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Whitstable's Oval Chalet site sale faces judicial review

Campaigners are formally seeking a judicial review of the council’s controversial sale of a prime strip of beach front land.

Whitstable’s Oval Chalet site was reportedly sold to developers for £160,000 – but could be worth up to ten times that amount according to protestors’ estimates.

Sea Street Developments, which snapped up the site, wants to use it to build holiday apartments.

Lee Evans Partnership
Lee Evans Partnership

This sale has prompted a wave of anger in the seaside town, with hundreds previously turning out in protest.

Campaigners are now seeking to have the sale contract torn up by the High Court.

This week they lodged a formal request for judicial review from the Queen’s Bench Division.

Their stated grounds for judicial review are:

  • Failure to comply with the legal requirements for the disposal of open space land.
  • Entering into a contract that failed to fully accord with the expressed instruction of the council's executive committee.
  • Excessive secrecy of the resolution-making meeting.
  • Failure to obtain best value for the land sold.
  • Breach of the public sector equality duty in regard to disabled access to the site.

Angela Boddy, chairman of the Whitstable Society, said: “Together with The Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group (OCPCG), we have tried to sort this out with the council, but to no avail.

Campaigners at the Oval Chalet site
Campaigners at the Oval Chalet site

“We have had no alternative but to ask the court to intervene.”

Campaigners are also trying to mobilise opposition to Sea Street Development’s current plans for the site.

They claim Sea Street’s initial promises of open space within the blueprint are not being carried through.

Suzanne Blaustone of the OCPCG said: “The developer promised extensive on-site public open space to the council’s executive in December 2014, when the sale was authorised by councillors.

Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group co-chairman Suzanne Blaustone
Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group co-chairman Suzanne Blaustone

“But the developer then removed it all by the time of the developer’s public exhibition in May 2015.

“The Developer has not formally met with either of the campaigning groups to discuss the revised plans since they exhibited them and we submitted our objections.

“The new scheme published on February 18 offers only a small fraction of the usable public open space that was shown to those decision-making councillors.”

Sea Street Developments was unavailable for comment. 

Lee Evans Partnership
Lee Evans Partnership

The council has confirmed that it has received notification that the judicial review on the Oval Chalet site has been filed.

A spokesman said the authority would contest it. 


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