A 2021 decision to grant consent for Maidenhead’s £500 million Nicholson Quarter is heading to the High Court after a nightclub won permission for a judicial review.

Areli’s consented plans for the mixed-use scheme to replace Nicholson’s Shopping Centre were halted when Smokey’s nightclub at Unit 24a won its legal objection to a compulsory purchase order.

Now the Planning Court has granted permission for judicial review of the decision by the Royal Borough’s development management panel on March 3, 2021.

A statement, issued by law firm Blandy & Blandy on behalf of nightclub owner the Page family, says the case will now proceed after Hon Mrs Justice Lang granted the nightclub permission.

The case revolves around whether panel members considered the application fairly in light of a letter given to each of them before the meeting.

The statement says: “The case will now proceed, including a consideration of whether councillors were able to fairly consider the position of Smokey’s nightclub in their deliberations at committee, when they resolved to grant planning permission.

“Panel members had documentation circulated to them immediately before the committee hearing, which some members took into account in the decision-making process. It is Smokey’s case that this may have inappropriately influenced their decision making.”

“The position of Smokey’s is that the committee were unable to consider properly the position of Smokey’s and the consequence of this is the total extinguishment of their business, after six decades of entertaining generations of Maidonians.

“The Page family have welcomed the decision of Mrs Justice Lang DBE to allow them to argue their case before the court.”

However, the council has challenged planning inspector John Felgate’s decision on the CPO inquiry, where he ruled the developer’s efforts to relocate the nightclub were described as ‘little more than a token’. The council has won permission to challenge the ruling and it is currently being decided how both cases will proceed to hearing before the High Court.

The Blandy & Blandy statement concludes: “It has always been the case that Smokey’s nightclub has no objection in principle to the redevelopment of the Nicholson Shopping Centre and supports the regeneration of Maidenhead town centre, with adequate provision for the reprovisioned nightclub.”

A Royal Borough spokesperson said: “The Nicholsons redevelopment is a crucial part of the ongoing regeneration of Maidenhead’s town centre, a crucial opportunity to secure major investment that would bring significant benefits for the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of our town and wider borough.

“The council is party to two legal matters around the redevelopment, related to the planning and CPO processes. We await confirmation of when these matters will be considered by the High Court.”

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