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Day in court

by Anood Al-Samerai on 16 January, 2015

Councillor Eliza Mann spent yesterday at the High Court in the Strand to hear the most frustrating news that the judicial review case against the tunnelling direction of the Thames Tunnel from Chambers Wharf has collapsed due to a serious council error. As opposition councillors we will be demanding answers from the Leader of the Council about how the court case can have been so messed up.

Last September two Conservative ministers gave the go-ahead to the controversial Thames Tideway Tunnel project to build a new sewer from Acton to Beckton. Residents and community campaigners around Chambers Wharf, objected to the direction of the tunnelling proposals which would cause huge disruption, noise, pollution and dirt for seven years while tunnelling and excavation works are carried out. The Chambers Wharf site is surrounded by hundreds of homes and a primary and secondary school are nearby.

Local Liberal Democrats, including Simon Hughes MP, have supported residents objecting to the plans and have given evidence at various stages of the planning process. The Council, with cross-party support, also decided to apply for a judicial review of the government’s decision to go ahead with the scheme without reversing the tunnelling direction.

It has now come to light that the Council failed to submit its application according to the required legal timescales – it was lodged a day after the deadline. The High Court threw out the Council’s application yesterday as a result.

This is a bitter blow for all the residents, local councillors and local MP who have been fighting Thames Water’s plans to build the Super Sewer at Chamber’s Wharf. We all trusted the Council to represent our community in court. Now the case for a judicial review has been thrown out all because the Council couldn’t manage to submit its paperwork on time. This must rank among one of the Council’s worst-ever bungles. It is totally incompetent and amateur. The Leader of the Council must now explain why Southwark has let its residents and our community down so badly.

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