A LEGAL dispute over rights of access to the new Castle Park development has become complicated, after local members who act as trustees for the woods decided that a through road would be incompatible with the legal arrangement the woods are managed under.
Although planning permission had already been agreed in principle to the construction of the road, planning remained technically un-granted, according to the council’s legal team, allowing the Area Committee to revisit the application.
The report from the meeting states that the council had already sought advice from QC Steven Stuart, who stated: “The granting of such an access would not be appropriate as it was not within the scope of the Blench Charter in that it did not confer any benefit to the park, and would result in alienation of that part of the parkland.
“The granting of such an access would be open to legal challenge and in that event, given the advice presented, an issue of personal liability could arise.”
Councillors agreed, however, that the addition of a pedestrian or cycle path would be compatible with the charter, and could be constructed.
The decision presents significant difficulties for builders Scotia and Barratt, who are developing the site, and the council, given the paucity of options for connecting the scheme with Golf Road, which is necessary for development to proceed on the site.
Speaking afterwards, Cllr Gillian owen told the Times that there was no easy resolution to the issue.
“The matter is being assessed, and planning and transport officers are in discussions with the developer,” she said. “I don’t see there being an end in sight - it could rumble on for months.”