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Regeneration boss plays down Pathfinder legal blow

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The development director behind the controversial Edge Lane regeneration project in Liverpool has downplayed the potential impact of a High Court ruling on the future of the Pathfinder programme.

Ian Hassell believes the verdict that English Partnerships (EP) had acted unlawfully in Edge Lane will not mean the end for the nationwide housing market renewal schemes as widely claimed.

In the judgment it was held that English Partnerships (EP) had unlawfully exercised its compulsory purchase orders powers in Edge Lane - a decision brought about by the determination of 60-year-old resident Elizabeth Pascoe, who has fought a tenacious battle to stop the demolition of 500 houses in the area and save her own (

Pathfinder in tatters following major High Court loss).

However the full repercussions for the Pathfinder programme are not yet clear.

The Edge Lane regeneration is only partly funded by the New Heartlands Pathfinder and Hassall, as head of the Liverpool Land Development Company, thinks the court win was merely secured on a 'narrow technical point'.

He also claims that the judge had sided with EP on two key points and 'strongly endorsed' the use of the government quango's powers to underpin area-wide regeneration.

Hassall said: 'This result will have minimal impact nationally.

'People will be running around getting concerned and anxious about the possible implications. But when you get under the skin of it they will realise the ramifications are miniscule.'

He added: 'We now await a further decision from the court as to the precise form and effect of the order to be given by the judge, which will determine the way forward for this project.'

Eliot Lewis-Ward, EP's area director, agreed: 'It is disappointing that the challenge has been upheld on the basis of incorrect wording in the decision letter, but we are hopeful this can be resolved swiftly.

'The partners will continue with this comprehensive regeneration project to transform one of the most deprived areas of Liverpool with the provision of new housing, commercial and community facilities.'

by Richard Waite

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