Council to appeal order on Bristol City FC's Ashton Vale stadium
A CRUCIAL court hearing next week could decide the outcome of the legal wrangle which has stopped Bristol City FC building a new 30,000-seat stadium at Ashton Vale.
The city council will appeal against an interim order which has been made by a judge to allow a new legal challenge to the scheme be made.
News that campaigners, who want to see the stadium site declared a town green, had been cleared to revive their attempt to take their case to the High Court emerged yesterday. They want the court to rule on whether the council acted legally when it agreed on a compromise allowing the stadium to be built on land which an independent inspector had recommended should be protected from all development.
In a strongly-worded statement, the council said the "astonishing turn of events" was "deeply frustrating."
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It added: "Our legal representatives were not invited to be present, or even made aware, that the courts were due to make this decision on a new judicial review by another anonymous person.
"We shall be seeking to reverse this decision in the strongest possible terms next week when it is reviewed by the courts."
Campaigners who are fighting to stop any development at Ashton Vale want the whole 42-acre site registered as a town green. They say the council's decision last June to part-register the site was not lawful.
The council's decision meant that the former landfill tip where the football club want to build their new stadium was not registered as a town green but the rest of the site was.
The protesters brought a case challenging the council through an Ashton Vale resident, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He dropped a bombshell earlier this week when he wrote to the court and said he was withdrawing from the dispute, followed by another letter to say he was not coerced or persuaded to make his decision.
At next week's hearing in the High Court, London, a judge will have to decide whether the original applicant has withdrawn his challenge.
If the judge decides that he has, then he must then consider if the applicant can be replaced by another anonymous resident nominated by the protesters' lawyers.
If so, then the judge must also decide whether the new challenge falls within the permitted time frame for applying for a judicial review.
As the law stands, once an applicant has notified the court of their withdrawal, the legal action has ended. But the judge might decide there are exceptional circumstances which warrant a new review to go ahead.