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Legal challenge lodged by Anders Holch Povlsen against Space Hub Sutherland granted; Date for judicial review of Highland Council decision to approve multimillion-pound Highland venture confirmed

By Caroline McMorran

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A petition for a judicial review of the decision by Highland Council to grant planning consent for the £17.3 million Space Hub Sutherland has been granted.

Wildland Ltd, owned by entrepreneur Anders Holch Povlsen, lodged the petition and the Court of Session has now ruled the review can proceed, with a one-day hearing set for April 1.

A successful review could lead to a long, drawn-out public enquiry.

Anders Holch Povlsen.
Anders Holch Povlsen.

The space port was given the go-ahead by Highland Council last June and its decision was referred to the Scottish Government for scrutiny but the application was not called in.

Space Hub Sutherland is earmarked to go on land owned by Melness Crofters Estate at a site on the A’Mhoine peninsula, west of Tongue.

Mr Povlsen, Scotland’s biggest private landowner, owns several estates in Sutherland including Eriboll Estate, which adjoins the space port site.

Wildland objected to the plans for the commercial space port, saying it had concerns over the potential ecological and landscape damage set against the “likely very limited benefit”.

However, the company’s sister company Wild Ventures later revealed it had invested £1.43 million in the Shetland space port site on the island of Unst.

A spokesman for Wildland said that the Court of Session decision was welcomed.

Space Port United Residents, a group set up to support Space Hub Sutherland, posted on social media that the review could be “very good news”.

The post reads: “It is a one day case and, if thrown out he (Mr Polvsen) will be the biggest April fool and it will all be over. Roll on April 1.”

Related: Billionaire launches legal challenge against space hub go-ahead

Highland Council approves spaceport plans

Aerospace firm secures Highlands and Islands Enterprise funding

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