A LEGAL challenge launched against the council’s multi-million pound cycling scheme ‘mini Holland’ has been rejected in the High Court.
Opposers of the scheme, the group named E17Streets4All took their challenge to the court over the road closures in Walthamstow Village which the council has implemented to improve cycling and pedestrian safety.
Over the last year the £30m scheme has divided the community in Waltham Forest, with some praising it for ‘innovation’ and ‘boldness’ and others claiming the closures are causing unnecessary disruption, extra pollution and confusion.
But the council successfully defended its position on all six aspects of the case, last week.
The group raised several grounds of challenge, including that the borough had conducted a "sham" consultation exercise which prevented members of the public being fully able to make their objections known.
E17S4A funded the legal challenge which was rejected, and will now face paying £12,000 in costs.
The ruling has added fuel to the fire of the objectors, who claim they will not give up the fight.
A spokesman for the group said: “We have been informed we do have strong legal grounds to challenge the council and we are going to continue challenging the council through legal proceedings.
“It’s a shame the political system has failed, which has left residents no alternative but to go to the legal system to get justice.
“After the publicity received by this court case we've been approached by many residents from legal backgrounds who have come forward and offered their services to help us continue with the legal proceedings. This is a reflection of true community spirit.”
The group said they have been “humbled” by those willing to support their campaign.
“Thank you for everyone's continued support,” they said in a statement.
But others say it was the right decision.
In response to this judgement, Lee Hayes, speaking on behalf of We Support Mini Holland, an independent group representing over 400 local supporters of the scheme, said:
“We are delighted with today’s High Court decision, as it means that Waltham Forest can continue with its ambitious programme to promote walking and cycling in the borough.
“We appreciate that not everyone agrees with all aspects of the programme and that it will have an impact on many people.
The group said for first time in 15 years, every shop unit in Orford Road, Walthamstow, is occupied because of the scheme.
“Local knowledge is essential and we encourage anyone with comments, suggestions or criticisms to engage with the council,” Mr Hayes continued.
“As a result of feedback provided by local residents and businesses, Council officers have made changes and adaptations to initial proposals and really do take people's suggestions on board.”
In court, a right to appeal the decision was denied.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “Our Mini-Holland programme is designed to improve the borough for everyone and we are pleased that the High Court has dismissed the arguments put forward.
“The council appreciates that people have concerns and hope that this provides another opportunity for us to reassure everyone in the borough that we take seriously the need to meet all the appropriate legal requirements.
“We will continue to work with the community to develop the programme, which encourages walking and cycling, as we roll it out across the borough.”