Court rejects challenge to cycle hire station

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The Independent Online

The High Court today rejected a bid to bring a legal challenge over London Mayor Boris Johnson's flagship cycle hire scheme.

Mayfair resident Noel Carroll was seeking permission to challenge Westminster City Council's decision to allow the siting of one of the project's 400 bike "docking stations" near his home.



The 98ft (30m) station is planned for South Audley Street, which is in a conservation area containing several listed buildings including Harry's Bar - a private club which has its entrance near the proposed station.



Mr Carroll, 63, and other Mayfair residents accused Westminster City Council of unlawfully failing to take into account the environmental damage the scheme would cause through increased noise, other disturbance and traffic congestion.



But Deputy High Court Judge Michael Supperstone QC ruled today that the grounds raised were "not arguable".



He said: "None of the grounds put forward are arguable and permission to apply for judicial review is refused."











After the ruling, Mr Carroll's lawyer David Cooper said: "We are disappointed, surprised and considering an appeal to the Court of Appeal."

The court had heard that Mr Carroll was only seeking permission to challenge the legality of the docking station near him, and the case did not concern any other stations.



Lawyers for Westminster and Transport for London argued that all the necessary information was available and taken into account when planning permission was granted and the decision was not open to legal challenge.



Mr Carroll, who lives in nearby South Street and is a member of Harry's Bar, has said previously: "Our beautiful conservation area must not be defaced by this horrible lump of metal.



"It would bring down this very beautiful place. It would not be a very pretty sight."



The site on South Audley Street was granted planning consent by Westminster Council in August 2009.













A TfL spokeswoman said: "TfL has worked closely with the London boroughs to identify the most suitable locations for cycle hire docking stations, with all applications subject to planning consent and including a period of consultation.

"This particular site on South Audley Street was granted planning consent by Westminster Council in August 2009. Installation of the docking station will start shortly, as planned."











Robert Davis, Westminster Council's deputy leader and Cabinet member for built environment, said: "We have always aimed to strike a balance between making sure the Mayor's bike hire stands are readily available in the best locations for users, with the least possible impact on local people.



"We are pleased the High Court has recognised the impartial and objective way as a planning authority we handled this application and has decided that all relevant facts were taken into consideration here.



"While we are keen to encourage environmentally friendly ways of travel, we have worked hard to ensure through consultation that the bike hire stands are in appropriate sites."

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