CapCo triumphs as Earls Court legal challenge snubbed
A judge has thrown out a legal challenge that threatened Capital & Counties’ multi-billion pound Earls Court regeneration scheme, describing it as “absurd”, and allowing for the £105m sale of two council housing estates to the developer.
West Kensington Estate resident Harold Greatwood applied to court to launch a judicial review of Hammersmith & Fulham Council’s decision to enter into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement with EC Properties to include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates in the wider regeneration of Earls Court. He challenged the decision on four grounds.
This week the Honourable Mr Justice John Mitting sitting in the Administrative Court refused permission for the application for a Judicial Review, ruling against Mr Greatwood on all four grounds.
Finding that the challenge to the council’s consultation was “not reasonably arguable”, Mr Justice Mitting said: “The analysis of the consultation responses put to cabinet on 23 April 2012 and 3 September 2012 was balanced and fair. The suggestion that the results of the consultation were hidden is unwarranted”.
He went on to say that “the time for the consultation - 9 weeks- was adequate” and that “the suggestion that because the defendant did not address the consultation documents to tenants by name or to the ‘tenant’, the process was flawed is absurd.”
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, leader of Hammersmith & Fulham Council, said: “The redevelopment of Earls Court is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for the local residents to benefit from a multi-billion pound investment in their own neighbourhood”.
CapCo and Hammersmith & Fulham have now entered into a Conditional Land Sale Agreement that enables the inclusion of LBHF’s land holdings in the redevelopment.
LBHF’s holdings in the ECOA include the West Kensington and Gibbs Green estates. The CLSA provides Capco the option to acquire approximately 22 acres of land in the ECOA for a total cash consideration of £105 million plus the re-provision of the 760 homes currently on the Estates.
Gary Yardley, investment director of Capco, said: “The Earls Court project now has great momentum. Following the resolutions to grant planning consent from RBKC and LBHF last year, we are pleased to have entered into the CLSA with LBHF marking another important step in the ongoing process to create Sir Terry Farrell’s vision for the Opportunity Area. We look forward to working with the local community and delivering the Earls Court Masterplan which will create 7,500 new homes and 12,000 new jobs in the area.”