Save Our Green Lanes Judicial Review to go to appeal

on Tuesday, 23 August 2016. Posted in N21 Community

 
The Save Our Green Lanes campaign group has been refused permission to apply for judicial review - on the grounds that Enfield Council does NOT have to listen to the views of its residents. In his judgment, Mr Justice Ouseley stated that the council can make assertions about safety, traffic congestion, improved local economy, etc., without evidence, even if those claims later turn out not to be true. Secondly in his judgment, the council has given us a second opportunity to make comments at the statutory consultation.
 
In the recent A105 statutory consultation there were a large number of objections lodged - the report on the Statutory Consultation has yet to be published, yet Cllr Daniel Anderson is intending to plough on regardless. 
 
SAVE OUR GREEN LANES (SOGL) IS IN THE PROCESS OF APPEALING ON THIS DECISION.
 
The judge concluded that it is acceptable for a local authority to make claims for which there are no grounds, and to then not tell residents the truth when later analyses show those claims to be false.
 
The judge had gone through the claims made by Enfield for the A105 Cycle Enfield scheme in some detail, including the claim that the scheme would result in ‘a better Enfield for everyone’ During the hearing the very great gap between what was claimed by Enfield in its publicity for the scheme and the truth reported in the later impact assessments was revealed. Air quality would be worsened at many points along the A105 and any ‘regenerative’ impact on shops is likely to be negligible at best, or more likely negative.
 
Indeed, Mr Justice Ouseley concluded by saying that “There will be winners and losers” if the Cycle Enfield plans for the A105 go through. Despite this, however, he concluded that this did not mean that the claims made by Enfield Council during the consultation that the scheme would lead to a ‘better Enfield for everyone’ were ‘unfair’.
 
Despite SOGL providing many witness statements from people who had been denied access to a paper copy and from visually impaired residents who testified to the failure of the council to provide consultation materials in accessible format the judge also concluded that 'no-one who had asked for a paper copy had not received one' and accepted the council's claims that materials had been provided in accessible format to visually impaired people.
 
The judge also did not consider the independent report that SOGL had commissioned on air quality that found that the data used by Enfield for their air quality report had been seriously flawed and the report exaggerated the likely benefits.
 
Following the hearing Costas Georgiou, deputy Chair of SOGL said:
 
"We had supplied many sworn witness testimonies showing the council failed to make paper copies of the consultation available on multiple occasions, and testifying to the illegibility of the council's supposedly accessible format materials. The judge did not even mention these issues during the hearing, and chose instead during his summing up to just read from the report to the Cabinet – a report whose lack of accuracy has been the subject of a formal complaint to the council which remains unresolved.”
 
If left unchallenged the decision leaves Enfield residents facing the scheme being bulldozed through by a council that is determined to ignore the damage the scheme will cause to residents and businesses. The decision also appears to give Local Authorities carte blanche in future to make unsubstantiated claims for any scheme they decide to pursue. This potentially has wide-reaching implications for local authority governance.
 
Mr Georgiou said:
 
“SOGL is therefore appealing this decision. We also call on Enfield Council to hold an independent Public Inquiry as required by highways law.”
The Save Our Green Lanes campaign group has been refused permission to apply for judicial review - on the grounds that Enfield Council does NOT have to listen to the views of its residents.

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