Leader rules out further legal action on asylum planning decision 


Leader of the Council

The leader of Stafford Borough Council ruled out a legal challenge of the decision by a planning inspector to allow former university student halls in Stafford to become accommodation for asylum seekers. 

Councillor Aidan Godfrey said the legal advice the authority received was categorical - that there was no reasonable prospects of a judicial review succeeding and would be a waste of taxpayers’ money. 

The Borough Council's Planning Committee had thrown out an application for a centre for more than 480 asylum seekers on the town's Beaconside last year - but the decision was overturned by a planning inspector following an appeal by government Home Office contractor, Serco. 

There was a call for the full legal opinion to be published at a meeting of the council last night (Tuesday 25 July) and to push for a judicial review. 

But Councillor Godfrey said the full opinion had been published, around two weeks ago, and added: "It is very clear in the opinion of the planning law experts that there is no way at all that a Judicial Review would be successful." 

He also told the meeting that judicial reviews launched by two councils in other areas of the country were for “very different circumstances” and Stafford Borough Council could not use the same arguments. 

Councillor Godfrey continued: “My hope is we can all work together for the wellbeing of all our residents and allay many of the concerns local people have by working with our partner agencies and voluntary groups. 

“We will be lobbying hard to secure greater funding for services for our residents.”

Press Release No 6056

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