A group of witches and wizards in central England is claiming victory over property developers in a naming dispute for a new €522m shopping mall.

Property firm Hammerson plc was going to call the new shopping centre in the city of Leicester 'Highcross Quarter'.

That provoked the ire of a local coven of Wiccans, witches and wizards who use the name because it refers to a special date in the pagan calendar.

According to the Wiccan website highcrossquarter.co.uk, the developers have backed down and agreed to call their new project 'Highcross Leicester'.

The website points out, however, that the year-long dispute is not entirely over.

The coven will continue to battle 'tooth and nail' for the web domain rights to highcrossquarter.co.uk.

'It was our only wish all along, to be left in peace to develop our Web site and maintain the aspirations for faith and of our simple way of life,' said the group's spokeswoman who called herself Morrigan Wisecraft.

In a statement released to the media, Hammerson did not say whether it had changed its mind because of the row with the witches and wizards.

'Initially, Highcross Quarter was used to describe the development to potential new retailers and to our city centre partners in recognition of the wider city regeneration,' said Richard Brown, senior development executive at Hammerson.

He added: 'It has now evolved to Highcross Leicester, which we believe will give it a stronger identity for customers and raise the profile not only of the development but also the city.'