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Compulsory purchase order on Aylesbury estate in Southwark blocked by Government

Jayesh Kunwardia, Partner & Head of Social Housing & Property Litigation commented on this latest block on a plan to force out housing estate residents.

Many people may object to losing their homes as a consequence of development, but there is generally a presumption that Parliament accepts redevelopment as being for the public benefit. Challenges to compulsory purchase orders are hugely difficult to stop and rarely successful because the power exercised by planning authorities to take land, such as under a CPO is granted by legislation.

It would appear, however, that the stated aim of the redevelopment in this case was not met and did not amount to a “sustainable development”.

As a result of this particular decision, councils will need to very carefully consider the adverse impacts of any development and whether they would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the councils development policies taken as a whole.

Adverse impacts cited by the residents – namely that residents would not be able to afford another property in the area – in this case were sufficient to dislodge the presumption in favour of sustainable development. Consideration of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act covers rights to your home was also another significant factor in this case.

Residents were strongly opposed to the scheme on the basis that ” it was disproportionate” – their view was that they would be forced to move away, impacting on their family life at home, education and community links. The Government also concluded that the development would not meet its stated policy objectives.

The case has wider implications on similar social housing estates across London and the UK considered for large scale regeneration projects.