Jonathan Mitchell Sucessfully Represents Council in Planning Obligation Case
10th Aug 2018
Jonathan Mitchell successfully represents Mansfield District Council in a case involving an application by a developer to amend a planning obligation entered into pursuant to section 106 of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990.
The obligation was long-standing and had twice been replaced in subsequent agreements. The obligation was to contribute to the construction of a new road. By the time of the third planning application the new road had been in place for some 23 years. The Council had not enforced the obligation to assist the developer. On the final planning application the Inspector advised the Secretary of State that the obligation was of historic interest only and gave no weight to it in the decision making process, which advice the Secretary of State accepted. The outstanding sum was just under £300,000. The Developer then applied to be released from the obligation pursuant to section 106A of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 and a planning Inspector agreed.
The Council successfully challenged the decision. Garnham J held that the Inspector had not asked the correct questions and had failed properly to identify whether the planning obligation continued to serve a useful purpose. Further, he expressed concern about the consequences for the planning system if local authorities did works expecting contributions and were then unable to recover those contributions. There was no prior authority on the point.
The full judgment can be viewed here