Guide Dogs gets leave to mount legal challenge to 'shared streets' proposal

High Court says charity can seek judicial review of plans for vehicles and pedestrians to share space in west London

The High Court has given the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association permission to proceed with a legal challenge against plans to develop "shared streets" in London.

If the planned £25m scheme for Exhibition Road in South Kensington, west London, goes ahead, vehicles will share space with pedestrians in a street without raised kerbs.

Guide Dogs said it had spent five years negotiating with Kensington & Chelsea Council because it believed the scheme would be dangerous for partially sighted people.

The High Court ruled yesterday that Guide Dogs' application for a judicial review of the plans should be allowed. It is the second time the charity has sought a judicial review of the council's plans, after its first application was ruled to be premature by the High Court in October.

Alex Rook, a solicitor at Irwin Mitchell, which is representing the charity, said: "Mr Justice Wilkie concluded, in the light of the most recent research, that the decision by Kensington & Chelsea to press ahead with the scheme gives rise, arguably, to an unlawful approach."

A spokesman for the council said:"We are disappointed with the decision that Guide Dogs can now take its judicial review to a hearing. We are considering our next steps."

He added that council has been working with the charity and other disability groups since 2004 and had modified its orginal design to reflect their concerns.

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