Minister Must Rubber-Stamp Tesco PlanOctober 4, 2009
Any decision to fund the new Bristol City stadium by building a Tesco store at Ashton Gate must be rubber-stamped by planning minister John Healey, it has emerged.
Bristol’s council bosses have decided to refer the decision to the government for scrutiny, if local councillors approve the plans.
A council spokeswoman told Jones The News it was “standard practice” for councils to refer decisions this big and this controversial to government planners for checking.
In the case of the proposed stadium, it is because granting permission would break the council’s own planning guidelines, known as the ‘Local Plan’.
Bristol councillors will rule on the Tesco and stadium plans on November 4th and 5th respectively.
If they are “minded to approve” them, they will be sent to the Government Office for the South West (GOSW), whose guidance must be approved by Mr Healey.
A verdict of “minded to approve” would be enough for Bristol to be considered as a World Cup host city, when the city hands in its final bid on November 6th.
Referring the plan to GOSW does not mean it is being “called-in” and subject to a public inquiry, but it is likely to make it more difficult for campaigners to appeal against the decision.
It also means the final word on the plans will not be made in Bristol.
A GOSW spokeswoman said it was hard to say how long scrutinising the plans would take, but that it was likely to take “months”. She added there was no time limit on how long they could take.
Pictured: artist’s impression of the new stadium and (inset) planning minister John Healey