High Court asked to end battle over two cinema-led developments in Peterborough

Peterborough City Council has told a High Court judge there was nothing irrational about its approval of two rival multi-million pound cinema-led developments.

Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 12:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2016, 1:17 pm
An image shows how part of the planned North Westgate development would appear.

The local authority was defending its decision to back both a £30 million cinema-led development in the Queensgate shopping centre and a £100 millon cinema, retail and housing venture for the neighbouring North Westgate site.

North Westgate developers, Hawksworth Securities, have gone to the High Court to demand a judicial review of the council’s decision last October.

They claim their scheme is scuppered by the Queensgate plan approval as two cinemas in close proximity will not be viable.

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In written submissions, the local authority’s counsel Reuben Taylor QC said there was nothing irrational in the decision to grant permission for both schemes.

He said it was part of the recognised need to improve, expand and enhance the city’s “cultural and leisure” offering and improve its economy.

But Hawksworth’s counsel Hereward Phillpot QC told Mrs Justice Lang: “There is only sufficient demand to support the development of one new cinema in Peterborough city centre.”

He said if the council’s permission to Queensgate went ahead their own scheme “will be rendered unviable and will not be implemented.”

Hawksworth allege the council made no reference in its reasons for granting permission to Queensgate on the impact it would have on their scheme.

They claim the council’s decision is unfair, unreasonable and unlawful and want the judge to block it.

Timothy Corner QC for Queensgate, in written submissions, stated both schemes were in accordance with the development plan for the city.

He said even if the North Westgate scheme was put in jeopardy by the Queensgate scheme it did not oblige the council to refuse the scheme.

The decision has been reserved and is expected to be given in a few weeks.