A CAMPAIGN group is to legally challenge a controversial decision by South Lakeland District Council planners to grant permission for a new Ulverston supermarket.

Keep Ulverston Special (KUS) has appointed a leading law firm to fight its case after the green light was given for a large store on the site of the former Hartley’s Brewery in the town’s conservation area. The development was approved by one vote last April.

Leading environmental and public law firm Richard Buxton, based in Cambridge, has identified five areas on which to challenge the lawfulness of SLDC’s decision. KUS believe a particular concern is the authority’s ‘failure to grapple with the huge environmental impact of the development’.

A KUS spokesperson said: “The development lies entirely within a conservation area, in a tightly built up residential area, slap bang by the main strategic A590 route through to Barrow.

“Building this supermarket would involve near total demolition of all historic buildings, massive excavation to create an underground car park, the raising of Brewery Street and the creation of an additional feeder road onto the A590 at Brewery Street roundabout.”

Lawyers have asked in the pre-action letter to SLDC that the decision be squashed and the authority has seven days to respond. If this does not happen, the group will move to seek permission to judicially review the decision – have SLDC’s decision examined by a court to confirm whether or not it was taken lawfully.

The costs of taking this forward are expected to be high, with KUS seeking contributions towards its Fighting Fund. This was set up earlier in the year with £3,000 spent to prepare the case and £10,400 more needed now.

Ceri Hutton, a member of KUS, said: “Supporters dug deep into their pockets to enable us to do the groundwork. Now we know we have a strong case, we are asking people to contribute to the fighting fund to challenge SLDC.”

A spokesman for SLDC said: “We have received a letter before action for Judicial Review on the Ulverston Brewery development and are taking legal advice on the contents of the letter. There is nothing more we can add at this stage.”

For more details about the KUS fighting fund, visit www.keepulverstonspecial.