Case Study: Compulsory Purchase Order rejected in its entirety
Jewson are the UK’s leading chain of building merchants, with over 600 branches across the UK they supply building equipment, timber and building products and materials. We successfully assisted Jewson builders’ merchants brand in rejecting, in its entirety, a compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) placed on one of its outlets in Grantham.
Jewson’s appointed Richard Farr from our Compulsory Purchase team, to act as both expert witness and advocate, to challenge Lincolnshire County Council’s proposed regeneration of over five acres of land in Grantham town centre.
The planned scheme, referred to as Station Approach, included a two-acre area of land at which Jewson and other industrial buildings were located. The council viewed the area as having the potential for mixed-use redevelopment to include offices, a hotel, public parking and bus/rail interchange facility with the possibility to include retail, leisure and housing.
Richard Farr opposed the scheme on behalf of Jewson’s, because the CPO was unjustifiable and there was very little commercial reasoning or planned end users for the scheme.
Richard stated “There was very little or no consultation with my client and the jobs of over 20 people were at risk if the store closed. What we were being confronted with was a flawed and ill-conceived scheme, lacking commercial reality and my client was determined to prove this point.
A request for a CPO is nearly always either confirmed as drafted or with alterations. In this case the scheme was totally rejected.
In rejecting the scheme, the Inspector, John Felgate, said, “The redevelopment of the Station Approach site could potentially improve the environment of this key area, and act as a catalyst for the office employment that the town needs. However, to justify compulsorily depriving the existing owners of their land, the scheme needed to be demonstrated to be capable of being delivered.”
Richard commented, ““While my client is delighted that the scheme has been rejected, there is concern that an estimated £250,000 will have been spent by the Council - at a time when the public purse is pulled tight, it is more important now, than ever before, that proposed schemes are both realistic and well thought through.”