Judicial review means Sutton Council's Brighton Road car park fence costs will continue
A legal challenge to controversial plans to change a town centre car park into an office block means it will remain fenced off at the taxpayer's expense for longer.
Sutton Council agreed the sale of the Brighton Road car park to engineering firm Subsea 7 earlier this year but the purchase has not yet been formally completed so the car park has been closed and fenced off since late September.
Each week the car park is closed costs the council more than £2,000 to pay for the rental of the fence, 24-hour security guards and concrete blocks to reinforce it.
Now a legal challenge against the council's decision to grant Subsea 7 planning permission for the project has been launched.
That means the sale cannot be completed until the High Court makes a ruling and the cost of the closure to the taxpayer, which already exceeds £25,000, is set to carry on rising.
A Sutton Council spokesman said:“Following the granting of planning permission, we had expected the site to be sold to Subsea 7 last month to build high quality office space that will generate 800 jobs and make the area more attractive for firms to invest.
“However, the planning process is now subject to a judicial review application. We are confident that the planning process has been followed correctly and we are looking at ways to reduce the cost of security while we wait for a decision on the application.”
The sale of the car park has been unpopular with town centre workers who used it and have been forced to make alternative arrangements.
Councillor Tony Shields, an opposition Conservative member, said: "The whole thing's a joke.
"If they just kept it open while mall this is going on then it wouldn't be costing God-knows how much."
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