A planned High Court hearing over the disputed future use of land at Ashton Vale in Bristol has been dropped after an 11th-hour agreement. The city council and campaigners were due in London tomorrow (Thursday) to argue over what should happen to the 42-acre site.
The Council has granted permission for a new 30,000-seater stadium for Bristol City Football Club, but campaigners want the entire area given over to recreational use.
This afternoon, the council revealed legal teams for both sides have agreed the next step. If, as seems likely, the courts approve, the council will now seek submissions from both the developers and campaigners over their plans for the northern half of the site.
This effectively confirms the southern half, the one closest to residents in Ashton Vale, will stay a green space. No deadline has been set for those submissions although progress is expected by late summer.
"We shall make every attempt to move to this next stage as speedily as possible," says a council statement. It could yet fall to an independent planning inspector to make a final ruling.
The council gave planning permission for the stadium back in November 2009 but that was halted when some local residents, known as the Save Ashton Vale Environment (SAVE) group, won an order to have the entire site declared a town and village green.
The council in turn contested that ruling and last month offered to try to settle the dispute by saying it wouldn't be contesting a Judicial Review of the issue.
It's hoped this latest move will finally progress a bitter and complex case which has cost both sides many thousands of pounds in legal fees already.
– Bristol City Council
Agreement has now been reached on the terms of the settlement regarding the legal action in relation to the Ashton Vale Town and Village Green. The council announced its intention on 4th May 2012 to cease to contest the Judicial Review. Since then legal teams have been seeking to agree terms - this has now been concluded and a consent order has been submitted to the court. Upon the court's approval of the order, the council intends to seek submissions from the parties before finalising the next steps in relation to the northern part of the site. No decisions have been made on this process, however we shall make every attempt to move to this next stage as speedily as possible.