On November 28th 2014, in the judicial review brought by the Heath and Hampstead Society against the proposed works by the City of London, the judge found against the Heath and Hampstead Society and leave to appeal against her ruling was refused. She ruled that the Reservoirs Act did delegate the expert decision on safety standards to a single engineer, based on their professional view.
Whilst disappointing for so many of us who have been unpersuaded by the arguments made by the City, it had become clear before the hearings that the Environment Agency had come out in support of the City. This was an indication that the government was concerned to show its hand. Personally I thought that it would be unlikely in these circumstances, with flood defences being politically so high profile, that the court would find in favour of the H&H Society. It is an exceptional case where a local authority plans to spend a large amount of money on such a scheme and is wealthy enough to do so.
In these circumstances the Heath and Hampstead Society have decided not to go to the Court of Appeal. We need to ensure that all our efforts are on lobbying Camden Council Development Control Committee when the plans come up for approval at the public hearing, thought to be on 15th or the 22nd of January. The Heath and Hampstead Society will be represented at the hearing.
However it is important to realise that whilst we may not have stopped the plans, many of our arguments about the way initially they were going to do the works have made some difference. There is still much to say about the new buildings, the new deck and the impact that the work will make on the Ladies Pond, and we still have to ensure, if planning permission is given, that there will be a women's only pond for us to use whilst they are doing the work next winter. We will be having discussions on that.