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Vertigo Inquiry

James Pereira QC

The long-running inquiry into an appeal by Willbond Limited against the decision by Westminster City Council to refuse planning permission for the erection of five luxury penthouse flats at South Lodge in St John's Wood, London NW8, finally concluded on 12th April 2006. The Inspector's decision, dismissing the appeal, was received on 17th May 2006.

The original inquiry, which commenced in January 2005, had to be abandoned after three days when it became known that the Inspector suffered from vertigo and would be unable to conduct the roof-top site visit needed to assess concerns about overlooking. A replacement Inspector was then appointed, and the inquiry had to start again from the beginning in February 2006. The inquiry then sat for five days.

The three parties involved have made a joint application for costs against the Planning Inspectorate for the wasted expenditure incurred in respect of the first three days of inquiry time in 2005. The decision in respect of that application is expected soon.

Keith Lindblom Q.C. appeared on behalf of Willbond Limited, Hereward Phillpot appeared on behalf of Westminster City Council, and James Pereira appeared on behalf of the South Lodge Residents Association.