Protesters turn up the legal heat on council

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

Sheffield City Council faces legal challenges over its responses to two protest campaigns.

It is due to go back to the High Court next month for a judicial review of its proposed closure of Stocksbridge Leisure Centre, even though there was no reprieve for the centre, which closes tomorrow night (Friday).

And it emerged this week that a national heritage protection group is prepared to take the council to court to try to halt the proposed demolition of the Edwardian wing of the former Jessop Hospital.

Both cases prompted widespread opposition, and now the council will be under more pressure to justify its decisions.

Stocksbridge campaigners will get another chance to challenge the authority’s stance in Leeds on June 10 and 11. They welcomed the prospect of a judicial review, but were disappointed and surprised that it was not accompanied by the granting of an injunction to stop the closure in the meantime.

“It’s just so sad, but we are not giving up,” said Fay Howard, spokeswoman for campaign group 4SLC.

Meanwhile, the Jessop controversy resurfaced this week as the national charity, SAVE, indicated it was prepared to call for a judicial review of the council’s granting of planning permission for the demolition of the Edwardian Jessop wing to make way for an £80m university engineering complex.

At the same time, it said it hoped the listed building could be spared without going through the legal process.