Following the formal signing of the s106 agreement and the issue of the planning permission on 13 December we entered into a period of six weeks during which an application for a judicial review (JR) could be launched.
JRs are a form of court proceedings in which a judge will review the legality of a decision made by a public body, in this case Merton Council. In layman's terms a JR on our planning permission would be a challenge to the way the decision was made.
While we were very confident that a JR application would fail it would nonetheless have delayed our stadium project for an undefined amount of time – possibly several months.
The deadline for lodging an appeal with the Planning Court was 4.00 pm on Wednesday 24 January. Any application lodged after that date would not be accepted. However, while unusual, it is not unknown for a JR application to take a little while to be processed through the system and so we didn't break out the champagne at the time.
A further condition of a JR application is that it must be served on the applicants within seven days of the appeal being lodged. The seven day period expired last night, 31 January with nothing being served on the Club. Since every other possible legal hurdle has been put in our way, we decided to ask Hogan Lovells, our legal advisors to make a phone call to the Planning Court this morning. They found that nothing has shown up at the Court and so, with complete certainty, we can say that our planning permission is final.
The next stage is for site clearance to begin. Contractors appointed by GRAA to carry out the work will soon begin mobilising for that work to commence, probably in mid-February.