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Original Decision Reversed in Politically Explosive Westferry Planning Appeal Case

Melissa Murphy

Following the quashing of the decision of Robert Jenrick MP on the ground of apparent bias in 2020, the redetermination of the Westferry appeal has resulted in its dismissal. 

The Inspector’s report from the first inquiry in 2019 together with an updated 2021 report from him, were before the Minister (for Rough Sleeping and Housing on behalf of the Secretary of State). Agreeing with the Inspector’s recommendations, the key findings in the decision letter include that the appeal scheme would cause harm to the significance of Tower Bridge (a Grade I listed building) and a range of other heritage assets. The decision letter notes that the proposal failed to avoid harm by integrating heritage considerations early on in the design process. Moreover, it finds that the appeal scheme would be harmful to the character and appearance of the area, and would not enhance the local context by responding positively to local distinctiveness. The decision emphasises the importance of design and concludes that the scheme overall did not reflect local design policies or government guidance on design. 

Melissa Murphy represented the Greater London Authority throughout.