The season ending ePrix at Battersea Park could be under threat after a local campaign group launched a legal challenge to the council’s decision to allow it to be used as a race track.
The Battersea Park Action Group is attempting to prevent Wandsworth Council from shutting large areas of the park for nearly three weeks while the works take place to prepare it for the FIA Formula E season finale.
The appeal is led by James Jackson, a blind author and local resident who uses the park on a daily basis. He has commenced judicial review proceedings claiming that in allowing the race to go ahead, the council has acted in contravention of local and national planning policy, and has failed in its duty to protect the park.
Jackson said, “The Council has paid lip service to local people and park users’ views, some of whom do not have the option to go elsewhere. To ignore the laws that protect public open spaces shows a total disregard of the benefits to physical and mental well-being these areas bring to all Londoners.”
The controversy around the venue has been long-running, and when the council chose not to invoke a break clause in their contract with Formula E in November it led to protests outside their offices.
Rounds ten and eleven of this season’s championship are due to take place in Battersea Park on the second and third of July, meaning that should the appeal be successful, it would leave little or no time to find an alternative venue.
The challenge comes after news that the Moscow round of the championship might also not go ahead, thanks to administrative issues encountered by the organisers in Russia. Autosport reports that Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag will call off the race if they do not confirm the necessary road closures by mid-May.
Should either venue not be able to host it would have significant repercussions for the reputation of the series, and in the championship battle, as it would leave Lucas di Grassi’s championship rivals fewer opportunities to close down his lead.