from: Philip Kolvin,
Bromley Civic Centre
DX 5727 Bromley
28th March 1999
Dear Beryl Cook,
Please find enclosed further representations by the Campaign. Please ensure that this letter And the representations are placed before Members of the Development Control Committee at your earliest convenience. Please also ensure that they are bound into the Agenda for members of the public.
I wish to raise two particular matters.
Section 2 of the document relates to access from Anerley Hill. We understand your point that the relevant committee to judicially review is the Leisure Services Committee. Please therefore let me know what, if any, rights have been granted over any land outside of the top site. If not, please let me know when the Council proposes to make agreements in that regard.
We are keen to effect a rapid disposal of this issue, as we imagine are you and the developer. We are therofore prepared to make a suggestion for such disposal.
We are prepared to agree to submit the point to arbitration by an arbitrator appointecl by the consent of yourselves and us, or in default of agreement by the Chairman of the Bar. Such arbitration is to be final and binding as to the point in issue. There will be no order as to the costs between any of the parties to the arbitration. We will meet one half of the costs of the arbitrator or the first £5000, whichever be the less. (We anticipate that this can easily be arbitrated for less than £10,000 total.) If the developer wishes to participate, we will meet £3,333 or one third of the arbitrator's costs, whichever be the less. All parties are to co operate in the rapid and expeditious disposal of the proceedings.
We believe that this point is particularly amenable to arbitration since it raises a matter of simple statutory construction..
We make this offer in an attempt to be helpful, and so as to avoid
a further long delay as would undoubtedly be occasioned by a further
judicial review. If you force us to take the latter route, we will
not hesitate to do so, but will produce this letter on the question
of leave and costs. In any event, we make this offer having regard to
the principles adumbrated in Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules,
and having regard to the general duty of the parties to co operate
with each other to settle their disputes as rapidly and cost
effectively as may be.
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As we point out in our attached document. if the planning authority grants detailed approval and is subsequently found in contempt of Parliament, it will be able to purge its contempt only by revoking the permission, which would involve the Council in a debt of several million pounds. I need not remind you that the ultimate sanction for contempt of Parliament is imprisonment.
It is therefore strongly recommended that the matter is dealt with by Parliament before and not after detailed approval is given.
We suggest that we make a joint approach to the Speaker to have the matter dealt with by a Parliamentary Committee at the earliest opportunity. We will co~operate with you and with Parliament in disposing of the issue with rapidity, i.e. within weeks not months.
These are undertakings freely given by the Council to Parliament. I have no doubt at all that, where there is a perfectly proper representation that you are about to breach them, the Council would wish to be seen to have the matter properly investigated before detailed approval is given. The alternative, of proceeding regardless, may involve the Council in enormous liabilities, for which the Council, and ultimately the Members, may need to answer to the District Auditor,
Chairman, Crystal Palace Campaign
cc Chief Planning Officer
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The Crystal Palace Campaign regrets the Council's perfunctory two page response to the 40 pages of detailed representations made by the Campaign. The Campaign does not regard the response as a reasoned approach to the legal and planning concerns raised. Members are respectfully urged to read the Campaign's representations, and to adjourn the meeting so that the matters raised may be given full and proper consideration. The Campaign does not reiterate points previously made, but makes the following points by way of rebuttal.
Officers have given no reasons for their belief that driving a road and tunnel through the park is lawful. The Campaign has Leading Counsel's advice that it is unlawful. It intends judicially to review any grant by the Council as landowner of rights to pass along the road and tunnel for the purposes of the multiplex. Given the difficulties this will cause to the implementation of any permission granted, and given the undesirability of permitting construction of a road which may never be used, it would be preferable to await resolution of this matter before granting detailed approval.
Please see attached letter to Chief Legal Officer, which makes a sound and reasonable suggestion for swift resolution of the issue.
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The simple reason why this application should not be determined is that there are judicial proceedings in the House of Lords challenging the legality of the outline permission. Out of respect for the judicial process, the Council ought to await the final resolution of those proceedings.
The advice given by officers to members is plainly wrong. The Parliamentary Undertaking:
(1) says that the building must "contain" a predominance of glass and metal. That denotes a simple arithmetical exercise, easily performed both for the original Palace and the building before Parliament in 1989, which both obviously contained a predominance of glass and metal. This could be proved not only arithmetically, but also by the naked eye which was capable of viewing the curved, glazed, trancepts and nave from within and without.
(2) does not say that the test is "the impact of the building as viewed from normal external vantage points on or near ground level." as suggested in the Council's response.
The developer's desire to build, and the Council's wish to grant permission for, the largest rooftop car park in the country, and the need for the car park to be made of concrete, do not absolve the Council as planning authority from observing the undertaking which it gave to Parliament in 1989.
