On Tuesday 16 December George Turner will contest the Secretary of State’s decision to grant planning permission to the Shell Centre development on South Bank. The plans are like so many others: millionaires’ penthouses in exclusive towers, overshadowed public spaces and the damage to, or loss of, heritage assets.
His case confronts the vital part played by confidential financial viability appraisals. The developers Canary Wharf Group said theirs proved that they could provide no more then 20% of affordable homes but Turner uncovered financial documents shown to investors, which valued the scheme at £300 million more than the developers were telling Lambeth. This evidence was ignored by the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State.
In July Tuner said: “we need to challenge this in the courts because it sets a bad precedent for London. If the decision is allowed to stand we can say goodbye to a lot of affordable housing.”
He will also challenge the Secretary of State’s conclusion that 7 tall towers directly behind the Grade 1 listed Festival Hall are not visually intrusive from any viewpoint.
George is asking the High Court to direct the Government to follow the law, to have regard to the evidence, to the views of objectors and to planning policy. If the judge finds in his favour he will be confirming that the decision-makers responsible for the future of London must start to listen to the people who live in it.
Meet at the High Court, The Strand, 10am on Tuesday 16 December. Sit in the public gallery from 10.30am or at any time during the two-day hearing to show support. Please spread the word about this case.
See more information about the case and Shell plans here
The decision may have implications for the Westfield/Hammerson
and other developments Croydon Town in relation
to the arguments about the level of affordable housing.