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Right-of-Light Case Rules Against Highcross

[ Posted September 13th, 2010 ]

In a recent battle against commercial property developer Highcross, neighbouring property owner Marcus Heaney won a long-standing fight against the recently developed Toronto Square buildings in Leeds. The building, having been purchased by Highcross a few years ago, had an additional sixth and seventh story added on to it and made available into office space. The 7,050 square foot addition was then rented out Zolfo Cooper on a 10-year lease for an impressive £27 per square foot.

Following the completion of the additional floors, however, next door neighbour Marcus Heaney filed for an injunction against Highcross for the development, saying that the addition was depriving his own property of its right to light. Initially thrown out on the basis that Heaney did nothing to complain about the development during its construction courts have recently granted him an injunction against Highcross, requiring them to pull down part of their new additions in order to grant more light to Mr. Heaney.

This move is seen as an interesting decision by many, requiring no actual financial stipulations to be paid out though action to be taken that may affect the overall business operations of both the developer and the renter in the process. At a time where commercial property and particularly the commercial mortgage sector have been under significant social stress this may prove a sound decision as it will not restrict any liquid capital available to the businesses, though at the same time many are concerned over the impact this may have upon foreign capital flows.

Currently the commercial property market throughout the UK has been caught in a steady decline, and without external interest in many areas a number of experts feel that a major dip is inevitable. This injunction, while posing no major direct financial risk, damages the business operations of not one but two separate organizations and may impact the overall sense of reliability foreign investors may have in coming to the UK with their operations.

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