It is absolutely essential that this matter is resolved before permission is granted because the granting of planning permission will itself amount to a contempt of Parliament. The undertaking was expressly made by the Council as planning authority. If permission is granted, the Campaign intends to bring proceedings in Parliament against the planning authority. Should the planning authority be found guilty of contempt, the only means of purging its contempt will be to revoke the permission and pay compensation. This will cost the Council many millions of pounds.
Thus Members are respectfully urged not to take precipitate action, but to assist in the resolution of this issue before permission is granted.
Members are referred to the attached letter to the Chief Legal Officer, which makes a reasonable suggestion for the resolution of this issue.
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The Council's approach contains a non sequitur. At the time the condition was imposed, the developer neither owned nor had control of any land outside the application site. Therefore no condition for works over such land could be imposed. The last sentence of the response, which asserts that at the time the condition was imposed it was valid, is therefore wrong.
More fundamentally, to say that the intention to have an access from Anerley Hill has been in the public domain since July 1997 is to misunderstand the Council's responsibilities to consult. This access, through which thousands of cars will pass both day and night, was not the subject of the original planning application, was not advertised, was not the subject of statutory notification to residents of Anerley Hill, and was not the subject of site notices. Presumably by "public domain", officers mean discussion at the planning meetings of July 1997 and March 1998. The usual position is that local residents are properly notified of a Council's intention so that they may make representations, not that they have to turn up at a planning meeting on spec just in case the Council proposes to place the entrance to a major development literally on their doorstep. The fact that the neighbouring area is a Conservation Area simply adds force to the argument.
The truth is that there has been a legal, procedural and consultative laxity here. The Council and the developer, so as to be seen to observe the law, and so as to avoid an accusation of unfair dealing with the nearest neighbours of this development, should submit an application for the access.
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Members are respectfully urged to give section 6 their partcularly careful consideration. They are reminded that they are considering probably the most prominent building that is ever likely to be constructed south of the river, on a tree lined skyline ridge regarded as strategically important in their own UDP.
In this context, the fact that the impact on the skyline ridge has not received professional appraisal simply beggars belief. The Campaign has produced one demonstration of the impact at Appendix 3 to its submissions. But this is one of hundreds. This requires the most careful and professional appraisal. There is no indication whatsoever that officers have ever carried out such an appraisal. It is of such importance that the Council should take advice from top, independent sources.
The Bromley response says effect on the skyline was "taken into account by Members" at the outline stage. Members had no advice about what the views of the skyline ridge even were, let alone how they would be affected. They did not know how far above the tree line the building would project, and took no aesthetic advice as to whether this was desirable or undesirable.
Members arc therefore asked to adjourn the meeting, and to ensure that when they meet again they are in possession of a detailed, professional appraisal as to visual impact within the wider locality.
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The officers' glib 10 line response to the Campaign's 11 page appraisal of traffic issues is particularly disappointing. They have simply not addressed the detailed appraisal and calculations put forward by the Campaign. Given that the difficulties regarding traffic arose out of their admitted errors, this is very poor.
The officers' advice that the Council has no more power to deal with those errors so as to minimise traffic impact is simply wrong. There can be no conceivable reason why Members cannot limit the size of the building (which has increased since the grant of outline consent), limit the number of seats, require a greater proportion of community floorspace, limit overall capacities, limit advertising, limit car parking both locationally and in relation to overall numbers, require car parking charges, require a parking audit, require shuttle services, and make it clear in any permission for the park that the car parks in the park should not be used for overflow car parking for the multiplex. The few remaining conditions suggested may be dealt with by way of a section 106 agreement, which should be explored now with the developer.
If, on the other hand, Members accept their officers' view, they will be entitled to ask why none of these matters was explored and controlled at the outline stage. They are absolutely crucial to the preservation of the amenity of the park and the surrounding area.
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No reason is given why more than one restaurant is permitted. It is hard to see how Members can make a sensible decision about this. The public certainly will not be able to understand the Council's position unless fully expressed.
We are afraid that there is an evident 1ack of thought in the Council's response. The 1995 Regulations have nothing whatever to do with this application. In any case, the Council has failed entirely to deal with the fact that, as is now generally recognised, the European Directive has direct effect. Therefore, the matter does not turn on the wording of domestic legislation: it is also a question of whether the Directive is itself breached. For the reasons given by the Campaign , and not addressed by officers, it is. Members are urged to give this proper consideration. Out of fairness, the Campaign notifies the Council of its intention to pursue infringement proceedings in the European Court of Justice.
Crystal Palace Campaign
28th March 1999
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Last updated 24/4/99