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RESIDENT FAILS IN 'STAND' AGAINST DEVELOPMENT OF FOOTBALL CLUB

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Ipswich resident Rose Malster has failed in fresh legal moves aimed at blocking further development of Ipswich Foot...
Ipswich resident Rose Malster has failed in fresh legal moves aimed at blocking further development of Ipswich Football Club's new north stand at London's court of appeal.

Ms Malster, of Alderman Road, Ipswich - about 50 metres from the ground - had sought permission to appeal from a high court ruling last August which backed the local council's approval of a replacement north stand at its Portman Road stadium.

However, the court of appeal refused her leave to appeal and also refused her leave to refer the matter to Europe.

Lord justice Pill said the court considered that the decision of the local council to give consent was a decision it was entitled to take and did not contravene rules relating to environmental assessments.

On 4 May, Ipswich BC granted planning permission to Ipswich Town to demolish its old north stand, which seated 3,363, and replace it with a two-tier stand, which will hold 7,035.

The club has already knocked down the old stand, and started work on the new one, and the project is expected to cost£2,735,702 to build.

Ms Malster is concerned that the size and proximity of the structure will have a severe impact on the light reaching houses in the area, including her own, and that the increased capacity will lead to greater nuisance from fans.

She argues that the council failed properly to comply with its obligations, under European rules, to conduct an environmental impact assessment before granting permission.

In the court of appeal today, Eleanor Sharpston, counsel for Ms Malster, said that the practical effects of the new stand, if completed as proposed, on Ms Malster's property were very real. The judge himself had acknowledged in his decision that the effect was 'severe.'

She claimed that the case raised a 'fundamental question about the scope of the European Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the extent of member states' discretion in its implementation.'

She contended that the re-development of the North Stand would have

significant environmental effects and would inevitably attract the

requirement of the EIA directive.

She argued that Mr justice Sullivan was wrong to conclude that, where was 'a severe, but highly localised, shadowing effect,' it did not amount to a likely significant effect on the environment so as to warrant an EIA.

She argued further that the council's decision was in breach of local residents' rights of enjoyment of their homes under the new Human Rights Act and sought leave to refer the matter to the European Court.

However, John Litton, counsel for Ipswich BC, said that although the judge had found that the New North Stand would have a significant overshadowing effect on a few properties at the bottom of Alderman Road, the court should note that the only severe impact would be on the light into the south-facing rooms of the hostel on Sir Alf Ramsey Way and not Ms Malster's property.

Seeking to uphold the judge's ruling he argued that whether the development would have an impact on a 'densely populated area' was not relevant because the area was not densely populated

He claimed that the judge was right to hold that the council had carried out a balancing exercise between Ms Malster's interest in the enjoyment of her home and the public interest in replacing the existing stand. He said the judge had rightly found that Ms Malster had not disputed that the council took into account all relevant matters when reaching the decision that it did.

Counsel for the club, David Elvin QC, said the club was concerned at the delay and prejudice in circumstances where substantial work had already been carried out and costs incurred.

Dismissing Ms Malster's application the judge said: 'I am unable to accept that the structure would be of a size which would mean that it would have significant effect on the area within the meaning of the Environmental Impact Directive.

'Although it would have an impact it would not have a significant impact so as to require an Environmental Impact Assessment.'

He said it was not arguable that either the high court judge or the planning officers who had approved the scheme had considered the project was such that an impact assessment should have been made.

The court was, he said, entitled to have regard to the 'limited impact' that the scheme would have on the area.

STRAND NEWS SERVICE

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