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Birmingham City Council has abandoned Nicholas Hare Architects'plans for a £14 million sixth-form college in the Ballsall Heath area following consultations with lawyers.

Local campaigners are claiming victory after the council caved in.

They said the council had 'no right' to locate the Joseph Chamberlain College on the parcel of Metropolitan Open Land earmarked for the project.

The scheme - for 1,400 full-time and 2,000 part-time students - faced fierce criticism throughout planning, but won the go ahead in October (AJ 24.10.02).However, the Government Office for the West Midlands immediately called in the application for a public inquiry. Campaigners the Balsall Heath Forum planned to oppose the scheme at the inquiry on the grounds that the council had failed to assess possible alternative sites for the college.

Faced with an inquiry, the council and the local education authority held 'extensive legal consultations'and were told they were 'likely to lose'. As a result they announced this week they were dropping the project.

Joe Holyoak of the Axis Design Collective, who was commissioned by the BHF to assess other sites for the college, said: 'We are delighted to have rescued the parkland.'

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