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UPDATED: Legal challenge to Germany Beck fails
OPPONENTS of York’s biggest housing scheme have failed in an attempt to legally challenge the approval of planning permission.
However, members of the parish council have tonight voted to request a renewal of their application, meaning it would be heard orally in court. They held an extraordinary meeting to discuss their next steps following the judgement by Mr Justice Lewis, who said the claimants had not shown “arguable grounds of challenge”.
Plans for development at Germany Beck, which opponents say is a flood-risk area, first emerged in the mid-1990s. The current scheme was approved in principle in 2007 after a public inquiry.
English Heritage said the site is “probably” where the 1066 Battle of Fulford was fought, but did not designate it as a battlefield.
The High Court said the Battle of Fulford issue was not an “arguable” point as English Heritage had reviewed and confirmed its original decision, having considered there was “not sufficient information” for battlefield designation. It said a judicial review should not be allowed over flood risk, bats, air quality and environmental impact.
Council leader James Alexander said: “A planning application for much-needed new homes at Germany Beck was submitted as far back as 2001, permission was granted in 2005 and a public inquiry took place in 2007.
"Although there will be some who will always believe this development should not go ahead, it makes sense for the community to work with developers to mitigate concerns they have, rather than outright oppose new homes.
“Some will be unaware that some of their council tax levied by the parish council has been used to fight the development, which is almost certain to go ahead, for many years.”
Fulford councillor Keith Aspden, who attended tonight's parish council meeting, said: “Fulford residents have ongoing concerns about the Germany Beck plans which have never been properly addressed by the developers or the council, and the parish council’s actions were therefore supported by a large number of local people.
"The decision has been taken to request a renewal of the decision [by the court], and I will continue to work with residents in the coming weeks."
Parish council chairman Alan Smith, speaking after tonight's meeting, said: "The parish council has resolved to follow its legal advice and will now apply to the court to renew the application so it can be fully considered at an oral hearing.
"We remain confident that our claim for judicial review remains strong. We are also gratified to know that we continue to have the full support of the residents of Fulford, as demonstrated by the large attendance at our meeting which was called at very short notice."
Plans by Persimmon Homes and Hogg the Builder were approved in April.
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