High Court judges lend weight to Bankside development fight

Two High Court judges are among complainants challenging the Government in a possible House of Lords action over plans for a major development in Bankside, London SE1.

If the case, Lough v First Secretary of State, reaches the Lords, it will be the first major planning dispute to have a human rights angle since the celebrated Alconbury case against the Government in 2001.

The two judges, one of whom is Dame Ann Rafferty, who is one of the most celebrated members of the High Court judiciary, are among members of the Bankside Residents For Appropriate Development.

The pressure group, led by resident David Lough, is challenging the Government’s decision to allow Bankside Developments planning permission to develop a 20-storey building adjacent to the Tate Modern Art Gallery.

The case will go to the Lords if the Court of Appeal reverses its earlier ruling barring referral to the higher court.

The lawyer acting for the Bankside residents, Gordon Campbell, initially handled the case from Mishcon de Reya, where he was a partner, until he transferred to his current firm Steeles. He is instructing Richard Clayton QC and Christiaan Zwart, both of 39 Essex Street.

The developers, Bankside Developments, acting as an interested party in the case, has taken the unusual decision of instructing two silks, Mark Lowe QC and Harry Wolton QC, both of 2-3 Gray’s Inn Square, to handle the current application for referral to the House of Lords. They were instructed by Nigel Adams, an associate at Goodman Derrick.

Treasury counsel Nathalie Lieven of Landmark Chambers is acting for the Government.

The case will look at whether Article 8 of the Human Rights Act requires planning inspectors to carry out an investigation into the impact of a development on nearby residents’ amenities, such as television reception and property value.

The Lords ruled in the Alconbury case that the Government’s powers to pass planning applications did not breach the Human Rights Act.