Smith v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
JudgeTHE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE WYN WILLIAMS,Mr Justice Wyn Williams
Judgment Date03 May 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] EWHC 1013 (Admin)
Docket NumberCase No: CO/694/2007

[2007] EWHC 1013 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

ADMINISTRATIVE

Before:

The Honourable Mr Justice Wyn Williams

Case No: CO/694/2007

Between
(1) Lisa Smith
Claimants
(2) Mary Ellen Reilly
(3) Julia Reilly
and
The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
Defendant
London Development Agency
Interested Party

Mr Marc Willers (instructed by The Community Law Partnership) for the Claimants

Mr Richard Drabble QC & Mr James Maurici

(instructed by the Treasury Solicitor's Department) for the Defendant

Mr Guy Roots QC & Mr Richard Glover for the Interested Party

Hearing dates: 25 th April 2007

Crown Copyright ©

THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE WYN WILLIAMS Mr Justice Wyn Williams

Mr Justice Wyn Williams :

1

The First Claimant is a Romani Gypsy. She currently resides in a caravan located at Plot 6, Clays Lane Caravan Site Newham London E1 5HJ. She is the licensee of that plot and has lived on the site for 20 years. Two children, William and Bonny, live with First Claimant in her caravan. Clays Lane Caravan Site, as its name implies, is an authorised site which consists of 13 plots.

2

The Second Claimant is an Irish Traveller. She lives in a caravan at Plot 3, Waterden Crescent Caravan Site, Waterden Road Hackney London E1 5EP together with her five children. She has lived at the site for approximately 13 years.

3

The Third Claimant lives in a caravan on Plot 11 at the same site. She is also an Irish Traveller and she lives in her caravan with three children (two of whom are school age). The Third Claimant suffers from significant disability and one of her children also has a significant disability. Waterden Crescent Caravan Site is also an authorised site and it consists of 20 separate plots.

4

In the remainder of this judgment Clays Lane Caravan Site and Waterden Crescent Caravan Site are called "the sites."

5

On the 16 th November 2005 London Development Agency (LDA) made a Compulsory Purchase Order under section 20(1) of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. The Order, as made, authorised the compulsory purchase of 339 hectares of land and it included the sites. The Order was made for the purposes of:

"…securing the economic development and the regeneration of land, promoting business efficiency, investment and competitiveness, promoting employment, enhancing the development and applications of skills relevant to employment and contributing towards the achievement of sustainable development within its area and for the purposes incidental thereto, namely by the development of the land which will result in the significant regeneration of the area by the provision of the main facilities for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, the Legacy facilities and the development of the Stratford Rail Lands."

6

There were objections to the Order. The Claimants and other occupiers of the sites were among those who objected.

7

An Inspector was appointed to hold a local public inquiry. He heard objections on behalf of those persons who occupied plots at the sites. The thrust of the objection was to assert that no compulsory purchase order should be made unless and until alternative sites had been provided upon which the occupiers could pitch their caravans.

8

The Inspector, Mr Rose, reported to the Defendant in a comprehensive document dated 16 th October 2006. In respect of the objections by the occupiers of the sites his conclusion included the following expression of view.

"In my opinion, although the benefits of the Order are very compelling, a small group should not be left to pay any excessive personal and social cost for those benefits to be achieved. It is also telling that the Objectors do not want to stand in the way of the Olympics and Legacy developments; they object merely to ensure that they continue to have a suitable place in which to live.

Against this background, I consider that the Order should not be confirmed until the Secretary of State is satisfied that suitable relocation sites will be available to meet the reasonable needs of the Gypsies and the Travellers that would be displaced." 1

9

As was his duty, the Defendant gave consideration to the Inspector's Report. An Official in his Department issued a decision letter on behalf of the Defendant in respect of the Compulsory Purchase Order on 18 th December 2006. For ease of reference this document will be referred to as the "decision letter" for the remainder of this judgment. The decision contained within the letter was to confirm the Order.

