Gateway retail park faces legal challenge
A legal challenge could be made to the Banbury Gateway development after town centre traders asked for a rethink on the controversial proposal.
Plans to build the out-of-town retail park at the site of Prodrive in Wildmere Road, Banbury were approved by councillors in March 2012.
Work is set to begin on the development this summer but Kames Capital, owner of Banbury Cross Retail Park, and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), owner of Castle Quay shopping centre, have asked Cherwell District Council to look at its decision again.
The companies are considering calling for a judicial review.
SWIP press officer Sarah Kenrick said: “SWIP, on behalf of its real estate investors, is reviewing its position in relation to the proposed development of Banbury Gateway.
“A significant consideration is section 2 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published by the Government, which recognises town centres as being the heart of communities and endeavours to pursue policies that support their viability and vitality.”
The Gateway development will fund motorsport firm Prodrive’s eventual move to a vacant factory in Noral Way. It will be fronted by Marks and Spencer and Next.
Adrian Cammidge, spokesperson for Kames Capital, said: “We do not consider the permission should have been granted for a number of reasons and we will be challenging the council’s decision together with other landlords who own property in the town centre.”
Kevin Lane, head of law and governance at Cherwell District Council, said: “We have received correspondence challenging the legality of the planning approval and we are seeking legal advice on it before responding.”
Members of Banbury’s Old Town Association (OTA) fought against the Gateway plans and the application had been recommended for refusal by council officers.
Barry Whitehouse, OTA chairman and owner of The Artery in White Lion Walk, said he was happy the decision was being looked into.
“I’m glad somebody has decided to pursue this,” he said.
“Our aim is to keep the town centre trade and to keep the high street vibrant and having a retail park out of town is only going to detract from that.
“The development goes against all Government policies, such as the Mary Portas review, and if this goes through Banbury town centre will be dying and out-of-town will be thriving.“
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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