Watch­dog calls off ju­di­cial re­view pro­posal

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS -

Pro­hib­i­tive costs have forced a her­itage watch­dog to can­cel its ju­di­cial re­view to stop stu­dent flats be­ing built at Bath Cricket Club. The bill could have been tens of thou­sands of pounds if Bath Preser­va­tion Trust lost the case so it is in­stead launch­ing a “fight­ing fund” for fu­ture le­gal chal­lenges. The civic char­ity op­posed Bath and North East Som­er­set Coun­cil’s “flawed and un­jus­ti­fied” de­ci­sion to ap­prove plans for 136 stu­dent flats at the club. Donors backed the le­gal chal­lenge but it con­cluded that the fi­nan­cial risk was too great. Bath Preser­va­tion Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Caro­line Kay said: “There is a wide body of opin­ion in Bath that the coun­cil made the wrong de­ci­sion, a de­ci­sion that we saw as un­jus­ti­fied, flawed and not in the in­ter­ests of peo­ple of Bath as a whole or the char­ac­ter of the World Her­itage Site and, im­por­tantly, against the rec­om­men­da­tions of its own of­fi­cers. “How­ever it is fi­nan­cially pro­hib­i­tive for small but in­formed civic char­i­ties like our­selves to com­pete against the fi­nan­cial re­sources of de­vel­op­ers or pub­lic au­thor­i­ties de­ter­mined to fight their cor­ner in mak­ing these sorts of chal­lenge. “Pur­pose-built stu­dent ac­com­mo­da­tion is be­yond the means of many stu­dents and so does not help the hous­ing cri­sis. “In terms of the other claimed ben­e­fits, we hope that crick­eters young and old, not just mem­bers of Bath Cricket Club, are able to en­joy the new cricket fa­cil­i­ties in due course if this de­vel­op­ment does go ahead, but very much re­gret that the club could not con­ceive of a more re­strained and less over­bear­ing way of pro­vid­ing new sports fa­cil­i­ties, one that would be of gen­uine ben­e­fit to Bath res­i­dents and of a scale, mass­ing and de­sign that BPT would have been happy to sup­port.” The fight­ing fund “will be ringfenced and used only to launch fu­ture le­gal chal­lenges against poor or ir­ra­tional plan­ning de­ci­sions in Bath as and when they oc­cur”. B&NES Coun­cil de­clined to com­ment. Bath Cricket Club was ap­proached for com­ment. Visit www.crowd­jus­ fight­ing­fund to con­trib­ute to the fight­ing fund.

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