Ahead of the Euston Approach hearing

The latest update from Hero Granger-Taylor’s judicial review of HS2 Ltd’s design for the Euston Approaches.  You can donate to her CrowdJustice appeal here.

Hero writes: 

Despite the coronavirus lock-down, the full High Court hearing of my Judicial Review claim now looks very likely to go ahead on the scheduled days, 13-14 May, but remotely (via Zoom or similar).

The ‘additional hearing’ I wrote about in my last update has not taken place: instead the Judge will decide on my ‘request for specific disclosure’ on the on the basis of papers submitted. We expect the outcome shortly.

In the meantime, though hampered by HS2 Ltd’s refusal voluntarily to produce all the evidence they have referred to, we must get on with preparations for the full hearing, and this is now a very short time away!

If the interim ‘additional hearing’ had happened, as explained in my update of 13 April, this would have provided an opportunity for the Judge to have ‘rolled up’ the case without the full hearing: for this reason I did not seek donations at that point.

But going forward to a full hearing, expected to last a day and a half, I need to raise now an additional £15,000 to cover the legal fees.

I know that the current coronavirus crisis has created major financial difficulties for most people: forgive me for asking for your support at this time. But there will be legal and publicity gains to be made by continuing to the full hearing.

Whatever the outcome, this hearing will end with a judgment which will become case law. Because my case is going through on Human Rights arguments, if the judge’s decision is in my favour, this will provide a precedent which should help other private litigants who bring similar cases in the future. My solicitor, Jayesh Kunwardia, believes that this is the first time that Article 8 of the UK Human Rights Act will have been applied to a case concerning construction/a structure (the construction that HS2 Ltd proposes and its effect on me, my family and an existing structure, my home).

Secondly, the full hearing should generate useful publicity, shining a light on the frailty of the engineering of HS2 as a whole, on the inadequate procedures for assessment followed by HS2 Ltd and their contractors, as well as on HS2 Ltd’s now systemic secretiveness.

Thirdly, it ought to hasten the Government’s announcement on the future of HS2 at Euston and, with luck, the acceptance at the Department for Transport that, as advocated in the Oakervee Review, only a much simpler design for the Approaches, with not more than 14 trains per hour, is actually feasible here.

I am not allowed to share the most significant documents we have received from the Defence side, but I can report that we have just been sent a letter confirming that no assessment has yet been made of the effects of the Three Tunnels design on the existing structures around it, including its effects on the unstable Park Village East retaining wall directly above. This can be contrasted with the statement from HS2 Ltd given in an article on my case in the Times for 18 April: ‘We strongly dispute any suggestion that the current design poses any threat to the structural integrity of the retaining wall at Park Village East and have provided robust evidence to the court to that effect’. So far, my side has received no such evidence and we have no expectations of receiving ‘robust’ evidence of this kind in the future.

There are many other inconsistencies between HS2 Ltd’s public position and the evidence so far released to us and it is these in particular which make me hopeful of a successful outcome next month.

With best wishes for everyone’s good health, Hero

Donate to Hero’s appeal here.

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