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Challenge by council to London super-sewer plans dismissed as "out of time"

A High Court judge has rejected a London borough’s bid to bring judicial review proceedings over the Thames Tideway Tunnel, the capital’s so-called ‘super-sewer’, for being out of time.

Southwark Council had brought legal action over the proposals to use Chamber’s Wharf as a drive site for the tunnel.

According to infrastructure planning specialist Angus Walker of Bircham Dyson Bell, the Government successfully challenged Southwark’s action for having been made a day after the expiry of the six weeks provided for in the Planning Act.

Another judicial review challenge over the tunnel fell foul of the same issue, while Mr Justice Ouseley rejected two more for not being arguable.

In a statement on its website, Southwark said: “This was a complex legal case which was argued for four hours by QCs at court yesterday. Unfortunately the judge disagreed with our lawyers’ interpretation of the legislation and court practice rules. “This decision emphasises the challenge local communities and councils will face when objecting to major infrastructure projects.”

Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: "We are extremely disappointed by this decision and the Government’s decision to not consider alternatives to Chambers Wharf. We always knew this was going to be a tough battle, but I wanted Government ministers to have to justify to local residents why they think its acceptable that their lives should be blighted in this way.

“I again repeat my challenge to Eric Pickles and Liz Truss. Come to Bermondsey and speak to people about why they think seven years of 24 hour a day noise next to homes and schools is ok.”

Cllr John added: "We will now go back and look at our options, take advice from counsel and make a decision on our next steps. Meanwhile we will continue to work with residents to mitigate the harm they will suffer."

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