at a disadvantage. FIG therefore believe that WBC’s decision of 24 May was unlawful.

FIG has initiated the challenge by applying for permission for Judicial Review. This has entailed engaging a barrister to prepare a legal submission, which has now gone before a judge.

There are three possible outcomes: –
1. If the Judge deems there is a sufficiently arguable case then he will give leave (i.e. allow the applicant) to take it to an oral hearing, when it will be decided whether WBC’s decision was unlawful and therefore should be quashed;
2. If the Judge deems the case too complicated, this will effectively mean that deciding whether to give leave to go to a hearing entails as much work as deciding whether WBC’s decision was lawful. The case is then ‘rolled up’, and the judge will refer the issue to an oral hearing, which will decide the issue, as if leave had been granted.
3. If the Judge deems our case not sufficiently arguable and refuses to give leave, then the claimants will withdraw the application.

Costs of preparing the application have been met from the funds of The Farnham Society and Farnham Building Preservation Trust. The further funds required for the Judicial Review will be sought from a appeal to the public.

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