TfL sees off judicial review challenge over construction of cycle superhighway

Transport for London has defeated a High Court challenge brought by taxi drivers over the East West Cycle Superhighway (EWCS).

In The Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, R (on the application of) v Transport for London [2016] EWHC 233 (Admin) the LTDA, which has more than 10,000 members, sought a declaration that the construction of the East-West Cycle Superhighway (EWCS) by TfL without planning permission constituted a breach of planning control.

The issues in the case were:

(i) Does the construction of the EWCS constitute development under section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA)?

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(ii) If it does, is construction of the EWCS permitted development under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015?

(iii) Should relief be forthcoming in all the circumstances of the case?

Mrs Justice Patterson rejected the association’s claim. She concluded that on the evidence before the court, planning permission was not required for phase one of the EWCS as a whole.

“That is not to say that it may not be required for certain minor works within the scheme (that information is not before the court) or that it may not be required for other cycle superhighways or for parts of them in the future. Each scheme will need to be judged on its own facts and circumstances,” the judge said.

With that being the case, Mrs Justice Patterson said she did not need to deal with issue (ii) which only arose if the EWCS required planning permission.

In case she was wrong, she also dealt with issue (iii) and said she would have refused relief. This was for a number of reasons, including that it would have been inequitable to grant the declaration (in whichever of the versions sought by the claimant), and that the proceedings had not been brought promptly.

Responding to the judgment, Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “The High Court has rejected the LTDA's claim for judicial review concerning the East West Cycle Superhighway. The court agreed with us that planning permission was not required for the construction of the route to date, and dismissed all aspects of the LTDA’s claim.

“Construction continues to progress well and we are working hard to manage areas of temporary congestion around the construction sites. This cycle superhighway will make London’s roads safer for all and encourage a more efficient use of the road space.”

Timothy Straker QC and Phillip Patterson of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square appeared for TfL, instructed by its legal department.

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