A BID for a judicial review of Warwick District Council’s controversial new hq plans has been rejected.
The Save Leamington from WDC campaign group carried out crowdfunding to raise funds for a review of the authority’s plans to relocate from Riverside House to Covent Garden in Leamington town centre.
The group had questioned the financial implications of the move, along with the planning process undertaken by the council.
But the application for a review was refused by the High Court of Justice Queen’s Bench Division Planning Court.
It stated that the claim was “not properly arguable” and Warwick District Council did have regard to its planning policy.
Council leader Andrew Mobbs said: “I am delighted that we can now continue to move ahead with our ambitious plans for our hq relocation.
“I appreciate that there has been significant debate and discussion about this project and I am pleased we were able to address any concerns raised during our two day public consultation in early June. We have published our responses to the questions asked during this consultation and these are available on our website.
“We will continue to work with BID and the Chamber of Trade to mitigate the closure of Covent Garden car park, and my executive team will be considering a report tomorrow evening that ensures our robust displacement strategy is in place before the closure.”
Save Leamington from WDC campaigners say they are “not in a position” to appeal the decision but maintain the fight was not over.
The group said the legal challenge was based on almost £3million of requested developer contributions going unmet.
A spokesman said: “With no third party appeals for planning decisions, and given the lack of consultation and communication by the council, we saw a judicial review as the best method available to us to challenge the decisions. It was always going to be a difficult and expensive process, and sets a high bar that there must have been an error in law in reaching the decision.
“Although the judge regretably did not agree that the issue we identified represented an error in law, the judgement is by no means an endorsement of the council’s plans, and we still believe there is much wrong with them.
“In addition to the £3million shortfall in contributions, our concerns include the council’s dubious claims of savings and public benefits, huge disruption to town centre parking, overdevelopment at Riverside and no provision for affordable housing.
“We believe these plans will have a detrimental impact on our town, as well as failing to provide an optimal solution to the council’s stated aim of saving costs.”
The scheme, which will see the creation of a new 620-space multi-storey car park, offices for council and private housing, was approved by the council’s planning committee in January. A separate outline planning application for up to 170 new homes on the current site of the council’s head office on Milverton Hill – the sale of which will fund the new HQ – was approved at the same time.