Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group £1.2bn project heads back to court

The man single-handedly fighting Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group’s £1.2bn plans to redevelop London’s Shell Centre has been cleared to have his case heard by the Court of Appeal.

The court last week granted George Turner leave to appeal against the High Court’s decision in February to throw out his case.

Turner claims the scheme, masterplanned by Squire & Partners and with buildings designed by Stanton Williams, Grid, KPF and Patel Taylor, would cause serious harm to the capital’s heritage.

It was called in by communities secretary Eric Pickles but approved by a planning inspector who was later criticised by a judge.

Turner issued a statement saying: “The fact that a judge granted my permission to proceed ‘on the papers’ and with such speed indicates that they think this is a very strong case – or that it raises a significant legal controversy which should be resolved by one of the highest courts in the land.

“More difficult cases are normally subject to an oral hearing where a judge hears the arguments as to why a case should be heard by the Court of Appeal.

“The decision destroys the argument put out by my opponents that the case has no merit and has been thoroughly and properly considered.

“The Court of Appeal doesn’t take cases where there are not significant issues that need to be resolved.”

Developer Braeburn Estates, a joint venture between Qatari Diar and Canary Wharf Group, wants to build eight buildings of up to 37 storeys, containing offices, retail, leisure and nearly 900 homes on the land around the 1954 Shell Centre tower.

A date has yet to be set for the hearing.

A spokesman for Braeburn Estates said it was very disappointed by the delay and would work with all parties “to bring this matter to the swiftest possible conclusion”.

“[Our scheme] has already been through an exhaustive planning process which included a year-long public consultation, followed by approval from Lambeth council, the mayor of London and the secretary of state for communities and local government,” he said.

“A previous High Court challenge against the secretary of state’s decision has already been dismissed.

“The redevelopment of the Shell Centre site will bring many benefits and regeneration to this important part of London and this latest appeal will delay them further. These include considerable improvements to public spaces in and around the site, the creation of new affordable housing, the provision of new retail outlets on the site, and the creation of thousands of new jobs.”