MD1556 East India Dock – Rectification of Legal Title

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD1556
Date signed: 
18 November 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

In the late 1990’s, London Docklands Development Corporation entered into a  number of transfers of various parcels of land in relation to the redevelopment of East India Dock. It has come to light that due to an error in drafting, there is currently ambiguity around legal title and not all of the land was transferred as intended. The intention is therefore to resolve this ambiguity by GLA Land & Property Ltd formally disposing of its remaining property interests.

 

Decision

That the Mayor approves the disposal of GLA Land & Property Ltd.’s remaining interest in land at East India Dock, London E15 to Edgware Road (2015) Ltd for the sum of £1, subject to GLA Land & Property Ltd.’s legal costs being met by the purchaser.

 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    In 1998, London Docklands Development Corporation entered into transfers of various parcels of land which now comprise of a number of properties including Capstan House, Anchorgae House and Lighterman House at East India Dock, London.

1.2    At the time of transfer, the properties formed part of the wider East India Docks estate. The 1998 transfers were therefore transfers of part.

1.3    It has recently come to light that the drafting of the transfers was ambiguous in that they transferred land above ground and land below ground but the interpretation taken by Land Registry means that the land at ground level was not transferred and therefore is now part of the GLA Land & Property Ltd (GLAP) portfolio.

1.4    The properties in question are currently being sold and it was as a result of legal due diligence around the sale that the ambiguity was identified.

1.5    Subsequently, the GLA was approached by solicitors acting on the sale who have asked for the GLA’s assistance in resolving this situation.

1.6    External solicitors acting on behalf of GLAP have reviewed the position and confirmed that this would appear to be a clear case of a drafting error, as there would have been no benefit in LDDC retaining an interest in the “crust” of the ground.
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    The objective is to correct a legal drafting error, resolving ambiguity with land registration and allowing the sale of the properties to proceed.

2.2    This approach will enable the situation to be resolved at nominal cost, avoiding the need for extensive legal research into historical activity which may not result in any additional relevant information becoming available.
 

Equality comments

3.1    Advice has been taken and it is not thought that there are any equality issues in this case.

 

Other considerations

4.1    There is no reason for GLAP to retain an interest in this land and any attempt to do so would result in an expensive legal investigation into the historical situation.

4.2    Having been made aware of this situation, rectify the historical error will ensure compliance with the Mayoral commitment to have an exit strategy in place for all GLAP assets by 2016.
 

Financial comments

5.1    Due to an historical legal drafting error, GLAP has been left with a nominal legal interest with no value and as such there is no financial implication to finalising disposal arrangements for consideration of £1.

5.2    Costs of completing the disposal will be met by the purchaser.
 

Investment and Performance Board

7.1    This matter has not been referred to either IPB or HIG although it has been discussed with the Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land & Property and the Assistant Director, Housing & Land. Resolving issues of this nature is considered to be a routine property transaction and there are no financial implications for the GLA.