Judicial Review “missed opportunity”

You may have seen an article on social media, suggesting that the Save Princes Parade campaign missed an opportunity to win the judicial review. There are several glaring errors in this article, the main one being that a contract for professional services and a planning permission are in any way connected.

The judicial review was taken to challenge the legality of the process by which planning was granted for development on Princes Parade. Originally, we presented to our legal team with eight items (grounds) we wished to contest in the judicial review. On the advice of the lawyers, only the two strongest arguments that were more likely to succeed were taken forward. Unfortunately, as you know, we were ultimately unsuccessful.

We were fully aware of the irregularities in the awarding of the Faithful and Gould contract and have been pursuing this for two years directly with F&HDC who refused to release any audit trail information. Subsequently we escalated it as a complaint to the Information Commissioner. In March this year, after much prevarication from the Council, the Commissioner issued her final Decision Notice which instructed F&HDC to issue the audit trail in full. This, however, was found to not be possible because of the Council’s unsatisfactory claim that as a matter of policy they destroy all emails after 12 months – including critical documents pertinent to current and recent contracts. That is not simply an unsatisfactory policy it is unlawful. Since this is new information we have yet to decide how best to capitalise on this. We are therefore still pursuing the Council regarding this Faithful and Gould contract, but this has nothing to do with the grounds we contested during the judicial review which, by law, for planning applications, is restricted to the decision process rather than the unlawful actions of the applicant.

We appreciate that the history of our struggle to stop the proposed development on Princes Parade is long and full of complex detail, and can be easily misunderstood, but I wanted to assure members that the Faithful and Gould contract mentioned in the online article has no connection with the planning decision by FHDC and certainly was not relevant to the judicial review.