A LEGAL battle over the future of York's Barbican Centre will go to the High Court in London in June.

A judge will decide whether or not to allow a full judicial review of City of York Council's decision to grant planning permission for the redevelopment of the leisure centre site.

The Save Our Barbican campaign group has been pressing for such a review, on the grounds that the local authority failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment before reaching its decision last year.

Spokesman Ernie Dickinson said he was confident that a full review would be granted. He was unable to reveal details of the arguments to be used in court, but said: "We have compelling evidence."

It is understood protesters will argue that an assessment was warranted under national planning rules, because the project would have a major impact on both the historic city walls and residents living in Barbican Road.

Mr Dickinson said the hearing on June 9 was expected to last four hours, and would be an opportunity for both sides to present their case.

The council granted planning permission last year for a redevelopment scheme, which included a refurbishment of the auditorium, and the construction of a new hotel and conference facilities, and also 240 apartments alongside Barbican Road.

Residents in Barbican Road were infuriated by the decision, claiming the flats would have a huge impact on their homes.

The Barbican pool closed down last June, and the rest of the centre closed in November after the UK Snooker tournament was held there.

The refurbishment scheme has been put on hold until the outcome of the legal challenge is known, and it may not be possible to stage the snooker tournament there again this autumn.

As reported in the Evening Press last week, the uncertainty surrounding the Barbican compelled the acclaimed Scottish Fiddle Orchestra to move its Spring concert next year from York to the Sage concert hall in Gateshead.

The council wants to use money raised through the sale of the site to pay for the construction of a replacement swimming pool just across the road from the Barbican, and also for the refurbishment of York's two other municipal pools.

It has warned previously that delays in redeveloping the site were costing money, and could jeopardise such refurbishment schemes. It has also said previously that it was confident it had "behaved properly" throughout the Barbican planning process, and would put forward a robust case.

A city council spokesman today confirmed the hearing would take place on June 9, but declined to comment further at this stage.

Updated: 08:39 Wednesday, April 27, 2005