This article was first published on Lexis®PSL Property on 24 January 2019.
Fiona Sawyer, professional support lawyer in the planning team at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, and Frances Edwards, senior associate and specialist real estate litigator at the firm, point out that although the government’s ‘open doors’ scheme will certainly help reinstate the high street as a destination for the community, the reality is that town centre rents need to be cheaper and action taken to ameliorate the cost of business rates to enable community uses to occupy town centre premises on a longer-term basis.
Authors: Matthew White, Partner and Head of Planning, Real Estate, London and Lucy Morton, Professional Support Lawyer, Planning, Real Estate, London
On 16 September 2016, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, decided not to confirm Southwark Council's compulsory purchase order (CPO) for an area of the Aylesbury Estate. This is an unexpected decision by Sajid Javid and has been described as "bizarre" by Southwark Council. There are reports in the press that the Council intends to challenge the decision in the High Court, because they say it jeopardises the entire housing-led regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate.
Javid's decision agreed with the Inspector's recommendation following a CPO inquiry in October 2015. The CPO would have facilitated the redevelopment of the third parcel of land on the Aylesbury Estate, including demolishing the existing residential units and providing mixed tenure residential development and associated landscaping.
The decision not to confirm the CPO gives more weight to human rights and community issues than we have seen in previous decisions on CPOs. This effectively raises residents' expectations that they will be able to remain in their community, and the considerations outlined by Javid are now likely to be a significant factor in future CPOs. The decision also demonstrates some of the tensions involved for the Government when they promise to prioritise housing and regeneration.
2. Secretary of State's Decision