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Campaigners pursue judicial review over sale of sea-front land

Campaigners have applied for a judicial review of Canterbury City Council's decision to enter a contract for the sale, subject to planning permission, of seafront land in Whitstable.

The claimants, the Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group (OCPCG) and the Whistable Society, lodged their application in the Administrative Court last week (17 February).

They are advancing five grounds of challenge:

1. Failure to comply with the legal requirements for the disposal of open space land;

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2. Entering into a contract that failed to fully accord with the expressed instruction of the council's executive committee;

3. Excessive secrecy of the resolution-making meeting;

4. Failure to obtain best value for the land sold; and

5. Breach of the public sector equality duty in regard to disabled access to the site.

Angela Boddy, the Chair of the Whitstable Society, said: “Together with the OCPCG, we have tried to sort this out with the council, but to no avail. We have had no alternative but to ask the court to intervene.”

She added: “The council's head of legal services, Sarah Bowman, told councillors last week that she is likely to spend over £20,000 on barrister fees to fight our claim, so nobody should assume we will win our case quickly or easily.”

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