Legal wrangle over Norwich livestock market could hamper Graham Dacre’s ambitions to redevelop site
PUBLISHED: 18:15 27 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:25 28 March 2018
A High Court wrangle over Norwich’s historic livestock market could hamper businessman Graham Dacre’s ambitions to redevelop the site.
In 2016, Norwich City Council agreed to surrender its lease of the Hall Road site to landowner and Christian philanthropist Mr Dacre.
But Norwich Livestock Market Ltd claimed the move breached an Act of Parliament, which requires city council to provide land for a livestock market.
It took the council to court and sought an order to quash the £800,000 deal.
At a High Court hearing today, deputy judge Michael Kent disagreed with claims that the deal breached the 1984 Norwich City Council Act.
But he ruled that negotiations around the deal did not comply with provisions in the act.
“It is certainly not what, in my view, the 1984 Act, requires,” he said.
In regard to provisions for the lease’s surrender, he said they were “negotiated in good faith, with the intention of safeguarding the future of the cattle market.”
Deputy judge Kent has now ordered that the council and market company will have to try and reach an agreement regarding the market.
He said if an agreement cannot be reached between the two, then the matter will have to return to court for a judge to decide the next move.
“The form of relief, if any, which should follow from acceptance that the claimant’s (the market company) case as to the correct interpretation of the 1984 Act will need to be the subject of further submissions if there cannot be agreement,” he said.
While Mr Dacre purchased the 19-acre Hall Road site from the council in 2010, he leased it back to them for use as a market.
The council’s cabinet then agreed to terminate the lease with Mr Dacre on July 13, 2016.
Mr Dacre said he acquired the site with the intention of redeveloping the land, but would still provide a site for the cattle market.
“Clearly we need to be aware of the court judgement and to understand the implications of that,” he said.
Norwich Livestock Market Ltd had argued the council’s surrender of its lease amounted to a “discontinuance” of a cattle market at Harford.
The city council and livestock market were unavailable for comment.
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