A wily investor who acquired a site a few years ago for just £30,000 is set for a windfall payment of £1.6 million. The site forms part of Fred Wells Gardens in Battersea and was bought by a company called Greenweb in 2001.
Following an unsuccesful attempt to acquire planning permission for the site it requested the land be assessed under the 1961 Land Compenstation Act.
This act means the land must be valued as if planning permission had been granted for the rebuilding of houses damaged during the war, when nine three storey properties occupied the site. The market value of the land with its present use is just £15,000.
The Council has just lost an appeal against the decision, with three Lord Justices "reluctantly" dismissing the appeal. Lord Justice Stanley Burton bluntly described the outcome of the case as "utterly deplorable", calling for a repeal of relevant provision in the Act, as recommended by the Law Commission in its Final Report on Compensation for Compulsory Purchase.
"If the government is not prepared to act of its own motion, local authorities, who are faced with unmeritous deprivation of very scarce funds that occurred in this case, must exert political pressure to achieve the correction of the anomoly" he said.