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Easteye Limited, part of the Ladhar Group, were represented by Square One Law in securing a legal victory against companies in the Malhotra Group, following a two year court action in which Malhotra Group had attempted to establish a public footpath through Easteye’s proposed development site at Cloth Market in Newcastle. Easteye, which owns White Hart Yard between Grey’s Court and Cloth Market, has plans approved to develop the site into a complex of bars and restaurants.

This was the first time a party had asserted public rights in what started as a private dispute between adjacent commercial landowners over an historic alleyway called Ship’s Entry owned by Easteye, which adjoins Malhotra Group’s properties on Cloth Market and Grey Street. The City Council was brought in to the action as guardians of public rights of way to be bound by the court’s findings, as disputes concerning public rights of way are usually made the subject of a local inquiry by a planning inspector.

In a trial last year, HHJ Kramer, the Specialist Civil Judge of Newcastle’s prestigious Business and Property Courts, heard from over 40 witnesses and 6 experts who opined amongst other things on historic evidence as to the use of Easteye’s property.

Ladhar Group was built by brothers Dave and John Ladhar and operates approximately 50 pubs and clubs across the country and also owns 14 care homes under the award winning Crown Care brand.

Dave Ladhar sadly passed away last year, several weeks before trial and therefore did not live to see the court victory. Dave had spotted the potential for the site when in 1999 he visited Grey’s Club on White Hart Yard, and he bought it and the surrounding buildings soon after. He succeeded where others had failed in securing planning permission for the site, which includes some of Newcastle’s oldest surviving buildings, and his son Michael and nephew Barry are determined to see the development succeed, now the legal challenge has been overcome. We wish them every success in these challenging times.

Easteye were represented by barristers George Laurence QC and Charles Morgan, instructed by Gillian Tatt, Head of Litigation, Square One Law.

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