Birmingham City Council has denied it approved the compulsory purchase of a property to pave the way for a development it is accused of having a ‘vested interest’ in.
Jeeven Patara is a homeowner desperate to save his house which faces demolition as part of the plans is locked in a ‘David and Goliath’ battle.
A public inquiry hearing was told the city council loaned Warwickshire County Cricket Club £20 million to build the new stand at its Edgbaston ground in an effort to ensure the stadium continued to host lucrative Test matches.
However, last month the cricket club found it had been passed over for an Ashes Test in 2013, and won’t host a Test match at all in 2014.
The ambitious stadium upgrade, which has now been completed, also included plans for a hotel, office space, residential units, a public plaza, restaurants, bars and a multi-storey car park.
The club hopes to use revenue from this ‘enabling scheme’ which has not yet started, to repay the loan.
In March last year, the council approved a Compulsory Purchase Order allowing it to effectively force out residents living on the land earmarked for the project in Pershore Road, Edgbaston.
But one resident, Mr Patara, did not want to sell and is contesting a public inquiry in a bid to remain in his home.
At the hearing, held at Edgbaston cricket ground, Paul Wilmshurst, acting for Mr Patara, accused the council of ratifying the order to ensure the loan money was repaid.
He told council officials: “You have a huge vested interest in this order being granted.”
In reply, Peter Wright, the council’s head of planning for south Birmingham, said: “It is incorrect to suggest the council has a vested interest or conflict of interest in providing a loan to WCCC and also making the Order.
“The purpose of this order is not financial.
“The council loaned the money so it will not benefit from the order financially, it will just get its money back.
“These works will contribute to the promotion and improvement of the economic, social and environmental well-being of the acquiring authority’s area.”
Mr Patara objects to the order on the grounds the council has a vested interest, that it is being served to ‘facilitate financial expediency’ for WCCC and is not in the public interest.