Legal challenge over CPO at £850m St James retail site

Edinburgh St James internal view2Doubt has arisen over the £850 million redevelopment of the St James Centre in Edinburgh following a legal challenge over ownership of the site.

Work is due to start on the project next month to create a new St James Quarter with shops, hotels, leisure complex and apartments.

However a dispute over the legal process that granted developers TH Real Estate the right to purchase the site has now been taken to the Court of Session.

According to the Edinburgh Evening News, an appeal has been lodged against the decision of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) inquiry by Grosse Investments, a Jersey-registered company that collects ground rent from a portion of the site occupied by a John Lewis store.

Lawyers acting for Grosse Investments said the company was not seeking to block progress on the development, but it wanted to protect its lease, which is understood to be worth about £600,000 a year.

Edinburgh St James aerial viewMartin Perry, director of development at TH Real Estate, said: “These arguments were dealt with very thoroughly during the inquiry, and we are absolutely confident that Grosse’s challenge has no validity in law.

“The proposals have the support of City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government and the CPO inquiry, and this support has been given because the investment is in the wider public interest.

“We remain totally confident of delivering what is one of the UK’s largest city centre retail regeneration schemes.”

The City of Edinburgh Council has also said it remains fully supportive of the project.

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