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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 July 2007, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Council abandons Falmer challenge
Artist's impression of the planned football stadium
The parish council or South Downs Society could still object
One of the main opponents to the proposed site for a new Brighton and Hove Albion football stadium has admitted defeat in the lengthy battle.

Lewes District Council said it would not mount a court challenge against the government's approval for the new ground, announced on 24 July.

Councillor Peter Gardiner said the council had gone "as far as it can go" in its objections to the Falmer site.

The football club has not had a permanent home since 1997.

A planning application for a new 22,000-seater stadium on land north of Village Way, in Falmer, was submitted to Brighton and Hove City Council in 2001.

The proposals have been through two public inquiries in the intervening six years.

The government would yet again approve the Falmer stadium proposal using different words to justify its decision
Councillor Peter Gardiner, Lewes District Council

Communities and Local Government Secretary Hazel Blears said on 24 July that the stadium "would have a substantial adverse impact on the [Sussex Downs] Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty", but that there were "exceptional circumstances" which meant allowing it was in the public interest.

Following consideration of her decision, Mr Gardiner said on Tuesday: "Lewes District Council has gone as far as it can go to convince the government to uphold the planning policies that were put in place to protect the AONB from harmful development.

"If a fresh challenge was launched... the strong probability is that, after a further delay, the government would yet again approve the Falmer stadium proposal using different words to justify its decision."

Mr Gardiner said the council would now work with the football club to minimise any environmental impact.

The deadline for any objections to the stadium approval is 3 September, and the Falmer for All campaign said it would not be celebrating fully until then.

Falmer Parish Council and the South Downs Society both said they were still considering whether a legal challenge could be made.

Seagulls fans celebrate news there will be no challenge

Seagulls cautious at stadium news
24 Jul 07 |  Brighton
Fans mark 10-year stadium fight
26 Apr 07 |  Sussex
Latest deadline in stadium saga
15 Feb 07 |  Sussex

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