The European Court of Justice has found the Government and the London Borough of Bromley guilty of breaking European environment law in a ruling that could stop developments in and around parks and gardens.
The court decided the council should have made an environment impact assessment (EIA) on a development in Crystal Palace Park in south London before it gave planning permission.
In 1997 the council granted outline planning permission for a multiplex cinema with a rooftop car park. Locals made protests but the Department for the Environment, Transport & the Regions (DETR) said the council could go ahead. The council gave final permission without making an EIA but cancelled the project in May 2001 after developers withdrew.
DETR regulations said the council only needed to make an EIA during early planning.
But the European Commission said assessments could be called for at any time during planning.
The Government challenged the ruling in 2001 but has now lost the case and could face fines if the law is not implemented.
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