QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
B e f o r e :
|IAN STEWART OFFORD||(CLAIMANTS)|
|(1) THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE|
|(2) THE FIRST SECRETARY OF STATE||(DEFENDANTS)|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street London EC4A 2AG
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(Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR STEPHEN SAUVAIN QC (instructed by Legal Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne NE99 2BN) appeared on behalf of the DEFENDANT
MR DANIEL KOLINSKY (instructed by The Treasury Solicitor, Queen Anne's Chambers, 28 Broadway, London SW1H 9JS) appeared on behalf of the 2nd Defendant
Crown Copyright ©
"Development was not comprehensive. The Newcastle City Council are open about this fact. The Inspector has come to the decision in the wrong way.
Existing businesses are in accordance with the Unitary Development Plan. The businesses could easily be redeveloped at a small cost. The rear elevations could be made compatible and disguised. They would be in keeping with landmark developments.
The absence of detailed planning consent would mean there was a strong likelihood of the development not proceeding in a planned and comprehensive manner; indeed any appeal would sway the development's timetable.
There is a right to peaceful enjoyment of property by reason of Article 1 of the First Protocol. The public interest (local business and residents) outweigh the need for the development. The Inspector had not used the right test in considering these issues.
The CPO should be withdrawn at phase 4. The business should remain and be renovated."
It will be seen that those grounds do not on their face identify any error of law or procedure on the part of the Secretary of State in confirming the order.
"We feel the order is not justified; there is no single scheme, but a series of individual developments by different developers.
The businesses, albeit respectively small scale, are currently existing and viable, which contribute to the existing character of the area and are consistent with the UDP mixed use allocation; they are compatible with the aims of the National Guidance in PPG13; they are compatible with the strategic objective of The Grainger Town Project.
It is noted that the properties within phase 5 have now been refurbished as opposed to being compulsorily acquired, demolished and replaced. There is no reason why this approach cannot be taken at phase 4B.
The Council's scheme is uncertain. The principle of comprehensive high quality development as expressed in the development brief has evaporated and has been replaced with a sequential but essentially individual phases. This is apparent of the development at Alfred Wilson House by London and Regional Properties.
For the various reasons above the confirmation is not in the public interest, the acquisition of our properties is disproportionate and invalid and an unreasonable interference of our rights contrary to Article 1 of the First Protocol of the European Convention of Human Rights.
We reserve the right to develop and/or amend any submissions at any High Court appeal."
"... the proposed development is in accordance with the UDP and that there is a strong likelihood of the development proceeding in a planned and comprehensive manner and that it is, with the confirmed Compulsory Purchase Order, likely to be brought about."
Moreover, the Secretary of State considered whether the purposes for which the Compulsory Purchase Order was required sufficiently justify interfering with the human rights of the owners and lessees of the land to which it related and concluded that they did. The decision letter says in terms that the Secretary of State had considered Article 1 of the First Protocol to the Convention and was satisfied that a fair balance had been struck.
"... Mr Offord had been diagnosed with severe alcohol related problems together with deep depression and stress. Mr Offord is our main representative in person and not Mr Mohammed."
The Claimants were told by the Administrative Court office that an adjournment would not be granted. They returned to the matter in a dated 5th November, explaining that Mr Mohammed was relying on Mr Offord to represent him and speak on behalf of both appellants:
"Mr Offord has some legal knowledge and therefore would have felt comfortable in the given situation.
Mr Mohammed has no legal knowledge and has tried to seek legal aid to help him in this matter (due to him not working). It appears no legal help is available, contrary to what the Council had told him."
"There are provisional development agreements in place which lead me to believe that the likelihood of the development proceeding in a planned and comprehensive manner is strong. I am satisfied the Council has shown that funding can be provided in order to bring that development. In any case, complete certainty is not required. The developments which have permission appear to me to comply with the objectives of the UDP ..."