Legal ruling will save taxpayers money, says council

The Luneside East site after demolition work.
The Luneside East site after demolition work.

Taxpayers will save £40,000 plus thousands of pounds in legal costs following an appeal court ruling in a row over land at a quayside development site.

Lancaster City Council used its compulsory purchase powers to acquire the old St George’s Works building on St George’s Quay for the housing-led Luneside East development.

It paid the building owner Thomas Newall Limited (TNL) £2m in compensation, plus other costs of £34,101.

However, the company, claimed it deserved £6.35m to reflect the value of the property, plus the disruption it had suffered.

A lands tribunal disagreed, ordering the council to pay the company £2,045,043.

But because the amount was slightly higher than it had originally forked out, the council was faced with having to pay TNL’s legal costs as well as its own.

It therefore appealed the decision and three Court of Appeal judges have now agreed that the bill should be reduced by more than £40,000 and that TNL should pay the legal costs incurred in bringing the appeal.

The council is also hoping that the company will be forced to pay its earlier legal costs.

In a statement released today, it said: “The consequences of this decision are that the council will be able to request the lands tribunal to re-make the costs award made against it, and in effect, reverse it, making TNL Ltd liable for the council’s costs.

“In addition, the Court of Appeal has ordered TNL Ltd to pay the council’s legal costs in bringing the appeal.

“Although a lengthy and costly process, the result has been worthwhile. The re-development of Luneside East is now taking place and the public purse has been protected from having to pay out monies far in excess of the amounts properly agreed for the land acquisition.”