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Residents take legal action over proposed demolition in Bath

Lawyers launch legal challenge to prevent demolition of housing estate in Bath

12 January 2018

Lawyers from Leigh Day have this week launched a formal legal challenge to prevent the demolition of a social housing estate in Bath.

Residents from the Foxhill Residents’ Association had contacted the firm after Bath and North Somerset Council (B&NES) granted the developer Curo outline permission to demolish and rebuild large parts of the estate last year.

In legal documents sent to the council in December, Leigh Day outlined what they considered to be a number of flaws in the initial planning application related to equality and socio-economic considerations. The local council disagreed with these arguments, leading to the issuing of a judicial review claim this week at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

The council will have 21 days from receipt of the court papers to respond to the request.

Under current plans Curo is due to demolish up to 542 homes in Foxhill and replace them with up to 700 new homes, with the loss of more than 200 social homes for rent.
  • A judicial decision could be months away but would consider whether the council:
  • failed to properly consider the impact on persons with protected characteristics;
  • misinterpreted its own policy on redevelopment of housing estates; and
  • omitted to taken into account the relevant considerations of whether:
  1. the development would be acceptable if it was not possible to rehouse residents in nearby Mulberry Park; or
  2. the planning permission granted for Mulberry Park would be undermined as it would no longer provide additional social housing.

If a judge finds the decision-making process was legally flawed as above, the council could be made to retake the decision.

Rowan Smith, solicitor at Leigh Day, said: “Many of the Foxhill estate residents feel that they live in a settled and stable community, which will be completely ripped apart by the unnecessary redevelopment of the whole estate. Foxhill Residents’ Association has legitimate complaints over the Council’s failure to assess the impact on vulnerable groups, explore the viability of additional social housing and deal lawfully with how the planning permission granted on a neighbouring site affected this redevelopment, none of which the Council properly addressed in its reply letter. Therefore, these are all matters for the High Court to rightly consider.”

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