A LEGAL case to declare the Bibby Stockholm barge is unlawful will be heard at the High Court in London in February.

The High Court has ordered that there will be a final hearing from February 27 to 29, to challenge Dorset Council’s assertion that it has no planning jurisdiction over the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Harbour.

The proceedings are being brought by Carralyn Parkes, who is a councillor for Underhill and the Mayor of Portland, however, she is bringing the proceedings in a personal capacity.

A legal case was previously brought to the High Court against the Home Office but Judge Mr Justice Holgate ruled Mrs Parkes did not have an arguable case.

A second legal case was subsequently launched against Dorset Council, arguing that they could have enforced planning law to stop the Bibby Stockholm.

Mrs Parkes and her legal team are pursuing Dorset Council to enforce planning law so that the Bibby Stockholm 'can be consigned to the dustbin of history'.

The hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

Mrs Parkes said: "The Bibby Stockholm is wholly unsuitable as housing for asylum seekers. It was designed to accommodate up to 220 people for short periods whilst working, yet the Government intends to accommodate 506 asylum-seekers and 40 staff on board. 

"I firmly believe that locating the Bibby Stockholm in Portland Port breaches planning regulations. I am more determined than ever, with the help of my legal team, to pursue Dorset Council to enforce planning law so that the Bibby Stockholm can be consigned to the dustbin of history.”

Dorset Council hit back at the legal challenge by Mrs Parkes, saying it will force the council to "incur further costs to taxpayers".

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: "Dorset Council is disappointed at Mrs Parkes’s decision to issue judicial review proceedings claim against the council.

“The council has already incurred legal costs by taking part in Mrs Parkes’s previous unsuccessful claim against the Home Secretary. This is not something we wanted to do, but we had to as we were named as an interested party and therefore were required to attend the hearing.

“Mrs Parkes’s decision to pursue materially the same arguments against the council as the earlier hearing and name us as a defendant will simply force the council to incur further costs to local taxpayers – funds which, in a challenging budget situation, should be used to deliver services for the people of Dorset.

“In the recent High Court hearing for Mrs Parkes’s previous claim, Mr Justice Holgate made an order allowing the outcome of Mrs Parkes’s unsuccessful action against the Home Secretary to be cited in other cases.

"In his words “It would be absurd if another judge dealing with identical or similar issues, for example at a permission stage, were to be deprived of the opportunity to consider the way in which the arguments in the present case were presented and dealt with by the court.”

“Dorset Council does not doubt that Mrs Parkes is acting with good intentions and out of concern for those accommodated on the Bibby Stockholm. As publicly stated, the council shares many of those concerns. Mrs Parkes’s cause is not served, however, by pursuing points against the council which the court has already found to be unarguable.”