CAMPAIGNERS hoping to stop a local authority from building a new civic centre have not been granted leave to apply for a judicial review.

The City of Durham Parish Council started the process to apply for a judicial review with the hope of challenging Durham County Council's decision to grant planning permission for its new headquarters, which it wants to build at The Sands, in Durham city. 

The High Court has now refused permission for the review.

The parish council, which has been unanimous in its decision to oppose the scheme, will discuss its next move at a meeting tomorrow night.

Members of the public had raised more than £10,000 to cover the costs of a review. 

Helen Lynch, Durham County Council’s head of legal and democratic services, said: “We are aware that the High Court has refused permission for a judicial review into the decision to grant planning permission for our new HQ building.

"The decision takes us a step closer towards being able to develop the Aykley Heads site to provide thousands of jobs in addition to boosting our local economy by having a greater city centre presence.”

Councillor Elizabeth Scott, chairwoman of the parish council, said: "Obviously we are very disappointed by the judge’s decision on our request for a judicial review into the planning permission granted for the county council’s new headquarters by the Sands.

"We will be discussing this at our next full parish council meeting and shall be deciding on what next steps to take.

"With over 1,000 objections, a campaign against the County HQ move with support from over 4,500 and a crowdfunding campaign raising over £10,000 to fight these plans, it is clear that the tide of public opinion is against the County Council on this."

"The public clearly recognise the impact this will have on our city as a whole and the parish council has sought to be a voice for local residents and fight this ill-thought out £50million scheme all the way."

Kier Property Developments was given planning permission by a Durham County Council planning committee in March.

More than 1,000 people had objected to proposals 

The county council wants to move away from its current base at Aykley Heads, in Durham, to make way for a business park.

The Sands car park was chosen as the location for the new civic centre in January 2017, with the county council saying it will boost city centre footfall.

The five-storey building, which is about a third smaller than the existing County Hall, will provide a work place for about 1,000 council officers, and will also have a council chamber, civic square and the plans also include a multi-storey car park.

Cllr Scott added: "My genuine thanks to all those residents who have written to the parish council in support of our fight against the new HQ and to those who have donated to the CrowdJustice campaign to help fund our legal challenge.

"This has been 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. “