As part of the planning permission for the vast new Westfield shopping centre, Hammersmith and Fulham Council had extracted from the developers generous contributions under section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for other local regeneration improvements. These included a desirable refurbishment of the adjacent Shepherds Bush Common. This is an intensively-used open space at the centre of a heavily-populated diverse neighbourhood with no other open space.
An ambitious scheme for the refurbishment had therefore been prepared but, in spite of more than 70 objections to parts by many local residents and the society during the consultation and planning stages, the council submitted the application to the Planning Inspectorate for approval under the London equivalent to the national commons legislation.
The objections were repeated at a two-day public inquiry. As a result, the inspector, Barney Grimshaw, refused to allow a new café and electricity substation building as intrusive and unnecessary, and he refused a mound which would have caused the removal of two fine trees.
The inspector also noted that our representative, Bernard Selwyn, had argued that the council’s QC was wrong to claim that the council is the only occupier (in legal terms) of the common; it merely holds the open space in trust for the public.
Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook says: ‘We are delighted with the result. We were pleased to back local people in opposing those elements of the scheme which would have had a damaging effect on this important and much-loved common.’
Read the decision here