Yorkshire small business co-director ‘totally happy’ as council settles £1.2m compensation claim

Leeds City Council has reached a financial settlement with a local roadside advertising business, following an eight-year dispute.

Instaplanta, which is based in south Leeds, had been pursuing a £1.2m compensation claim against the local authority for lost earnings.

The company had suggested the council had unlawfully used its powers to exclude Instaplanta from the market and protect its own financial interests. The council had denied the claim, insisting the firm’s application to install wooden planters in several locations across Leeds had been legitimately turned down.

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The matter had been due to go to a tribunal in November, but that will not take place now after both sides confirmed they’d reached an agreement.

Malcolm Simpson, of InstaplantaMalcolm Simpson, of Instaplanta
Malcolm Simpson, of Instaplanta

The sum involved has not been disclosed, but Instaplanta co-director Malcolm Simpson said he was “totally happy” with the outcome.

A council document outlining the case online said the agreement had been made “without any admission of liability”.

Mr Simpson said: “I’m glad this is all over with and hopefully Instaplanta and the council can now move on to the future and work to create a positive partnership.

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“It’s an amicable agreement. I think both parties are happy to put this behind them.

“It’s been eight years we’ve been fighting this so we’re glad it’s over.

The council had set aside around £1.2m worth of public money to fight the case at tribunal.

But its application to have Instaplanta cover those costs was rejected in June by the Competition Appeal Tribunal, who ruled it would “stifle” the claim.

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The council notice outlining the agreement said that “settlement proposals are prudent in the circumstances”.

It added: “After the Competition Appeal Tribunal decided not to providethe council any protection on its costs, settlement represents the lowest costoption available for both parties.

“To pursue proceedings would have resulted in significant, unrecoverable costs to the council.”