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High Court rejects challenges to Olympic Compulsory Purchase Order

DATE: 04 May 2007

In a judgment given today in the case of Smith & Others v Secretary of
State for Trade & Industry
[2007] EWHC 1013 (Admin) Wyn Williams J
rejected a challenge to the London Development Agency (Lower Lea Valley, Olympic
and Legacy) Compulsory Purchase Order 2005 ("the Order") made under s. 20(1) of
the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. The Order was confirmed by the
Secretary of State for Trade and Industry following an inquiry in 2006. The case
involved an application under s. 23 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 brought
by Gypsies and Travellers who occupy two local authority owned and run caravan
sites within the Order lands. One of the sites is within or adjacent to the area
which will become the Athletes Village. The other site lies in close proximity
to one of the stadia to be constructed. The Inspector found that there was no
question of the Olympic development proceeding without the two sites. The
claimants unsuccessfully argued that the Secretary of State acted unlawfully in
confirming the Order since the decision to confirm constituted a
disproportionate and unlawful interference with the Claimants' rights under
Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights in circumstances where, at
the time of confirmation, alternative sites for the Gypsies and Travellers had
not been secured.

In a separate judgment also given today in R (Neptune Wharf & Another) v Secretary of State for Trade & Industry [2007] EWHC 1036 (Admin) Wyn Williams J. dismissed a judicial review of a direction issued by the Secretary of State under s. 13C of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 to postpone consideration of confirmation of the Order in relation to certain parts of the Order Lands. The Claimants unsuccessfully argued that that the phrase "until such time as may be specified by or under the direction" in section 13C(5) demanded that a specific date be set for the making of the decision postponed.

Richard Drabble QC and James Maurici were counsel for the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.