Oxfordshire CC Jan 20 Head of Legal 600

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Campaigners crowd fund legal challenge to permission for car park on stretch of river valley

A campaign group has so far raised £5,845 to try to mount a legal challenge to a planned car park in Canterbury.

Donations on a crowd funding page have come from 160 people towards a £25,000 target.

The Save Wincheap Water Meadows campaign seeks to prevent the construction of the park-and-ride scheme and slip road to the A2 on what it called “an attractive stretch of the Stour river valley” which it said was also a wildlife site, on a floodplain and part of the designated Stour Valley Green Corridor.

Campaigners argued that Canterbury City Council failed to carry out an environmental impact assessment, made legal errors in the habitats regulation assessment and had misleadingly said the site would not have a harmful effect on the landscape.

Canterbury’s planning committee in October passed the scheme by seven votes to six.

An officer’s report for the meeting recommending acceptance admitted there had been 775 objections received citing among other factors an inappropriate form of development during a climate emergency, loss of biodiversity and increased risk of flooding.

There would be 228 parking spaces in an extension to the existing car park at ground level “and as such, the visual impact would be limited when viewed from the wider surrounding area”.

The report added: “Furthermore, the surrounding area is of a commercial character and so whilst changing the appearance of the northern part of the application site, the proposed development would not result in significant harm to the landscape character of the area and would reflect the commercial and urbanised context to the south of the site.”

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