Meat trader loses High Court compensation battle
A meat trading company that has been forced out of Stratford to make way for the Olympics has lost its High Court battle to win a larger compensation payout.
In 2005 Harringay Meat Traders’ meat processing, packing and distribution facility, located at Unit L of the East Cross centre, Waterden Road, Stratford – which had a nightclub above, was subject to a compulsory purchased in order to develop the area for the Games.
The copany argued that the compensation it eventually receives should be calculated on the basis that, were it not for the Games, the site would have been redeveloped with a 15-storey building, boasting lucrative retail and restaurant uses and financial and professional services.
However, first the London Borough of Hackney, then a Government planning inspector took the view that the site would only have been suitable for business, industrial or storage uses, which would lead to a much lower compensation figure.
The company had asked High Court Judge Mr Justice McCombe to quash a “Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Use” that said the land was only suitable for the less lucrative uses. They asked him to order the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to have its case reconsidered.
However, the Judge rejected all but one of its grounds of challenge, and declined to quash the Certificate.
He said that convenience store or supermarket use could have been acceptable on the ground floor of the development site. However, he ruled that a quashing order was unnecessary on the basis of an undertaking from the Greater London Authority that, when compensation is ultimately assessed, it will accept that planning permission could have been granted for retail, food or crèche use of the ground floor of any development.
Thomas Hill QC, representing Harringay, had told the judge last month: “It is important to have in mind, at all times, that this matter concerns a claimant who established a business in Hackney many years ago and, through no fault of its own, found its business premises wrested from it by compulsory acquisition.
“The surrounding area was subject to major regenerative change at the relevant date. The claimant had – and has – every right to expect that the compensation that it ultimately receives for its interests reflects the fair market value, which it would otherwise have expected to receive having regard to the process of change which was already well under way, quite independently of the Olympic CPO.”
The inspector found that the site was not suitable for a 15-storey building, and that there was no reason why permission should be granted for any more than six storeys.
Backing this decision, Mr Justice McCombe said: “In my judgment this is a classic example of the inspector reaching a view, on the basis of his experience and expertise, in the light of the expert evidence and the arguments.
“He was simply expressing a view on the planning merits of Harringay’s submission that permission would have been granted for a building of a height greater than six storeys. On the evidence, he disagreed with that submission.”