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Market traders fight redevelopment plan

A group of market traders successfully appealed a High Court decision to uphold a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for their historic market site.

The traders, from Shepherd’s Bush Market, argued that the redevelopment scheme – granted by former Secretary of State Eric Pickles – offered them insufficient financial safeguards.  Following a public inquiry in 2013, senior inspector, Ava Wood, recommended that the development should not go ahead and recommended to the Secretary of State that the CPO should not be made.  Ms Wood added that the plans would threaten ethnic diversity and the independence of small retailers in the area. Despite this, Mr Pickles chose to make the CPO without giving a reason, leading to the recent legal action.

The Court of Appeal overturned an earlier decision of the High Court, which would have seen the area around the 100-year-old market redeveloped, with plans including a block of luxury flats adjacent to the market site. This would have involved significant disruption to the popular market, as well as some unwelcome alterations.

The lack of reason given by Mr Pickles when he confirmed the CPO was a key element for the ruling. Lord Justice Lewison commented, “although it is clear that the Secretary of State disagreed with the inspector’s view that the guarantees and safeguards were inadequate he does not explain why he came to that conclusion. I do not consider that requiring a fuller explanation of his reasoning either amounts to requiring reasons for reasons, or that it requires a paragraph by paragraph rebuttal of the inspector’s views. But it does require the Secretary of State to explain why he disagreed with the inspector, beyond merely stating his conclusion that he did.”

The case may well offer hope to other small businesses threatened by planning decisions, who might otherwise resign themselves to losing out on the grounds that they might not succeed in challenging decisions of central and local government.

Commenting on the case, public law solicitor, Angela Sandhal, said: “This is a classic case demonstrating the importance of giving and obtaining reasons for public law decisions, which is especially important here where the Secretary of State has chosen not to accept the recommendation of his planning inspector who had heard all the evidence over the course of a lengthy public inquiry.”
We are experienced public law specialists with considerable experience in planning appeals and compulsory purchase orders.  If you need advice in relation to a planning decision or appeals then please get in touch for more information about the services we can offer and we will be happy to discuss your options. Call 01302 320621 or email info@athertongodfrey.co.uk

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