Southwark Council has secured permission for a judicial review of the Communities Secretary’s decision to turn down the compulsory purchase of the eight remaining properties in the first phase of a key regeneration project.
In September the Secretary of State, Sajid Javid, concluded that Southwark had not done enough to acquire the land at the Aylesbury Estate by agreement. The minister also decided that the CPO would breach the human rights of the remaining leaseholders by forcing them to use their savings to buy a new property.
In December, Mr Justice Dove refused on the papers to give the local authority permission for its challenge to Javid’s decision.
However, following an oral hearing, Mr Justice Collins has now allowed Southwark’s application.
The council said the High Court judge had also proposed that a meeting should be held between the two parties before any litigation began, considered that it would be unlawful for Southwark to offer more than was allowed under the Compensation Code, and recognised that the decision had significant knock-on effects for other schemes.
Southwark said the rejection of the CPO was holding up the delivery of 800 new homes.
Cllr Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council, said: “I wrote to Sajid Javid last year, asking him to look again at his decision, but his response was effectively that he would see us in court. This week a judge echoed our view that the decisions to date have been based in part on speculation and misunderstanding, and I would urge the Secretary of State to listen to this impartial view, and meet with us to properly consider this important issue.
“His decision threatens the future of homebuilding in London and across the country, and it deserves his full attention. We can also save the taxpayer considerable sums of money if we can resolve this without involving the courts. I have written to him to request an urgent meeting.”