EUROPEAN officials have announced they may take legal action against the British Government, in a row over one of York’s largest and most controversial developments.
The European Commission is stepping up its investigation into an alleged breach of rules at Derwenthorpe, in Osbaldwick.
City of York Council transferred the land to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation after the plans were unveiled ten years ago.
But the council failed to carry out a tendering process, which the Commission says breaches European rules.
In an announcement at 11am today, it said it was sending a "reasoned opinion" to the Government. A spokeswoman said: “If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer
the matter to the European Court of Justice.”
She said the Government had recently changed its stance and now accepted the Derwenthorpe scheme should have gone out to tender.
But she said: “No measures have been introduced to bring an end to this infringement.
"Furthermore, no sufficient and adequate measures have been introduced to ensure that the award of future land development agreements will be compliant with the applicable European Union rules.”
The dispute arose because Derwenthorpe was deemed to be a “public works concession contract”.
A landmark European ruling on a case in Roanne, France, means councils must go to tender if they are selling land and have a say in how it will then be used.
The spokeswoman said: “The Commission is of the opinion that in the absence of such a tendering process, the UK has failed to fulfil its obligations under EU procurement rules.”