Legal action

Update – June 24th

On June 22 we blogged that the trainwash site preparation may have begun without permission. Today residents received a letter that provides more evidence that this is the case. The letter indicates that work to be done from now will include:

“Installation of New Overhead Wires including Foundations and Steel Structures
Ground work in the central area and starting to upgrade the North sidings”

The Cambridge City Council’s Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development, Stephen Kelly, has indicated that Network Rail is dragging its feet in responding to CCC. On May 22 Mr Kelly told us that “Following the Councils own advice, I wrote earlier this month to Network Rail seeking clarification on a number of specific matters to assist the Planning Authority in determining the matter of lawfulness and have not yet received a response. I have accordingly written again today to try and determine when I might receive a response from them.”

This is unacceptable. We call on GTR, Network Rail, Greater Anglia, and Spencer Group to pause development until they have been through a planning process.

And for the first time we are publishing the legal advice in full that we sent to the CCC, which indicates “that the carriage-wash does require planning permission and that
it is not permitted development under the GPDO. In any event, even if it is concluded that it is permitted development, prior approval is required.”

Carriagewash Opinion A Parkinson 6 May 2020


Update – May 11th

GTR’s proposed presentation for May 13 (Cambridge sidings upgrade meeting Online May 2020) continues to state that “Network Rail and GTR are clear that the works are permitted development under Section 16 of the Railway Causes Consolidation Act 1845. It is therefore considered that a Certificate of Lawful
Development is not required.”

However, they have addressed neither of the arguments about the definition of an industrial process or building, both of which would require a more involved planning process. Given this uncertain legal status, we believe that Spencer Group, as a responsible contractor, and GTR, as the developer, should pause development and apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development so that the community can have the issues of injury to amenity properly explored.

Update – May 6th

This morning our legal team sent an updated and expanded letter about our legal position to the Cambridge City Council. The reason for the expansion is to provide the CCC with as full a position in law as we can while they are briefing their own legal team. This expensive private process, of course, in lieu of the genuine pub;ic consultation process that this whole development should have gone through in the first place.

We await the CCC’s response.

We note with interest that the very morning we sent our second letter, GTR coincidentally postponed its community meeting.

Original – April 24

On 17 April 2020 our legal team wrote to the Cambridge City Council outlining the position of the community. This letter ratified and expanded on our belief that the law should require Network Rail (and its partners GTR and Greater Anglia) to put the trainwash application through a planning process, due to the definitions of “industrial process” and “building”.

The Cambridge City Council sent its response on 24 April 2020. While the CCC is being cautious, that the CCC is currently seeking further legal advice is a win for the community. It indicates at the very least that the position Network Rail, GTR, and Greater Anglia is not as cut and dried as they have claimed.

Our goal is to see the trainwash development undergo a full and transparent planning process to assess its impact on the amenity of the community. Every community should have the right to transparent planning. Network Rail, GTR, and Greater Anglia should have actively sought this at least in 2018 when they were applying for permission to alter the Mill Road Bridge. However, the issue of planning goes further back to when the Cambridge North station was being developed. We are currently looking into this. In the meantime, we will be continuing with further legal action.