Legal Challenge to Brentford Dock Gating Futile Says Management

Judicial review clearly concluded estate was private land

One of the new gates at Brentford Dock
One of the new gates at Brentford Dock.


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June 23, 2023

The management of Brentford Dock Ltd (BDL) says that it believes attempts to restore public access to the riverside estate will be futile.

The estate has now been closed off to non-residents who have been given fobs to open metal gates.

It is pointing to the detail of the ruling made by the judge in a Judicial Review which unequivocally concluded that the area is private land and that therefore the estate was entitled to erect gates to stop non-residents walking through describing the council’s action to prevent this happening as ‘irrational’.

It is understood that this is the reason Hounslow Council suddenly with withdrew its Article 4 direction which would have required BDL to get planning permission to put up the gates. This was the second attempt by the council to make management go through this process.

The judgement against Hounslow Council in this case stated, "In making the Direction, the Defendant (LBH) failed to take into account the following material considerations: That the land which the Direction sought to remain open for public access is private land and not land to which the public have any right of access.”

It continues , “That the purported need for the Direction, to ensure members of the public were not blocked from the waterfront, was not in fact a need as members of the public have no right to access the land in question.

“The Defendant was irrational in concluding that the Direction was both necessary and capable of achieving its desired effect and that the Direction was justified on the basis that the fences / gates prevented lawful access to the land by the public.”

Despite this ruling, Stephen Clark, a former Green Party Parliamentary for the constituency is trying to establish that there is a public right of way in through the estate.

He has set up a Facebook group called Brentford Walks to try and reestablish public access.  .

He says, "We are collecting evidence from members of the public, not resident on the estate, on their use of these pathways in the period since the opening of the Estate in 1978.

"Brentford Walks believes that the Dock pathways should be open to the public by right and that this has been demonstrated by continual use by local residents over a great many years. We have decided to test this by asking the local authority to make an order under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to have these pathways designated as Public Rights of Way.

"You can help us in this. We are collecting evidence from members of the public on their use of these pathways since the estate was opened in 1978. You can download the attached Evidence Document, complete the questionnaire and return it to us, confirming that you are content for us to use your statements to support our case to the London Borough of Hounslow. We look forward to hearing from you."

Councillor Tom Bruce, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Development at Hounslow Council said, “The Council is strongly opposed to gated communities as it undermines our commitment to creating inclusive communities in which all residents can enjoy our public spaces. We believe the public should have the right to enjoy the riverside and disagree with Brentford Dock Limited’s decision to erect gates in this area.

“We are continuing the dialogue with Brentford Dock Limited, to find a way forward that allows access for the public to the riverside without compromising the privacy of Brentford Dock residents.”

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