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The Royal Courts of Justice in London, where Gabriel Carlyle’s re-application will be heard in open court (photo: Sjiong/Creative Commons).

Request for judicial review of road permission to be renewed after judge’s initial refusal

News that permission has been refused for a judicial review of Hastings Borough Council’s decision to give the go-ahead for the Queensway Gateway Road has been welcomed by the council and by Sea Change Sussex, the developer. But Gabriel Carlyle, who sought the review, says he will renew his application. Nick Terdre reports.

“I am pleased that the Judge has at this stage upheld the Council’s decision to grant planning permission,” said council leader Peter Chowney. “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.”

And a Sea Change Sussex spokesman told HOT: “We’re satisfied that the courts have rejected the protestor’s application for a judicial review, as we expected. The Judge has eloquently said 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 go-ahead and most of the community are keen to see such road improvements delivered as soon as possible, so will be pleased to hear this news.”

For the applicant an important legal principle is at stake. “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,” Gabriel Carlyle’s lawyer, Dr Paul Stookes of Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, said.

“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.”

The applicant’s case is that future likely levels of air pollution due to the road were inappropriately calculated, leading to the conclusion that legal limits would not be breached.

Mr Carlyle is seeking financial support from the community towards the cost of the legal challenge.

Air pollution has been in the national news recently with ClientEarth mounting a legal challenge to what it claims is the government’s “repeated failure to tackle illegal air pollution” in violation of a Supreme Court ruling last year ordering it to do so.

The activist lawyers’ group cites studies estimating that 40,000 premature deaths are caused each year by polluted air.

Artist and CHD member Emily Johns surrounded by security guards as she documents work on the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

Artist and CHD member Emily Johns surrounded by security guards as she documents work on the Queensway Gateway road (photo: CHD).

Meanwhile Sea Change said last week it had been working on vegetation clearance at the eastern end of the road site. “The clearance for the project is now substantially complete, having been undertaken by a specialist team in accordance with the appropriate licences and ecological best practice,” the spokesman told HOT.

However members of the anti-road group Combe Haven Defenders monitoring this work say they have been harrassed by unbadged, face-hiding security guards who have tried to stop them taking photographs.

“This is the reality of ‘regeneration’ in our town,” they say. “Hired heavies trying to stop local residents lawfully documenting the destruction of their green spaces.”

“This is really a fuss about nothing – more exaggeration by the protestors to try to make something out of nothing,” Sea Change commented. “The security team was there to ensure the works could be carried out without interruption and to keep the area clear to protect the safety of the works team and the public.

“A project like this wouldn’t normally require a security team at all. They were only there because the protestors had threatened to disrupt the work. The guards were all fully trained and experienced personnel from a reputable security company.”


You can contribute towards the cost of Gabriel Carlyle’s legal challenge here.

Emily Johns plans to hold an exhibition of her drawings in May – details yet to be decided.

This article was amended by Nick Terdre on 24 May 2016.

Posted 15:40 Wednesday, Mar 23, 2016 In: Campaigns


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. neville austin

    Maybe Sapphire Lady would care to reveal her real identity? On an issue like this – with both environmental and financial implications – maybe people should, as Mr Carlyle himself does, speak in public as their true self.

    May I remind you that it is the Council Tax payers and the Clients of HBC who will be paying for all the lawyers and back room costs. The community and its citizens, collectively and individually, who will lose services and support by paying yet more costs.

    Comment by neville austin — Saturday, Apr 2, 2016 @ 13:33

  2. Sapphire lady

    So quick to disparage Mr. Carlyle – Mr. Austin you need to thank people like him and the other campaigners who have done everything possible to save this historical valley. You cannot put a price on efforts to save the environment. I suggest you take look at what remains of this important listed valley. You may perhaps feel a little guilty? Nope, thought not.

    Comment by Sapphire lady — Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016 @ 19:44

  3. neville austin

    Some people will make good money from Gabriel Carlyle’s personal crusade => Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, a firm of solicitors in Cambridge and also with a branch office in London – so presumably making good money. The people who will pay Hastings Council’s legal costs will again be us, the people of Hastings and St Leonards. As also for all the additional costs that the delays will be causing in road construction. Gabriel Carlyle seems to be an active author and journalist – perhaps he will be a responsible member of the community and pay the community’s costs when his legal escapade fails again?

    Comment by neville austin — Monday, Mar 28, 2016 @ 14:20

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