Sheffield tree campaigners seek new legal challenge to council contract

Paul Brooke, centre, gave details of a potential legal challenge to the council's Streets Ahead contract at Friday's press conference.
Paul Brooke, centre, gave details of a potential legal challenge to the council's Streets Ahead contract at Friday's press conference.
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Tree campaigners are getting legal advice on whether a judicial review can be sought in relation to ending the Streets Ahead contract, it has been revealed.

A warning letter was sent to Sheffield Council on Friday that campaigners are seeking the views of a barrister to determine whether there are grounds to apply for a judicial review of whether the contract can be revoked at no cost to taxpayers. Campaigners believe there are grounds for doing so in light of the apparent failure of Amey to declare a health and safety conviction relating to the death of a worker ahead of the contract being signed in 2012.

At a press conference in Sheffield on Friday, Paul Brooke, co-chair of the Sheffield Tree Action Groups, said: "We are in the process of securing a barrister's opinion on the potential for judicial review. We feel it is a positive case. We will see what reply we get from Sheffield City Council and we will then consider that with the barrister's opinion.

"In our view, rescinding the contract at no cost to the council would be a very positive step forward for the city of Sheffield."

Tree campaigners believe contract could be ended for free
The council has previously said does not consider the matter to be grounds to cancel the contract. A petition to rescind the contract was signed by over 10,000 people but rejected by the council.

Campaigners also intend to ask the National Audit Office to investigate whether Sheffield Council has contributed to wasting police money after refusing talks on ending the dispute.

Police spend £47,000 on Sheffield tree protest operation