Tyne & Wear

Newcastle Great Park: Judge rules against homes plan review

Artist's impression for a 1,200-home development at Newcastle Image copyright Concept Architecture
Image caption Developers said they would preserve "large areas for wildlife"

Campaigners have lost a High Court fight to stop 1,200 more homes being built in a city's suburbs.

Save Newcastle Wildlife had launched a legal challenge against plans to expand the Newcastle Great Park development.

A judge has rejected the environmental group's application for a judicial review into Newcastle City Council's decision to approve the scheme.

The group said it was "disappointed", while developers have welcomed the ruling.

The city council granted planning permission for the controversial scheme last year.

Council bosses and the developers complained the legal fight had delayed the construction of two desperately needed schools, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

Save Newcastle Wildlife's Rachel Locke said in November the group had no objection to the schools and would not have opposed a separate planning application for them that was not tied to the 1,200 homes.

The group claimed the housing development would threaten protected species in and around the nearby Havannah Nature Reserve.

Image caption Rachel Locke said the group had no objection to schools being built

"We are deeply disappointed by this decision but are reassured that the court deemed our case arguable," a spokesman said.

"The court agreed our case was arguable on the grounds that the planning application contravened Policy NN4 of the Core Strategy and Urban Core Plan, but judged it likely that permission still would have been granted even when considered as a departure from local policy."

A Newcastle Great Park Consortium spokesman said: "We welcome the High Court decision and look forward to progressing the site, working closely with the local community."

The council said it had "consulted widely on the plans" and was "pleased with the outcome".

Save Newcastle Wildlife is considering whether to appeal against the ruling.

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