Editor's pick: Compulsory acquisition of failed retail area supported

The secretary of state has agreed with one of his inspectors and confirmed the compulsory acquisition of various plots on Tyneside in order to enable the delivery of a major redevelopment.

In support of its case the council stated that outline planning permission had been granted for 400 dwellings and 5,700m2 of commercial floorspace. To ensure complete implementation it was necessary to reduce the number of retail and commercial units within a district centre. The latter had been subject to decline over a number of years and it was judged appropriate by the council to consolidate its core thereby ensuring its longer term future. The acquisition was opposed by a single individual, however, who owned a large number of the commercial properties and who asserted the decline in the area was largely due to the uncertainty caused by the council’s actions.

From the inspector's observations drastic action was required to redevelop the area which had a current vacancy rate of over 80 per cent. Many of the buildings suffered from serious defects and a lack of maintenance and the district shopping centre was too large for its catchment area. Contraction and consolidation into a more compact retail centre was an entirely logical solution, the inspector decided, and it would provide much-needed housing. The secretary of state agreed with this conclusion and confirmed the acquisition of the land.

Inspector: John Gray; Written representations

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