Back on July 14th I blogged about the fact that the Star and Garter Home had pulled out of the Jolly Boatman development opposite Hampton Court Palace. The judicial review of Elmbridge’s grant of planning permission had given Star and Garter no choice but to look elsewhere. Their current home on Richmond Hill was no longer suitable and the uncertainty engendered by the judicial review meant that they could no longer be part of the development scheme.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Ousely handed down his judgment. He upheld the Council’s decision and rejected every argument advanced on behalf of Mr Garner. Not that Mr Garner was at any disadvantage in legal representation; he had instructed both leading and junior counsel. Nevertheless, the learned judge trenchantly observed that the submissions advanced were simply wrong.
Whilst one can admire the bravery and determination of Mr Garner, putting his own funds at risk in support of a cause he genuinely believes in, I am yet again driven back to the conclusion I reached in July, namely to query whether his actions have increased the sum total of human happiness. He is out of pocket. The taxpayer of Elmbridge will not recover anything but a small fraction of the fees the Council had to spend in order to defend its procedure. The Star and Garter, thankfully, has found a home in Surbiton. But the site of the Jolly Boatman may still remain an eyesore.