From regeneration and planning website
Campaigners seek judical review of Derby bike track approval
By Michael Donnelly Monday, 17 February 2014
A Derbyshire wildlife campaign group has launched a judicial review bid against a council's approval for a cycle track which would be built on part of a nature reserve.
Tagged by:Development management,Derbyshire,England - Midlands,Biodiversity,Landscape & protected areas,EnvironmentLast week Derby City Council granted full planning permission for the cycle track and mountain bike skills area on part of the Sanctuary local nature reserve at Pride Park.
According to a planning report, which recommended approval, the scheme would take up around 3.5 hectares of the 12.25-hectare nature reserve.
The applicant proposed to make up for the loss of land through the use of a compensation site the south-east of the city.
The planning report said: "The application seeks to provide mitigation within the [nature reserve], during construction and monitoring after construction and seeks to provide compensation land.
"On balance when considering all benefits and opportunities available to the applicant at the time of making the application I feel that they have considered all that is reasonably practical and therefore see no reason as to why the application cannot be support.
"Obviously, the impact of the proposal on the LNR is the biggest concern with this application and any impact is regrettable. The applicant has accepted that impact is inevitable and has been unable to accommodate the proposal on an alternative site however they have been able to secure a compensatory site which is some three times the size of the loss from the development of this site with known nature conservation benefits".
But in a statement the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust said it was seeking a judicial review of the planning approval.
Conservation manager Tim Birch said: "We have been advised that we have grounds to seek such a review on two counts – the absence of a winter bird survey of the nature reserve, meaning that there is incomplete information about its wildlife, and the offer of a compensatory site at Alvaston Scrub, which is inappropriate and inadequate.
"This is such an important issue both locally and nationally that we felt we had to explore all options to protect The Sanctuary. Destruction of the wildlife habitat on this Local Nature Reserve sets a dangerous precedent that makes other local nature reserves in Derbyshire and around the country vulnerable to development.
"If Derby City Council is prepared to build on this nature reserve, which will be the next they line up for development? Our wildlife continues to decline and it is vital that we do all we can to protect our local nature reserves".
Derby City Council said it acknowledged the legal proceedings but would make no further comment.