Thursday, 19 December 2013

Peel Holdings v Hyndburn Council

Peel Holdings v Hyndburn Council

Peel Holdings have pursued their interests relentlessly in the courts to change Whitebirk Retail Park from selling white goods to one where famous high street names selling high street goods are permitted to locate.

Hyndburn Council has defended the interests of Accrington town centre in the courts defending current Council planning policies in the courts.

The development of the Trafford Centre according to Council sources saw an 11% fall off in trade in Accrington Town Centre which is the largest employer in the Borough.

Peel Holdings appear determined to use their considerable size and resource to win their case against Hyndburn Council.

The risks of high costs from losing the case to Hyndburn Council and Hyndburn residents are considerable. The exposure through expensive legal costs and any retrospective loss of earnings claim may have potentially resulted in the Council effectively being made bankrupt and ratepayers facing £100's worth of increases in Council Tax to pay the costs of the case.

It does beg the question why Peel would pursue a strategy that may present such high costs to local people and at the same time and somewhat contradictorily in my view claim that their development is good for the residents of Hyndburn? Why do Peel feel that the decision on out of town retail stores should be decided in the courts and not democratically by local people? That increasingly the sheer scale and size of such private speculators and huge cuts to Councils is undermining Councils confidence to stand up for local people in court.

Blackburn Council and the Mall have also expressed concern of impact of such a large out of town retail park would have on local town centres and have supported Hyndburn Councils case.

Hyndburn's Labour councillors have shown that they are prepared to make a firm stand against the vested interests of a large company with substantial legal resources.

I am sure many other councils are looking at Hyndburn Councils brave and considered stand with some envy. I've always said vote Labour in Hyndburn and you will get strong and responsible leadership. Today was another example of that.

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