Legal victory protects Jolly Boatman campaigner

Date:

06/08/2010

Author:

Oliver Florence

Source:

Surrey Advertiser

Matter:

Garner - Hampton Court Palace

File:

AN architect fighting plans to redevelop the former Jolly Boatman site has been given the green light to continue his legal challenge after a court ruling protecting him from excessive costs.

Keith Garner was victorious in the Court of Appeal, with judges deciding his costs should be limited to £5,000 if he loses his battle with Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC).
Mr Garner said he was pleased with the granting of a protective costs order, which means he will be able to battle onto a full hearing on his application for judicial review later this year.

He added: "My legal costs will probably run into higher figures but I am taking this on as a public interest case.
"I am now asking the council to throw in the towel."
Mr Garner's case is that the council made two legal errors when it granted permission for a hotel, flats and care home on the land of the former Jolly Boatman pub opposite Hampton Court railway station.

He believes the local authority did not take proper account of the need to protect the setting of the historic palace, where he worked on repair projects in the 1990s.
He also said the council ignored government guidance on flood protection.
The ruling overturns a previous High Court judgment that refused Mr Garner protection from costs.
Costs of £15,000 have now been awarded against Elmbridge Borough Council.

The ruling is the latest blow to the authority and the project after the withdrawal last month of the Royal Star and Garter Homes, which hoped to move its military veterans from their current residence in Richmond.

Developers Gladedale have insisted they will be able to find another care home to move into the development, although they have admitted the delays caused by the legal challenge had caused difficulties.
A spokesman for EBC said: "The council's opposition to a protective costs order has been made precisely to protect the public purse.

"The claimant wants the council's costs to be paid by the local taxpayer, even if he loses the case.
"Gladedale is confident it can secure an alternative care provider for the site. The permission is not dependent on the occupation of any particular provider."