High Court clarifies the requirements for a compelling case in the public interest to justify a CPO


The High Court recently held that there was no error of law in the decision of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (SoS) to confirm the compulsory purchase order for the regeneration of Shepherd’s Bush Market (CPO).

The Court held that the SoS had fully understood the contents of the Council’s planning conditions and the Section 106 agreement. As a result, the SoS was satisfied that there were sufficient safeguards in place to protect the existing traders and so no error of law took place.

Horada v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2015] EWHC 2512 (Admin)

Summary of the facts

Hammersmith and Fulham Council (“the Council”) adopted a policy to create a vibrant mixed use town centre development. The Council made the necessary CPO to secure vacant possession. Shepherd’s Bush Market Trader’s Association (“the Claimants”) objected to the Order resulting in a Public Inquiry.

The Planning Inspector recommended to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) that there was no compelling case in the public interest to justify making the CPO. The mechanisms within the planning permission and section 106 agreement for the redevelopment did not offer sufficient certainty to ensure the retention of the majority of the existing market traders.

The SoS disagreed and confirmed the CPO. He was satisfied that sufficient safeguards were in place to protect existing traders in the form of the planning conditions and Section 106 Agreement.

The Claimant’s challenged the decision. They argued that the SoS had failed to properly understand the retention covenants in the Section 106 Agreement and its consequences in terms of the effectiveness of the mechanisms available to secure the future of the Market and its traders. The High Court disagreed and held that there was no error of law in the SoS's decision to confirm the CPO.

Conclusion

The case demonstrates that although it is necessary for an acquiring authority to show a compelling case in the public interest in order to justify the making of a CPO, it does not have to prove every detail of the proposed scheme, nor does it need to show that protection for those affected is absolute.

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