Crowdjustice fundraising update – plans that will destroy the Happy Man Tree to go back to the planning committee and judicial review applied for.
Hackney Council have conceded that the Woodberry Down Phase 3 development application, which includes the removal of the Happy Man Tree, amongst other mature trees, will go back to the planning committee for reconsideration – they are suggesting in September 2020. The reason they have given for going back to the planning committee is that the Council has adopted a new Local Plan but it seems to us that our judicial review pre-action protocol letter obviously prompted the reconsideration.
Whatever the reason, we hope that going back to committee his will provide a genuine opportunity for our objections and alternative proposals for Phase 3 to be properly discussed. The council will be mindful of the recent judgement of the High Court in the Holborn Studios case, that found that their attempts to limit what they consider to be lobbying in the planning process are unlawful. The council have stated that they will be reviewing this practice.
Although the Council and Berkeley Homes have said they do not intend to cut down the Happy Man Tree prior to the reconsideration, we are concerned that Hackney Council and Berkeley Homes are relying on a licence entered into on or about 24 April 2020 (the same date as the resolution to grant planning permission) to allow Berkeley Homes to go onto the Council’s land and cut down the Happy Man Tree. We asked them not to rely on this licence to cut down the Happy Man Tree and to obtain another licence if they do receive planning permission to cut down the tree as part of the Phase 3 development. They both refused so we had no choice but to issue judicial review proceedings to quash this licence.
We continue to seek dialogue with Hackney Council and Berkeley Homes about working up alternative designs for Phase 3 that have previously been put on the table, and which do not involve the cutting down of the Happy Man Tree, and to support positive outcomes for all parties.