Paddington Cube faces High Court legal test
Save Britain's Heritage challenge minister over decision failures
25 August, 2017 — By Chloe Livadeas
OPPONENTS of the £775million Paddington Cube development are fighting on after the door for a legal challenge was opened by a High Court ruling.
The Save Britain’s Heritage (SAVE) group was told it could bring a judicial review into local government secretary Sajid Javid’s decision not to call in the proposals for a public inquiry.
It must bring the action within the next three months and, if successful, it could force Mr Javid to look at the case again.
The proposals involve the redevelopment of
the former Royal Mail sorting office next to Paddington station and the Cube building, a new 14-storey glass office block, which objectors say will look out of place.
Health chiefs, mean- while, have warned the construction work will impede routes to hospitals in the area.
Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE, said Mr Javid needed to explain why he had not intervened.
“As a point of principle, it’s important for transp- arency and accountability that government gives their best reasons for major planning applications like this,” she said.
“This case has important implications for any individual or group involved in the planning
decision process. It’s an important test case.”
The designer behind the £775million project is Paris-based Renzo Piano, whose vision is of “a clear, floating cube ‘levitating’ above the ground”.
John Zamit, chairman of the South East Bayswater Residents’ Association (SEBRA), said: “We applaud SAVE and we welcome the success. We believe the proposal is flawed, and we object to the design of the cube that blights the surroundings. We regret the loss of the old sorting office.”
He added: “It will be interesting to see the reaction of the government. Our point of view is it’s one of the worst decisions ever – there was no full resolve about the access to ambulances.”
Sofia Massey-Cook, a member of SEBRA who runs the Twitter account “STOP the Paddington Cube”, said: “We are delighted that the secretary of state’s decision not to call in the Cube will be subject to further scrutiny. The much-vaunted public benefits do not justify this act of vandalism to the historic and architectural fabric of Paddington, and we are still hopeful that the plans will be shelved.”
The developers behind the scheme, Sellar Property Group and Great Western Development, said that the work, approved by Westminster Council’s planners, would continue.
A spokesman said: “SAVE is only challenging the secretary of state’s failure to give reasons not to call in the application, rather than the validity of the planning consent.
“It is not a challenge to the planning permission that was granted on the August 14, following signing of the Section 106 agreement.
“That permission remains unaffected by the judicial review and work on the development will continue.”
The case is likely to return to court in October.