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Judge rejects Castle Mill court bid
9:30am Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to take Oxford’s planning officers back to court if they do not live up to their promises over the Castle Mill development.
Yesterday, a judge threw out a judicial review bid over the Castle Mill student blocks, built by Oxford University and criticised for their impact on views of Oxford from Port Meadow.
The campaigners wanted Oxford City Council to issue a discontinuance notice, which would have prevented the flats housing about 300 students from being used until certain conditions had been met, including carrying out an environmental impact assessment.
But Mr Justice Lewis ruled at the High Court in Birmingham that the judicial review would be “unnecessary” because the council and university have already volunteered to complete an environmental assessment.
North Oxford resident Nicky Moeran, of the Save Port Meadow campaign, said: “It is clear that the Port Meadow buildings’ planning process has been deeply flawed, resulting in the worst planning fiasco in Oxford for 40 years. Mr Justice Lewis said in essence that he trusted the council and the university to honour their commitment to do the right thing.
“If they don’t we have the option to return to formal action. We hope it doesn’t come to that and that the university and city council now properly address the visual impact of these buildings.”
Helen Marshall, director of the Oxfordshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, which brought the case to court, said: “We didn’t undertake this case lightly but feel that the circumstances leading to the thoroughly awful development could not go unchallenged.
Jeremy Thomas, the council’s head of law and governance, said: “The High Court did not find any fault in the handling of the planning application by the council.
“The council will now be focusing its attention on considering the voluntary environmental statement being prepared by the university.”
The university did not comment last night.
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