Court of Appeal dismisses train station redevelopment appeal

Release Date: 15/05/2013

Richmond Council is pleased that today, after 18 months’ delay as a result of a legal challenge, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal on the redevelopment of Twickenham Station.

In December 2011, Richmond Council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for a development by Solum (a partnership of landowners Network Rail and Kier Ltd) which had been scaled down from a previous proposal. The development includes key improvements to the station, incorporating a new modern entrance and ticket hall, lifts to all platforms, improved public transport interchange facilities, a café, a riverside walk and a new public plaza with a development of flats above the scheme.

The Greater London Authority and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government can intervene in planning applications such as this, should they have particular concerns. However, after consideration of the decision and other representations, both announced that they would not be overriding Richmond’s Planning Committee decision.

Since the decision was made, a group of local residents (TRAG), has sought to challenge it and presented its case to the High Court at the end of last year. The Judge reviewed all the evidence presented and agreed with the Council that the process followed was correct and the decision properly made. TRAG subsequently appealed the decision. A Court of Appeal judge gave leave to TRAG to appeal to the Court of Appeal but only on one ground – whether or not the planning committee gave adequate consideration to a report by the Twickenham Advisory Panel.

Following a hearing at the Court of Appeal on 30 April, three Judges reviewed all the documentation and evidence and found that, whereas the TAP report had been left out of consideration, there was no real possibility that the Planning Committee would have reached a different conclusion if the report had been taken into account.

Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said:

“I welcome the Court’s decision today and I hope that we can finally lay this matter to rest and move forward with creating a train station that is fit for purpose.

“Twickenham station is a disgrace and whilst this whole process has resulted in massive delays to the developers’ schedule, I now hope that they can make enough progress to be able to deliver a 21st century station in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2015, when the eyes of the world will be on our town.

“This Council and other key stakeholders are investing millions of pounds into improving Twickenham after a generation of neglect. It is time to proceed.”

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Updated: 15 May 2013