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Charlie Cartwrights legal challenge - implications

posted Jan 31, 2010, 3:20 PM by Richard Cliffe
In filing for Judicial Review (by the High Court) of the Penwith District Council's handling of the Harbour Revision Order Charlie Cartwright hoped for a finding that the Council had not followed the early procedures correctly. Such a finding would have invalidated all the planning steps that happened afterwards.

As the Harbour Revision Order concerned extending  South Pier and adding rock armour as well as the  reclamation of land (the most contentous aspect of Option A) all of the final options (A, B and C) would have been stalled for years.  A more effective measure for delaying the proposed new ferry service and increasing the risk of having to fall back to using Falmouth (an option desired by few locally) is hard to imagine.

Mr Cartwright presumably calculated that sinking plans to support a new larger (combined freight and passenger) ferry vessel on South Pier at Penzance would provide an opportunity for his own twin hulled solution to be reconsidered (link to his proposals here).

Judical Review

To clarifiy a point, Judical Review is about ensuring that public bodies, including Councils, follow the procedures the law requires (act lawfully).  It is not so much about the decision they have reached but how they reached the decision.  If the process is found to be wrong then the decision that resulted is often stalled until the correct procedures have been followed (which may or may not result in a different decision). For a planning issue this can mean years of delay if the Council is found to have acted unlawfully.  Judical Review is expensive (~£50,000+ for full hearing) .