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Crescent Point's Protracted Legal Battle

Posted by Richard Ward in

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

A £16million block of student accommodation in Plymouth remains empty due to a protracted legal fight between Mears and the developers Pickstock.

Dubbed Crescent Point, the block of purpose-built student accommodation has been left empty for a year because 56 of the rooms were built too small.

The property was due to be managed by Mears Group, however, market chatter suggests the blocks could now be turned into regular flats or even a hotel.

The prolonged legal fight meant the case was heard in the second-highest appeal court this year, with Mears arguing it was to manage the building once it was constructed as planned.

Mears argued the discrepancy resulted in a material and substantial breach and therefore they could get out of the agreement for lease (AFL). However, the Court of Appeal subsequently sided with the quantity surveyors and stated that the breach of contract was not in itself material.

According to Lord Justice Coulson, the most senior construction judge in England and Wales, it would be commercially unworkable if every departure from contract drawings had to be regarded as a breach of contract.

The fate of the 348-bed block remains unclear, however, with Plymouth already facing difficult supply-demand dynamics further challenges could await if the building does come to market.