Southwark to press ahead with Aylesbury estate plans after government backs out of legal challenge

Southwark Council will proceed with the compulsory purchase (CPO) of parts of the Aylesbury estate after communities secretary Sajid Javid withdrew from a legal dispute with the borough over his earlier refusal to authorise it.

Javid said last September, in line with the recommendations of a public inquiry inspector, that the CPO would breach the human rights of leaseholders still living on the estate because it was likely to force them to move away from the area or place them in financial difficulties due to the level of compensation they would receive.

The government has now informed Southwark that it will not after all contest the council’s challenge to Javid’s decision, allowing the CPO proceed to move forward.

Southwark leader Peter John told Planning Resource magazine:”We are really pleased that the secretary of state has quashed his previous decision, and will now allow us to hold a new CPO inquiry. We remain committed to regenerating the Aylesbury Estate for the benefit of local residents.”

Javid’s U-turn is a blow to local campaigners, who had welcomed his earlier stance and last month reported that leaseholders were heartened to see that he appeared to be sticking to a pledge to defend his position robustly.

Legally commentary on Javid’s original decision noted that it gave “more weight to human rights and community issues than we have seen in previous decisions on CPOs” but said it fell short of establishing any absolute rights of any residents to be rehoused in an area affected by a CPO.

This dispute over the Aylesbury, which is undergoing a massive, long-term and sometimes troubled regeneration, has illuminated key issues about the theory and practice of such schemes.

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