The City of Durham Parish Council has launched a crowd funding campaign in its fight against Durham County Council’s proposed new Council Headquarters being built on the Sands in the centre of Durham.
The move comes after solicitors acting on behalf of the Parish Council issued the County Council with a pre-action letter on 23rd April requesting that planning permission for the new Headquarters be quashed. In its correspondence to the County Council, Richard Buxton solicitors stated there were four grounds for objecting:
• Unlawful imposition of condition 3 and consequent failure correctly to assess traffic impacts as part of the EIA;
• Failure to consider all relevant alternatives as part of the sequential assessment;
• Failure to take into account and give reasons for not accepting the advice of Historic England and the Council’s Design and Conservation Officer relating to the design of the multi-storey car park;
• Failure to provide “clear and convincing” justification for the harm to the designated heritage assets.
Despite overwhelming local opposition to the plans, Durham County Council’s planning committee voted 8-6 on 5th March in favour of moving County Hall from its current home at Aykley Heads to a new building based on the current Sands car park.
At an extraordinary meeting of the Parish Council on 10th April, Councillors voted unanimously in favour of seeking a judicial review of the scheme and to investigate funding options for carrying out the legal action, after receiving a number of offers of donations from members of the public towards legal costs.
Chair of the City of Durham Parish Council, Cllr Elizabeth Scott said, “the public clearly recognise that the Parish Council is committed to fighting this proposed scheme all the way and a number of members of the public had even offered donations to support us in fighting these plans. As a result, in deciding to move forward with legal action, we also decided to investigate the option of crowd funding. This is a real community-led effort in a bid to try and stop these proposals and get the County Council to go back to the drawing board on this ill-thought out £50million scheme which will have a devastating impact on our City, our local amenity, our environment, traffic, local residents and businesses and our much-loved world heritage site”.
Anyone wishing to donate to the campaign can do so by following the link below and pledging their support: