Opponents of Waltham Forest’s Mini Holland scheme may have lost a High Court case last week – but they are claiming victory because they say the council’s legal costs incurred in its defence of the action will take money away from the project.
Last week, campaign group E17 Streets for All had its case thrown out of court, with Mr Justice Holgate finding that their complaints had “no merit whatsoever” and awarding costs of £12,000 against them – and they will also have to pay their own legal fees on top of that.
After losing the action, the group, quoted on TransportXtra.com, said: “Despite this latest legal setback it will cost us very little, but the cost to the council for both actions and their large legal team, will be a substantial sum from their Mini Holland budget.”
It’s not clear whether the money the council spent to defend th action will come from the £27 million set aside for the Mini Holland project, or from other council funds.
However, Waltham Forest, which has acknowledged that it spent more than £12,000 in defending the case, emphasises that it is taxpayers who will have to foot the bill.
A council spokesman said: “When someone mounts a court action against the council we have little option but to defend our legal position, particularly when legal advice indicates that the case against us is very weak.
“We made every effort to ensure that this case did not have to get to court, but in the event the claimants would not withdraw their claim.
“The total costs incurred in mounting our legal defence are still to be calculated, but we are pleased that the court awarded us costs to assist,” he added.
Waltham Forest is one of three boroughs that won Mini Holland funding from Transport for London, the others being Enfield and Kingston-upon-Thames.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.