A SOLICITOR has lost a challenge for compensation for proposed barriers to stop cars parking outside his office.
The Supreme Court's five judges unanimously ruled on Thursday that Harrow Council did not have to pay Patrick Cusack any money if it installs the structure to block access from the road to the forecourt of his Patrick J Cusack & Co office, a converted semi-detached house in Station Road, Harrow.
Harrow Council leader Councillor Thaya Idaikkadar (Independent Labour) said: “Harrow Council has a duty to protect taxpayers’ money, not shell out money in unwarranted compensation.
“These barriers are being installed to stop people from driving across the pavement and endangering the lives of others.
"People are not entitled to compensation just because they are inconvenienced by vital safety measures.”
The court judgment said the garden at the front of Mr Cusack's property was, on an unknown date, turned into a forecourt for use as a car park for members of staff and clients. Cars are required to mount the pavement to gain access and have to reverse into the street to exit.
In 2009, the council informed Mr Cusack the movement of vehicles across the footpath was a danger to pedestrians and other motorists, and was told the council intended to install knee-high hooped black barriers in front of his property and several neighbouring properties in order to prevent cars driving over the footpath.
Mr Cusack applied unsuccessfully for an injunction at a county court and subsequently lost his appeal against this decision at the High Court.
He appealed the High Court decision to the Court of Appeal and won - although the Court of Appeal said while the council could legally introduce a barrier, it could only do so under legislation which meant it would have to compensate the landowner.
Harrow Council appealed this decision to the Supreme Court and won.
Lord Carnwath wrote in the judgment: “The legislation provided two different ways of achieving the council’s objective, one under the planning Acts and the other under the Highways Act, only the latter involving compensation. The authority was entitled to rely on the former.
“Where the council has two alternative statutory methods of achieving the same objective, it is entitled to adopt the one which imposes the least burden on the public purse.”