Football Association Architect in dispute with Duke
30 September 2011
Alan J Smith OBE, a millionaire architect who counts Newcastle United and the Football Association amongst his clients, is embroiled in a £120,000 court battle with the Duke of Northumberland's business team.
The Duke's company Hotspur Land Investments 2000 Limited owns the Newcastle old Post Office, a renowned heritage building which Mr Smith's company Redbox Design operates out of.
Hotspur has taken the millionaire's company to court after claiming that it has not received three years of service payments owed. The way the rate of service charge is calculated in the lease contract Mr Smith signed is in dispute, despite the architect helping to draw up the agreement when he refurbished the building in the late nineties.
In court, Mr Smith's lawyers alleged that arbitrary decisions had led to Redbox being charged too much for their share of the building.
A spokesperson for Eversheds, which is handling the case for the Duke's company, told Journal Live.co.uk: "Hotspur normally only consider legal action as a last resort.
"We were left with no other option on this occasion when we were unable to reach an agreement on this matter with the defendant."
Mr Smith's lawyers argue that it is unfair that some areas of the Post Office which they have exclusive use of - such as the courtyard - have been added into the service charge calculation.
Redbox's lawyers, on the other hand, have claimed that other areas, such as mezzanine balconies added by other tenants, have not been factored into the amount.
Alan J Smith has overseen developments including Sunderland AFC's training ground, and his company have also been hired to design St George's Park, the FA's academy which will be based in the English National Forest.
The case is ongoing.