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Campaigners win legal challenge over temporary car park next to school but council vows to appeal

Campaign group Trees Not Cars has won a judicial review against Manchester City Council over the use of a city centre site.

The group said the court’s decision prevented the council from using the former Central Retail Park as a temporary 440-space car park next to the city centre’s only primary school, which it argued would suffer air pollution.

Group spokeswoman Gemma Cameron said: “We have stopped the council from putting a car park next to a primary school. This is the first time we are aware of a community group beating the council in a legal challenge.”

The group said the court found the council had failed to consider the impact of air quality on the locality or the school and the council unlawfully recommended planning approval based on the wrong information, air quality assessment and traffic analysis.

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A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “We are disappointed at this judgment and have sought leave to appeal.

“The reason we have contested this judicial review was not about its implications for the former Central Retail Park site but the precedent it would set and the potential impact of this decision on future applications if insufficient weight was given to the previous use of sites - in this case as the car park for a retail park.”

The council said the judgment did not affect the future of this site as it had not been brought into use as a car park yet and would not be before planning permission for this purpose expires in October.

Mark Smulian

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