10

As of the 18 th December 2006 no alternative sites for the occupiers of the sites had been secured. In respect of the Inspector's conclusion that the order should not be confirmed until alternative sites had been secured the decision letter provided:—

"He has considered the Inspector's conclusion that the Order should not be confirmed until he, the Secretary of State, is satisfied that suitable relocation sites will be available to meet the reasonable needs of the Gypsies and Travellers that would be displaced (IR 6.2.122). The Secretary of State has considerable sympathy with those living at the Clays Lane and Waterden Crescent sites but as mentioned above, he takes the view that the scale and the extent of physical infrastructure required for the Olympic Games necessitate control of the major part of the Order lands by mid- 2007 (IR 6.1.15–6.1.16). Therefore given the urgency, timing and importance of the Olympics and Legacy development, he considers the acquisition of the gypsy and travellers' sites is vital in order to meet the requirement of the Olympic timetable and there is a compelling case for confirming these sites in the Order now. He consequently disagrees with the Inspector's conclusion that the Order should not be confirmed until the relocation to alternative sites has the certainty that would be derived from the grant of planning permission. The Secretary of State notes the Inspector was aware of the LDA's continuing work towards a satisfactory relocation of the gypsies and travellers (IR6.2.116). He is confident that the LDA are fully aware of the issues involved and, as with the bus depots, will make strenuous effort to deal with them so as to ensure the satisfactory relocation of the gypsies and travellers. However, as with the bus garages, the Secretary of State appreciates that there is a risk of failure on the relevant timescale that cannot be eliminated but having regard in particular to the clear and overwhelming importance of the Order and the urgency of the timing issues already referred to considers it right to confirm the Order now." 2

11

On or about the 5 th January 2007 the Claimants commenced these proceedings. They seek an order from this Court quashing the decision of the Defendant to confirm the compulsory purchase order. They bring the proceedings under section 23 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 which provides that : —

"(1) If any person aggrieved by a compulsory purchase order desires to question the validity thereof, or of any provision contained therein, on the ground that the authorisation of the compulsory purchase thereby granted is not empowered to be granted under this Act or any such enactment as is mentioned in section 1(1) of this Act, he may make an application to the High Court.

(2) If any person aggrieved by –

(a) a compulsory purchase order or

(b) …………….

desires to question the validity thereof on the ground that any relevant requirement has not been complied with in relation to the order ……….. he may make an application to the High Court."

12

By section 24 of the 1981 Act the Court is empowered to quash a compulsory purchase order or any provision contained therein either generally or in so far as it affects any property of the applicant if the statutory criteria set out in section 23 are fulfilled.

The Relevant Factual Background

13

As I have said, the Order as published encompasses some 339 hectares of land. This area is situated within the boundaries of four different local authorities, Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Geographically, the land is within an area known as the Lower Lea Valley.

14

In his report the Inspector described the Lower Lea Valley as follows: —

"The Lower Lea Valley, within which the Order Lands are located, is generally built up in character. Land uses are mainly industrial, with a high proportion of older buildings and yards; open working/storage type activities; and transport-related facilities. These characteristics contribute to a low employment density, generally, throughout the area. The area has more than its fair share of vacant sites and derelict buildings awaiting re-use or redevelopment. More encouragingly, pockets of comparatively modern industrial and commercial buildings provide a marked contrast; but my general impression is of an area that is, as a whole, used inefficiently and demanding of regeneration.

The general economic outlook is one of decline in the context of the area's recorded high level of deprivation which manifests itself through a number of economic indicators including:—high unemployment; a high incidence of manufacturing jobs; a low proportion of managerial or professional skills; and a marked concentration of employment in the waste and recycling sub-sector. Socially, crime levels are high; health is poor; the population is generally younger, more diverse and less settled than average.

Outwardly, areas of derelict and overgrown land, fly-tipping and the condition of some water ways, are symptomatic of the physical neglect of the environment; and wide-spread ground...

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2 cases
  • R Salford Estates (No. 2) Ltd v Salford City Council
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 17 May 2011
    ...of Wynn-Williams J to like effect in relation to planning policies in paragraph 55 of his judgment in the case of Smith v The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2008] 1 WLR 394). 27 I am also of the clear view that the evidence does not establish or begin to establish that the commi......
  • Kerr v NIHE
    • United Kingdom
    • 10 January 2013
    ...the public interest. He drew the attention of the Tribunal to the decision in Lisa Smith v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry [2007] EWHC 1013 (Admin) as an example of a decision in which the Article 8 rights of travellers had been considered in relation to the compulsory purchase of......

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