A Bordeaux appeal court yesterday ruled that the Dordogne departmental council cannot continue work on a partially built bypass through a beauty spot valley.
Instead it must demolish it and put the site back to the state it was in before works began, the court said.
However the department says it will appeal again, to the highest administrative appeal court, the Conseil d’Etat.
The department was given the go-ahead for the bypass by the prefecture in 2018 and has argued that the €32million road is necessary to avoid congestion in the medieval village of Beynac, classed as one of the Most Beautiful Villages in France.
Opponents however say it is a waste of public money on an unnecessary, costly road requiring two bridges and a tunnel in a short 3.2km stretch, as the village is only congested at the height of the tourist season.
They say it would be an environmental disaster taking a major road through one France’s most beautiful natural sites, classed as a Unesco biosphere reserve.
A year ago the Conseil d’Etat ordered work to be suspended pending further review after finding there to be ‘no imperative public interest’ for the cost and environmental impact.
The Bordeaux administrative court then ordered the work to be dismantled and discontinued; this latest ruling by the Bordeaux administrative appeal court confirms that decision.
TV presenter Stéphane Bern, who has supported the opponents, said “I am delighted with this victory.”
The department is still determined to go ahead with the road.
In a statement it said it is necessary for the safety of inhabitants in Beynac, environmental issues have been addressed and Dordogne residents will face extra costs with the demolition. The council says it will now fight this decision before the Conseil d’Etat and ask for the demolition to be put on hold pending that.
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