Local Government Association says government approach is flawed and could create grounds for judicial review
The government’s approach to eco-towns is open to “serious legal challenge”, council leaders have warned.
The Local Government Association said proposals for 10 new towns went against the principle of development through plans drawn up by local authorities.
The warning follows publication of advice from two lawyers, who were asked to examine the legal issues surrounding eco-towns.
In a joint opinion published today, John Steel QC and James Strachan said there were “sound grounds” for seeking judicial review of the government’s approach to the scheme.
There does not appear to be any compelling justification or rationale for seeking to promote eco-towns outside the existing statutory plan-led system
John Steel QC and James Strachan
They said: “There does not appear to be any compelling justification or rationale for seeking to promote eco-towns outside the existing statutory plan-led system, other than the government’s wish to avoid the system due to the need for proper scrutiny, which takes time.”
The LGA said the legal advice showed the current approach to eco-towns was “deeply flawed” and called on the government to consult further.
The government shortlisted 15 proposals for new towns in April and has said up to 10 final approved bids will have to go through the planning process once chosen later this year.