Council will abide by new stadium inquiry decision
COUNCILLORS will almost certainly abide by an independent inspector's recommendations on the future of Ashton Vale, where Bristol City FC wants to build its new stadium.
They will be told that to do otherwise would probably be consigning Bristol City Council to another long and expensive legal wrangle over the future of the site.
A new public inquiry is expected to be held after the council sensationally decided a few weeks' ago to stop defending a legal challenge on part of the site which remains unregistered as a town green.
The decision, which was taken by councillors one year ago, effectively meant that the club could go ahead with its plans to build a new £92 million stadium.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
But a pressure group called SAVE which was set up after the decision, took legal action to challenge the move.
They were furious that councillors made up their minds without new evidence being challenged under cross-examination at a public inquiry.
The football club itself gathered lots of new evidence after independent inspector Ross Crail made her recommendations following the first inquiry.
She urged the council to register the entire 42-acre site as a town green and therefore ruling out any development on the land.
But the council decided against referring the new evidence back to her before making a final decision.
Lawyers for the pressure group began proceedings in the High Court and the council asked for them to be quashed after a resident who signed the legal papers decided to withdraw.
But the judge decided that a full hearing should go ahead.
This led to the council's shock decision to pull out from the legal dispute and means the long-running saga is effectively going back to square one.
It is not yet clear whether the new public inquiry will be taken by Miss Crail or a new inspector will be chosen instead.
Some experts believe that it would be best for someone with a deep knowledge of the issue to consider any new evidence.
But there is a counter argument that it would be better if the case was dealt with completely afresh.
A council spokesman said: "The matter is still before the court and the final decision on the referral back to the Inspector lies with the court. We hope to hear shortly.
"It is far too premature to imagine what the Inspector's recommendations will be, though it would be reasonable for the Public Rights of Way Committee to follow such recommendations unless there are grounds not to."