Court hears homes fight

A legal battle over a compulsory purchase order (CPO) issued under the housing market pathfinder scheme in Oldham's Derker district has gone to the High Court.

A group of Derker residents has asked a judge to save their homes from demolition. The CPO threatens 90 homes and 12 businesses.

The residents claimed that an inquiry inspector and secretary of state Hazel Blears failed to take into account important considerations involving rising property prices and market demand for existing and affordable homes in the area before reaching their decision late last year.

They also argued that the inspector failed to pay proper regard to the price of refurbishing and remodelling the homes, which would cost £47,635 each, compared with the £105,583 cost of demolition and rebuilding.

In the second day of a two-day hearing, government counsel John Litton of Landmark Chambers said while he has enormous empathy for the plight of the residents set to be moved out of their homes, their rights and interests had been fully taken into account. It is in the wider public interest to approve the CPO, he insisted.

"The secretary of state has to be satisfied that there is a compelling case in the public interest," he said. "This test recognises that while there are a whole host of matters that are important to individuals, there are occasions when they are subordinate to the greater public interest."

Mr Justice Collins is expected to reserve his decision to consider the case and deliver a ruling at a later date.

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