Sole v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Others

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtQueen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
JudgeSIR MICHAEL HARRISON
Judgment Date30 May 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] EWHC 1527 (Admin)
Docket NumberCO/809/2007

[2007] EWHC 1527 (Admin)

IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE

QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION

THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT

Before:

Sir Michael Harrison

CO/809/2007

Sole
(Claimant)
and
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and Others
(Defendant)

MISS NATHALIE LIEVEN QC AND MR RICHARD WALD (instructed by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors) appeared on behalf of the CLAIMANT

MR JAMES MAURICI (instructed by Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT

MR GUY ROOTS QC AND ALEXANDER BOOTH appeared on behalf of the London Development Agency

SIR MICHAEL HARRISON

Introduction

1

This claim is an application under section 23 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 to challenge the lawfulness, in part, of the London Development Agency (Lower Lea Valley, Olympic and Legacy) Compulsory Purchase Order 2005 ("the CPO") made by the second defendant, the London Development Agency (the "LDA") on 16th November 2005 under section 20(1) of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 and confirmed by the first defendant, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry ("the Secretary of State") on 18th February 2006, following consideration of a report dated 16th October 2006 by his Inspector who conducted a public inquiry into objections to the CPO.

Background

2

The CPO covered 339 hectares of land in East London falling within the London Boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest in an area known as the Lower Lea Valley. The purpose of the CPO is to achieve the comprehensive regeneration of the Lower Lea Valley by enabling the development required for the Olympics in 2012 and the development thereafter, known as the Legacy, to be implemented.

3

The challenge in this case relates to the area known as the Clays Lane Estate where the claimant, Mr Sole, lives. It is a residential housing estate of about 450 units located on a site of 2.4 hectares towards the north- east part of the CPO boundary. It is the largest residential development within the CPO boundary and it is well located for public open space and for public transport.

4

It is an unusual form of residential development in so far as it is entirely for single people housed mostly in individual units within communal housing of between four and ten bedrooms arranged in courtyard blocks, although there are some individual flats and bungalows. The estate was originally run as a housing co-operative but that ceased in August 2005 and it is now owned and run by the Peabody Trust.

5

Of the 450 units on the estate, 347 were occupied at the time of the CPO inquiry. As at March 2007, there remained 112 occupants for whom relocation arrangements had not yet been made. They include the claimant who, together with some others, would like to be part of a group move to try and retain the character of communal housing.

6

The Clays Lane Estate is located on land required for the Athletes' Village and for some sports facilities. As it is required by July 2007, those requiring a group move will have to move first to temporary accommodation before group accommodation can be provided.

7

Planning permissions were granted in October 2004 by the four London Boroughs for those parts of the proposed Olympic and Legacy developments which fell within their boundary, the applications having been processed through the Joint Planning Authorities Team ('JPAT'). The planning permission relating to the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, within which the Clays Lane Estate is located, included condition 4.6 which provided as follows:

"The Development shall not be Commenced unless and until the Residential Relocation Strategy has been submitted to and approved by the Local Planning Authorities. Such Strategy shall be in accordance with the parameters and principles set out in the Development Specification and Framework, at section 15.2 and Appendix H Part 8, unless any deviations from those parameters and principles have been approved by the Local Planning Authorities.

"Reason: To ensure that existing residents on the site are appropriately relocated."

Condition 4.6 is in a form which is known as a Grampian condition, a negative condition, and the protection that it gives to the residents forms an important part of the claimant's case in these proceedings because it requires a residential relocation strategy to be submitted and approved by the local planning authorities before development can be commenced.

8

A draft relocation strategy was submitted to the planning authorities about which JPAT had some reservations but, as the Olympic and Legacy Master Plans were revised twice, in January 2006 and in June 2006 during the inquiry, the LDA made it clear at the inquiry that it would not be implementing the 2004 permission and that it intended to submit a fresh application after the close of the CPO inquiry. The draft relocation strategy was therefore never approved. In fact, a fresh planning application was subsequently submitted in January 2007 to the Olympic Delivery Authority ('the ODA') which, by virtue of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games Act 2006, is now the planning authority for the Olympics land, and that planning application is presently being processed.

9

As the 2004 planning permission is not going to be implemented, the claimant's case is that the CPO should provide the same level of protection to the residents as was provided by the 2004 planning permission.

CPO inquiry, inspector's report and Secretary of State's decision

10

Before coming to the two main grounds of the claimant's case, I should first refer in summary form to the CPO inquiry, the Inspector's report and the Secretary of State's decision letter.

11

The CPO inquiry lasted for a total of 41 days. The claimant was an objector who appeared at the inquiry, both as an individual and as part of a collective case of a number of residents. At the outset of the inquiry, the residents had no legal representation. By agreement, the Inspector held informal "round table" sessions to hear their objections but, during that process, the residents obtained funding for legal representation and for a professional witness, so the round table sessions were adjourned for the collective case to be presented formally by counsel supported by witnesses.

12

The residents raised a wide range of issues, including whether the estate could be retained during the Olympic and Legacy developments, complaints about the procedures for relocating residents, and concerns raised by those, including the claimant, who wished to be relocated as part of a group. It was part of the residents' case that the CPO should not be confirmed due to the LDA's failure to provide an effective relocation strategy or, alternatively, that the inclusion of the estate should only be contemplated with appropriate safeguards to achieve a meaningful relocation for the residents.

13

The Inspector's report relating to all the objections to the CPO ran to some 400 pages. In the part of the report dealing with the Clays Lane Estate, he rejected the residents' objections for reasons which it will be necessary to refer to, and he recommended that the CPO relating to the Clays Lane Estate land should be confirmed, stating that "the justification for the Games in this particular location and the need to take the estate is irreproachable."

14

The Secretary of State accepted the Inspector's conclusions and recommendation relating to the Clays Lane Estate, adopting the reasons given by the Inspector. The reasoning of the Inspector therefore became the reasoning of the Secretary of State.

15

However, in order to appreciate the importance of the project as a whole, its benefits and the urgency of its timing, it is necessary to refer to paragraphs 12 and 13 of the Secretary of State's decision letter, which state as follows:

"12. The Secretary of State is of the opinion that this is one of the most important and significant development projects planned for the United Kingdom for some considerable time. He has taken into account the clear and overwhelming importance of the Order, not only nationally but regionally and locally and the benefits it will bring for all. He notes particularly its main purpose in acquiring land in this part of London, not only for the purposes of the London Olympics in 2012, although that of course is important, but, more crucially, in the use of the location of the Games in London as a mechanism whereby the much needed regeneration of this area of the East End of London can be carried out. So he particularly gives great weight to the Inspector's conclusions that the need to regenerate the Lower Lea Valley is striking and without question and the Olympic Games offers the exceptional means to secure that objective in a wide-ranging, comprehensive and timely manner. (IR 6.4.7).

13. The Secretary of State is also conscious of the critical timetable that is required to be met in order to bring about this regeneration and to hold the Olympics on time in July 2012 and notes that the scale and extent of the works necessitate control of the major part of the Order lands by mid- 2007 (IR 6.1.16). He accepts the Inspector's overall conclusion that the event will require an extraordinary effort to transform what has gone before by implementing works on an enormous scale within an incredibly short period of time but agrees with him that, while the challenge is immense, the benefits of hosting the Games and providing the catalyst to a lasting Legacy are likely to be immeasurable (IR 6.5.2). The Secretary of State has therefore reached the view that the decision on the Order is crucial to this timetable...

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