Green campaigners abandon legal challenge to carpet factory’s money-raising scheme for 400 houses at Cloakham Lawn

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Green campaigners have dropped their legal challenge to the Cloakham Lawn housing development to give Axminster Carpets the “best chance of being rescued from insolvency”.

The Save Our Parkland (SOP) group has abandoned a planned court appeal after hearing the delay in selling the land was proving to be “pivotal” to the company’s rescue plans.

The Cloakham site – where planning permission has been granted for some 400 homes - is owned by Axminster Carpets and its sale would give the beleaguered firm a much needed cash injection.

In a statement issued to The Herald today a spokesman for Save Our Parkland said: “SOP was set up to fight the cavalier attitude of the planning department of East Devon District Council with the two main objectives of defending the green belt development of Cloakham Lawn and promoting the need for a North /South Relief Road.

“When the vote of the town council was ignored, SOP decided to take legal action and begin judicial proceedings. The outcome of the judicial review went in favour of EDDC. Until this week SOP had been considering an appeal against that decision.

“In recent meetings with the management of Axminster Carpets, the delay in land sale due to the pending legal issues with EDDC was identified as proving to be pivotal to the company’s rescue plans. As a result, SOP agreed to ballot its members to seek approval of cessation of legal action on the proviso that Axminster carpets continues to operate its business from its current base in Axminster. The outcome was in favour of the discontinuation of legal action.

“Save Our Parkland has always acted in the best interests of the town as a whole and it is felt that the current position of Axminster Carpets as a key employer outweighs other considerations. The way is now open for Axminster carpets to generate the much needed cash from the land sale.

“We will keep fighting for a relief road and flood defences.”

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