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Procurement challenge over redevelopment of 'ghost stations' dismissed

The High Court has dismissed as “totally without merit” a judicial review challenge to Transport for London’s procurement for the redevelopment of ‘ghost’ underground stations.

Claimant Ajit Chambers had said that TfL breached its public law duties and acted unfairly, thus depriving his firm The Old London Underground Company of a fair opportunity to win a contract.

Barristers at 11KBW, who acted for TfL, said the judges dismissed both the application for judicial review and for an interim junction as “totally without merit”.

The court also held that the procurement concerned the award of a lease and there was no sufficient public law element to support a claim for judicial review, that the case was anyway time barred and there was no arguable ground of public law challenge to TfL's decision not to take forward Mr Chambers' bid.

Mr Chambers had wanted to create a tourist attraction in the former Down Street station - situated on the Piccadilly Line between Green Park and Hyde Park Corner stains.

It closed in 1932 but was used as a secure bunker during bombing by prime minster Winston Churchill during the World War Two.

Mr Chambers had hoped to draw on this history with his attraction, but was not awarded any money when he took his idea to television’s Dragons Den.

Programme judges were unwilling to advance £2m to him for a site he did not own.

TfL last year advertised for a partner to turn Down Street “into a commercially viable business” as part of its efforts to raise £3.4bn in non-fare revenue.

It said it would lease the 400 square metres space “to businesses who have the ability to use the space to create something exceptional and establish the next chapter in the station's history”.

The network has a number of similar abandoned stations including York Way, Aldwych, Lords and South Kentish Town.

Mark Smulian

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