QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
THE ADMINISTRATIVE COURT
London WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
|THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF JAMES POWELL AND OTHERS||Claimant|
|(1) SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT|
|(2) SEFTON METROPOLITAN BOROUGH COUNCIL||Defendants|
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Mr James Maurici (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) appeared on behalf of the 1st Defendant
Ms Frances Patterson QC (instructed by Messrs Eversheds) appeared on behalf of the 2nd Defendant
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"304. Similarly the Council's alleged failure to maintain the quality of the public realm, contested by the authority, was suggested as playing a part in the state of the area. The experience of some residents is that refuse and other services are inadequate, and a range of failings were similarly alleged in relation to policing and security. This evidence, presented to the Inquiry by a number of objectors, was largely anecdotal but nonetheless convincing. However, this comes nowhere near to demonstrating that, contrary to the Council's evidence, housing market failure is not the underlying cause of the acknowledged problems of the Order Lands.
305. The concept of housing market failure is widely accepted. In relation to the Order Lands, the evidence persuasively demonstrates that housing market failure has occurred. Even taken together, the matters raised by objectors could have had the effect of aggravating an already depressed situation."
I quite understand that the objectors do not accept that assessment but it is impossible to contend that the merits of their contentions were not considered by the Inspector and rejected by him on the merits.
"The Secretary of State has also carefully considered whether the purposes for which the compulsory purchase order was made sufficiently justifies interfering with the human rights of the landowners and objectors and she is satisfied that such interference is justified since, for the reasons given below, she is satisfied that there is a compelling need in the public interest for the land, the subject of the compulsory purchase order, to be compulsorily acquired. In particular she has considered the provisions of Article 8 of, and Article 1 of the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. The Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector's conclusion that given the general decline in the housing market and in housing conditions, and the poor general environment in the Order lands, there is a compelling need to rectify those conditions which justifies the interference. She agrees that the compulsory purchase of the Order lands is a necessary course of action to deal with that situation since previous interventions in the area have not been successful. She is satisfied that the Order strikes an appropriate balance between the public interest of achieving worthwhile long-term regeneration and the private interests of the owners."