Another legal challenge against Gateway road

Gabriel Carlyle SUS-150430-081720001
Gabriel Carlyle SUS-150430-081720001

An opponent of the Queensway Gateway road has been denied permission to apply for a second legal challenge - but he has vowed to continue the fight.

The Honourable Mr Justice Gilbart refused permission for a judicial review of Hastings Borough Council’s decision to grant planning permission for the road.

However applicant Gabriel Carlyle is now seeking permission for a judicial review at an oral hearing.

Mr Carlyle is raising funds to pursue his case through the crowdfunding site Crowd Justice.

Permission for the road was first granted in February 2015 but later quashed following a legal challenge over air pollution levels.

Developer Sea Change Sussex revised traffic and air quality figures and the planning application was passed again in December.

Mr Carlyle has branded the planning process as “not fit for purpose”.

He said: “The Queensway Gateway road would suck up millions of pounds of public money, increase carbon emissions and totally destroy the Hollington Valley local wildlife site.

“Moreover, it was very clear from the initial planning application that this road would cause unlawful air pollution, but Hastings Council passed the application regardless.

“Then Sea Change simply changed the figures, and the council passed the application again, regardless of the fact that it was the same road, with the same traffic, as it was in the first place. This whole fiasco makes a mockery of the democratic process.”

Mr Carlyle’s lawyer, Dr Paul Stookes of Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, said: “We remain of the view that the council has acted unlawfully and not complied with its air pollution obligations, and so the question of permission will now be decided by a judge in open court.

“It cannot be right for the council to accept what appear to be erroneous air pollution figures and then say it is OK to do so because it is democratically elected.

“The case raises an important point of law about the scope of review by the court and the right to challenge the substance of decisions such as these that affect people’s health and quality of life. We are now seeking community support towards the cost of the legal challenge.”

Earlier in the week, Hastings Borough Council had welcomed the judge’s decision.

Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, said: “I am pleased that the judge has at this stage upheld the council’s decision to grant planning permission.

“However, I am disappointed that, because the application for permission to seek a judicial review has been renewed, the matter is still not closed and will now have to go to an oral hearing before a High Court judge.

“We will continue to fight our case.”

A spokesperson for Sea Change said: “We’re pleased to hear the courts have rejected the protestor’s legal challenge, as we expected.

“The judge is clear in saying the protestor’s application was ‘an argument on merits dressed up as a challenge on legal principle’ – and that the merits of the scheme ‘are for the democratically elected local planning authority to determine.’

“The planning authority has clearly given the Queensway Gateway the green light and local people are keen to see such road improvements delivered as soon as possible.”

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