Cameron vs. Manchester city council 08.01.2021 

court case to appeal the planning permission for the car park.

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On Thursday 17th October 2019, Manchester City Council’s planning committee voted through controversial plans to use a former retail park in Ancoats as a temporary 440-space car park for up to two years. They ignored 12,200 people who signed our petition to disagree (10,000 of these living in Greater Manchester and 5000 in Manchester city centre). We believe the 10.5 acre site should be used for community green space and social housing.

Statement 08-01-21

Trees Not Cars’ judicial review against Manchester City Council took place today the 8th January, in which they sought to block the council from using the former Central Retail Park as a 440-space temporary car park next to the city centre’s only primary school. 

The hearing of (Gemma) Cameron (founder of Trees Not Cars) vs Manchester City Council took place this morning. Cameron was represented by leading planning lawyers John Hunter and Piers Riley-Smith of Kings Chambers in Manchester, working for the group on a “no win no fee” basis. The council was represented by a team of lawyers led by Christopher Katkowski QC, a London-based lawyer said to be one of the leading planning specialists in the country. 

Katkowski is an advisor to Boris Johnson’s Government and an advisor behind the Government’s proposed controversial new planning laws that would see sweeping changes to the planning system. The planning changes have been sharply criticised by Manchester councillors, researchers, and campaigners. 

Gemma Cameron says, “Manchester’s Labour council instructed probably the most expensive planning Barristers in England from London in an attempt to crush a community group fighting for clean air. Was this a good use of taxpayer money? Why didn’t they instruct Manchester-based Barristers? So much for using local expertise? We need seriously to question the judgement of this council.

“We are extremely grateful to John Hunter, our wonderful lawyer working pro bono, who worked tirelessly on our behalf. We would not have been able to pursue a judicial review had it not been for the support and generous donations from the community. Over 12,000 people signed our petition and we fundraised over £12,000k to cover our legal fees. This shows the strength of feeling for our cause.

We feel the hearing went very well for us and look forward to hearing the judgement in the in due course”

The judgement is likely to come within three weeks but may take longer.

Planning permission to use the site as a two-year car park expires in October 2021. During the hearing, Katkowski said there are currently no plans to reapply for planning permission should the council win the case. 

Gemma Cameron says, “This suggests that the council may not use the site as a car park even if they win. Huge thanks to our lawyers, our team and our generous supporters as through this legal action we have successfully blocked this car park from opening!”


Since taking legal action and preventing the car park from opening, it’s predicted the campaign have prevented 169,736.13 kg of CO2 in the area.

©2019 by TREES NOT CARS.