Ryhurst loses claim scheme scrapped over Grenfell

Aaron Morby 4 years ago

Rydon’s development arm Ryhust has lost a High Court battle for damages after claiming a £300m North London development scheme was scrapped because of its connection to the Grenfell disaster.

North London's Whittington Health NHS Trust abandoned public private partnership development scheme
North London's Whittington Health NHS Trust abandoned public private partnership development scheme

North London’s Whittington Health NHS Trust abandoned a procurement exercise for a 10-year strategic estates partnership contract, after previously deciding to award the contract to Ryhurst.

The firm was named preferred bidder for the strategic estate partnership just two weeks before Grenfell.

Ryhurst claimed that the central reason for later abandoning the procurement in June 2018 came from political pressure upon the Trust from local MPs, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow frontbencher Emily Thornberry, as well as the Trust’s regulator, NHS Improvement.

The firm argued this was primarily because it was part of the Rydon group, responsible for the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower.

Ryhurst contended that its connection had no relevance whatsoever to this procurement exercise.

The Trust said that its decision to abandon the procurement was lawful and was taken for a number of proper reasons.

It accepted that one of these reasons was the risk that some stakeholders would not engage in or support plans developed with Ryhurst.

It also accepted that one of the reasons which motivated those stakeholders was the connection, real or perceived, between Ryhurst and with Grenfell but it denied that this was the sole or indeed the primary reason for its decision.

The trust also argued that its plan to fund improvements to the hospital’s buildings through housing developments on the land had changed after a decision to sell Whittington land to Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, which it wanted to build a new mental health hospital, was agreed.

The sale for £22m reduced the urgency to sell off its surrounding estate to developers.

Judge Stephen Davies, said: “Having considered the evidence and the arguments my decision is that Ryhurst has not succeeded in making out its case on liability so that its claim must fail.

“Had I found for Ryhurst on its primary case in relation to liability it would have succeeded in establishing causation and sufficiently serious breach.”

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