The Court of Appeal Judgement

Today’s judgement from the Court of Appeal has been handed down. Unfortunately, the Court of Appeal did not find in favour of the appeal.

We are pleased to see that the Court of Appeal has recognised the importance of regeneration, and it may well be that the decision by Tesco to pull out will enable really meaningful regeneration of the town centre and seafront, which is so essential for Margate and the region. We are now considering the options of whether to appeal the Court of Appeal decision. It does on the face of it seem to be a bit unusual that very important local matters such as sewage discharge, flooding and traffic and a supermarket at the Arlington site can simply be left hanging in the air without full environmental assessment.

The Court of Appeal Judgement, 7th November 2014.

Breaking News: High Court Legal Challenge to Secretary of State’s decision to approve Margate seafront ‘Tesco Superstore’


Today, June 18th, It has been decided to issue legal proceedings to the High Court to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision of June 13th 2013 to approve the ‘Tesco Superstore’ development at the Arlington site in Margate.

The order sought is that the Secretary of State’s decision notice and the Inspector’s report are quashed.

The claim has been requested to be joined/consolidated with the associated judicial review of the Secretary of State’s Environmental Impact Assessment that was granted permission on March 27th 2013 on an expedited basis.

The Developer has been asked not to commence any works on site, including any demolition until the lawfulness of the Secretary of State’s decision is determined by the Court. This is because there is a risk of ending up with a demolition site on the seafront at the gateway to Margate.  If the Developer does not agree to do so, then an interim injunction will be sought to prevent this. It is hoped that this will not be necessary.

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Success at the High Court – Permission to challenge Secretary of State’s approach


On March 27th the High Court granted permission to proceed to challenge the Secretary of State’s approach as to whether there should have been an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the proposal to develop a Tesco superstore at Arlington Square, Margate.

Permission has been granted on 3 grounds:
1. The Secretary of State has sliced up what is really a much larger project of the Arlington site and surrounding areas.
2. He failed to take into account the cumulative environmental effects of the associated regeneration in the area.
3. Whether he downplayed the evaluation of ‘likely significant environmental effects’ by simply regarding the area in an ‘urban context.

The Secretary of State, the developer and Thanet District Council if it wishes (unlikely) have 35 days from April 27th to submit further evidence to the Court as to why the Secretary of State’s position was, in fact, lawful.

The matter will then be fixed for a final hearing. This could be before the end of July 2013 but is likely to be in the autumn.

About 4 weeks before the final hearing we submit further argument as to why permission should be quashed.

In the meantime, the Secretary of State has yet to determine the developer’s appeal following the inquiry held in November 2012.

Representing the Secretary of State was Rupert Warren QC.
Representing the developer, Metropolitan Property Realizations (aka Freshwater) was Christopher Katkowski QC.
Representing the Claimant, Louise Oldfield, was Paul Stookes from Richard Bucton Environmental and Public Law.

Freshwater application to be returned to Committee after successful legal challenge

It’s not every day we get to report some good news from Thanet District Council regarding Freshwater’s application to build the UK’s first seafront superstore in Margate. On Wednesday the 3rd of August, our solicitors from Richard Buxton in Cambridge sent a letter to TDC. Richard Buxton’s firm are particularly well known for bringing judicial reviews and challenges to decisions affecting the environment, this niche practice is renowned throughout the country as “the team of choice for claimant organisations and pressure groups.” 

They stated:

“On 7 July 2011 the DCMS determined that the adjoining grade II Scenic Railway is of sufficient interest to merit upgrading the listing from grade II to grade II*. This decision is relevant to any decision by the Council to issue the decision notice. As such, the application must to be remitted back to the Planning Committee for redetermination on the basis of a correct understanding of change in the listing status of the railway since any development would impact on the setting of the Scenic Railway.”

And further

“The Council will also be aware that material considerations have to be judged as at the date the decision notice is issued, rather than the date of any Committee resolution.  Consequently, if, as here, there is a change in material considerations following the committee decision the application must go back to committee: R v South Cambridgeshire District Council ex p Kides [2003] 1 P. & C.R. 19. “

Last night we received word from Ward Councillor Iris Johnston that Thanet District Council have advised that following legal advice, the whole Freshwater application must come back to TDC planning committee. The change of status of the nearby scenic railway is a ‘material consideration’.