Judicial Review: Kensington High Street cycle lane removal by RBKC

by Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea

Judicial Review: Kensington High Street cycle lane removal by RBKC

by Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea
Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea
Case Owner
We are a voluntary group made up of local residents in RBKC seeking a judicial review of the council's decision to rip out the only safe segregated cycle lane in the borough on Kensington High Street
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£12,388
pledged of £20,000 stretch target from 208 pledges
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Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea
Case Owner
We are a voluntary group made up of local residents in RBKC seeking a judicial review of the council's decision to rip out the only safe segregated cycle lane in the borough on Kensington High Street
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This case is raising funds for its stretch target. Your pledge will be collected within the next 24-48 hours (and it only takes two minutes to pledge!)

Latest: July 20, 2022

19th July Court Hearing (we won)....next stop Judicial Review

A huge thank you to everyone for your support via pledges and well wishes, we could not be doing this you.

In brief the court hearing yesterday (19th July 2022) was a reinstatement hearing regarding t…

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We are group of local volunteers wanting to make our streets safer, healthier and happier, now and for future generations. Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea 

Summary

RBKC removed the protected cycle lanes from Kensington High Street in December 2020, before they were fully installed, after just seven weeks of them being in place.  


The beginning of our campaign

Last year, with the support of 349 generous backers we successfully raised the money we needed to kickstart our campaign on CrowdJustice.  

In our previous crowdfunding we raised £12,206. This was designed to cover:

  • The £10,000 of costs that could be awarded against us, if we lose the case.  We understand this figure of £10,000 to be capped because we have been awarded protection under the Aarhus Convention, which limits cost exposure to those bringing environmental claims; and
  • An amount for court fees, much of which has already been spent
  • Our legal team continue to retain the £10,000 as security in the event we lose the JR and the court awards RBKC costs capped in line with the Aarhus Convention.

Why are we still fighting

The Kensington High Street cycle lanes were the only safe segregated lanes on any of RBKC's roads and they formed an essential part of the East-West corridor used by thousands of people every day, providing the only safe cycle route across west London. For many it made cycling an option for the first time. 

Since then TfL has completed other sections of this East-West corridor in Hammersmith and Chiswick meaning C9 now stretches continuously from Hounslow to Stratford with one exception. Kensington High Street is now the only section of the C9 with no protected cycle lane, this puts Londoners in unnecessary danger and undermines efforts to respond to the climate emergency RBKC declared in 2019. 

Why we are raising again

As we explain in our newsletter, we now need to re-start our fundraising efforts:

  • We have a hearing on 19th July for the reinstatement of our case, and there are costs associated with that; and

Over the past 18 months we have been working behind the scenes to progress the case supported by a pro-bono legal team.  

  • Assuming our case is re-instated, for the substantive hearing we can no longer rely on entirely pro-bono legal support

How your contribution will help

Our first target is therefore the costs relating to the reinstatement hearing.  Our new legal team is co-ordinated by Leigh Day solicitors, and the fees for this hearing (including those of our barristers, and the preparatory work they have done) are £5,000 plus VAT (so, £6,000).  

We are very grateful to Cycling UK who have committed £2,500 to this new fundraising effort. This does however leave a funding gap to cover these hearing costs. 

We hope we are successful on Tuesday for our reinstatement.  If this is granted, we will look to fundraise for a further amount to cover costs of the substantive hearing. As we have done a great deal of work over the last 18 months with our pro-bono legal team, the amount we expect to need to fundraise for this is much lower than would ordinarily be the case for a Judicial Review, but it will be larger than the amount we are seeking to raise in the first instance for the reinstatement hearing.

We are truly sorry for the administrative oversight that has triggered this reinstatement question. We are very disappointed that RBKC did not agree to the reinstatement, which is why we are having to incur the expense of a hearing. As with previous efforts RBKC is very clearly attempting to deny a community group an ability to scrutinise their decision making by pricing us out of the courts. We are also hugely grateful to the hundreds of you that have supported us so far.

If you are able to contribute further, however small an amount, we would be enormously grateful.


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Update 1

Better Streets for Kensington and Chelsea

July 20, 2022

19th July Court Hearing (we won)....next stop Judicial Review

A huge thank you to everyone for your support via pledges and well wishes, we could not be doing this you.

In brief the court hearing yesterday (19th July 2022) was a reinstatement hearing regarding the judicial review. Owing to some minor issues explained in the newsletter below, RBKC was endeavouring to get the JR thrown out on a technicality rather than face proper scrutiny of their decision making. 

We won. This means we can proceed to the judicial review.

For a more detailed update here is our newsletter Court victory today - and next steps (mailchi.mp) 

As outlined, in order to prepare for the JR we will increase the stretch target and we continue to work with all stakeholders to seek action on Kensington High Street.

Thank you from Better Streets for Kensington & Chelsea

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