We have some disappointing news to share about our campaign to stop the council’s plans to build on Hough End fields.
As you know, the council granted planning permission for a leisure centre extension, two plastic pitches and additional car parking, ignoring over 1,000 objections from local residents and a petition with over 3,000 signatures.
We felt the council’s decision-making process was flawed, so we decided to seek advice on a potential legal challenge.
Our solicitor advised that there were reasonable grounds for a judicial review, but that it could cost as much as £50,000.
That would have been unaffordable, but a local resident kindly offered to bring the case themselves and apply for Legal Aid to cover the costs.
Frustratingly, their Legal Aid application was unexpectedly rejected, and the courts refused to allow extra time for an appeal.
We’ve therefore had to abandon the legal challenge.
What happens next?
Unless the council has a last-minute change of heart — and we don’t hold out much hope of that — construction work is planned to begin this summer.
We’ll continue pushing for the plans to be withdrawn or scaled back, and for more trees to be saved from the chainsaws — as well as keeping an eye out for any further attempts to erode this unique open space.
In the meantime, we’re still fundraising to pay for the legal costs we incurred. We’ve already received 124 donations totalling over £3,000, but we still need another £1,800, so please donate if you can.
We’re also planning some more events over the summer, so please keep an eye out in our Facebook group and on our website.
Thanks as ever for your support!