ADD2360 Kensington Forum Hotel Judicial Review costs

Type of decision: 
Assistant Director's decision
Code: 
ADD2360
Date signed: 
19 August 2019
Decision by: 
Juliemma McLoughlin, Assistant Director of Planning

Executive summary

On 5 November 2018 the Mayor issued a direction to call in the planning application for development at the Kensington Forum Hotel site. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council (RBKC) subsequently submitted a judicial review request to the High Court, challenging this decision. Following a protracted negotiation over the details of the Mayor’s direction, GLA officers on behalf of the Mayor decided to submit a Consent Order to the Court acknowledging that the decision should be quashed and re-taken. This was agreed by RBKC and confirmed by the Court on 16 April 2019. A subsequent direction to call in the application was made by the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration & Skills under delegated powers on 23 April 2019.

The GLA is required under the Consent Order to pay RBKC’s costs incurred making the Judicial Review claim, which have been agreed at £20,000.

Decision

That the Assistant Director of Planning approves:

The payment of £20,000 to RBKC for their costs following the Kensington Forum Hotel Judicial Review.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

On 5 November 2018, having considered a report on the application, the Mayor notified the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) that he would act as the local planning authority for the purposes of determining the planning application under the Town and Country Planning (Mayor of London) Order 2008 and the powers conferred by Section 2A of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

On 7 December 2018 RBKC issued a Pre-action Protocol Letter to the Mayor for a proposed claim for Judicial Review against the direction of the Mayor to become the local planning authority for the determination of the application and subsequently submitted the claim to the High Court.

The claim consisted of two main grounds; 1) that there had been a factual error in terms of how housing and affordable housing figures had been presented in the report accompanying the Direction; and 2) that the Mayor failed to take into account RBKC’s proposals for housing and affordable housing delivery on its own land. Permission was granted for the claim to proceed to the High Court on 13 February 2019.

Despite initially contesting the claim, GLA officers reviewed their position and, having taken Counsel’s advice, considered that the quickest and least costly way forward would be to agree that the Direction should be quashed and the decision re-taken by the Mayor.

This was agreed by RBKC and confirmed by the Court on 16 April 2019. A subsequent direction to call in the application was made by the Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration & Skills under delegated powers on 23 April 2019.

RBKC’s initial costs were submitted in excess of £24,000 (excl VAT), but following a period of negotiation this was reduced to £20,000 and agreed between the parties.

Objectives and expected outcomes

To pay the costs of £20,000 that have been agreed with RBKC following the Judicial Review.

Equality comments

There are no equalities implications relevant to this decision.

Financial comments

Approval is sought for expenditure of £20,000 to RBKC for their incurred legal costs following the Kensington Forum Hotel Judicial Review.

The costs will be funded from the Planning Smoothing Reserves.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Payment of costs

August 2019


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