Bury woman scared to leave home in latest stage of legal battle to defend it in the High Court

Compulsory Purchase Order

27.02.2007

Bury-based Valerie Bennett, who is taking her defence of her home to the High Court in London this Wednesday (28th February), stated today that she is too scared to leave the property to go to the hearing.

Valerie, who is using national law firm Irwin Mitchell to take her arguments to the High Court , is fighting for her right to remain in her home and to challenge the process which the council have used to make a clearance order and impose a compulsory purchase order on such a large number of homes in the area.

Today she told IM partner Andrew Lockley, who is representing her, that she was concerned about actually leaving her home behind to try to get justice. I am worried that my house will be damaged while I am away.

It is a last stand for 51-year-old Valerie from Pimhole in Bury against her local council who are aiming to flatten her property to make way for new developments which locals claim have yet to be settled.

Bury Borough Council imposed a compulsory purchase order (CPO) on her home and 133 other houses in a clearance of properties which it claims is necessary for redevelopment to take place. Fewer than half of the properties were unfit, but Burys decision was confirmed by Communities and Local Government Secretary (and Bolton MP) Ruth Kelly after an Inspector appointed on her behalf held an Inquiry.

If the High Court appeal is successful, then the CPO imposed by Bury Borough Council could be quashed and the council could be ordered to give the land back to residents already evicted by the CPO. That would be a move which would shift the balance of power away from the councils and towards the people about whose homes these decisions are made.