After attending meetings both in Lillie Road and the House of Commons about the Earls Court Development, l was shocked to hear about the way in which Capco agents are allegedly dealing with small businesses within the sight lines of the proposed developments. I’ve been told that Capco (Capital & Counties Properties PLC) have made verbal threats of issuing Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to local businesses. Capco are a private business which has established a joint venture with TFL to facilitate the development the Earls court “master plan”.
My understanding has always been that the power to issue a CPO is a legal function which only public bodies can exercise and therefore to hear about a private body using such an invasive and draconian power which should be the reserve of elected officials is concerning to say the least. This is why I’ve asked the Mayor whether the agreement which TFL has with Capco delegates such powers to them? The next Mayor’s Question Time is on the 11th of June and I should hear back with a reply shorty after.
If such powers have not been delegated, then TfL need to bring their partners into line as well as apologise to the many businesses affected. If Capco are doing this with TFL’s blessing, then Capco need to be clear about what their powers are and how they intend to proceed.
We always knew TfL got it wrong with this joint venture agreeing to make themselves the junior partner with a private property developer in a project which will demolish one of the most iconic buildings in London, no doubt to be replaced with yet more unaffordable housing . This example of Capco’s alleged treatment of local businesses is just another symptom of this unfortunate collaboration.