The appeal hearing for permission for judicial review took place on Friday. Sadly, after some deliberation by Lord Justice Underhill, we were refused permission for a judicial review. We did get a fair and sympathetic hearing this time; it is a pity that we didn’t get this judge at an earlier stage.
It was interesting that Basildon Council chose to send their legal team and their barrister to the hearing (and the earlier cancelled hearing). They were not invited but were entitled to be present but not allowed to speak unless the judge allowed them to do so. Neither were they entitled to their costs. Over the last few weeks they have repeatedly contacted our solicitor and she has been forced by legal protocol to reply and send them papers AT OUR COST! Clearly they were worried and rightly so.
Although we have been refused our judicial review, the fact remains that Basildon Council in failing to inform and consult fully with the public and our elected councillors are in breach of the European Commission Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive. Information was withheld from us even after Freedom of Information requests. Local wildlife groups were not consulted despite Natural England saying they should be. Officers of the council chose not to pass on local wildlife groups serious concerns to members of the Development Control and Traffic Management Committee who are our elected representatives and had to vote on the plan. Other information known to officers was only presented as a redacted report to the public and elected councillors. Some information is still not in the public domain. Some information now differs to that which was presented at the planning meeting.
We are looking at the possibility of taking our case to the European Court. When we have sufficient information on costs, timescale and potential outcome we will call a public meeting to discuss the course of action we should take with supporters. In the meantime if you have any comments you can email them to gag2011 on the form below.
Thank you for your support. It has really kept us going through the tough times and we are determined to get justice for the people of Basildon.