A local Friends of the Earth group in Gloucestershire has launched a legal challenge against the decision by the Forest of Dean District Council to approve its Core Strategy and the Cinderford Area Action Plan.
Together they allow for the regeneration of what is known as the Cinderford Northern Quarter, part of the Statutory Forest and the Cinderford Linear Park with plans for around 1,050 new homes over the period to 2026. The environmentalists claim this will damage the habitat of protected species, in particular bats.
The challenge lodged in the High Court raises issues of EU law surrounding the Habitats Directive and the Strategic Environmental Impact Directive.
Mary Newton from Forest of Dean Friends of the Earth said: “We have launched this legal challenge because the council failed to carry out its duties in relation to the EU site and EU protected species when deciding on long-term land use policies for the site.”
Councillor Brian Robinson, Forest of Dean District Council’s cabinet member for planning policy, said: “We are surprised and disappointed at this application given the greater protection and certainty that the Core Strategy and Cinderford Area Action Plan offer about the scale and type of development that may take place compared to that under the old local plan and the new National Planning Policy Framework that the Government introduced in March.”
26 April 2012