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Friday, 8 November, 2002, 13:10 GMT
Stay of execution for historic yard
Bishopsgate Goods Yard
The goods yard's fate will be decided by two councils
A battle between a rail enthusiast and London Underground over the future of an historic rail yard will be decided by two councils, the High Court has ruled.

Pensioner Keith Hammerton, 65, challenged London Underground's plans to demolish Bishopsgate Goods Yard to make way for the multi-million pound East London Line extension.

The yard encompasses one of the world's earliest surviving railway structures, the Braithwaite Viaduct which was built in 1839.

Mr Hammerton, on behalf of the London Railway Heritage Society, asked the High Court to rule that the yard's demolition would be unlawful because London Underground failed to comply with the conditions of planning consent.


Hopefully this now puts an end to all the delays and we can all get on with the job of building this important railway for London

Alan Thornton, London Underground

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting in London, ruled on Friday there had been a breach of one planning condition.

But he said it was for two local councils, Hackney and Tower Hamlets, to decide whether or not to take action to save the goods yard.

London Underground promised the yard would not be demolished before next Thursday, to give the councils time to consider their position.

The judge accepted that his conclusions were "more limited than either party might have hoped" and both sides claimed victory after the case.

Alan Thornton, project manager for the East London Line extension said: "I am delighted with the judgment.


It should still be possible to put the line above the goods yard as was originally suggested

Martin Foley, Railway Heritage Society
"Hopefully this now puts an end to all the delays and we can all get on with the job of building this important railway for London."

English Heritage has commissioned reports showing how the extension could be built without demolishing the goods yard.

London Railway Heritage Society chairman Martin Foley said: "This is a victory. We have won this battle but there may be some more work to do."

He said they supported the East London Line extension but added: "It should still be possible to put the line above the goods yard as was originally suggested.

"We are confident we have won and now it's up to the local authorities."

London Underground plan to extend the East London Line to the north and south to build an "M25" on the railway.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC London's Andrew Winstanley
"The judge has pushed the decision in the direction of the local planning authorities."

Click here to go to BBC London Online
See also:

16 Aug 02 | England
13 Aug 02 | England
19 Sep 01 | Business
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