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28th October 2020

Court of Appeal rules that planning conditions cannot require land to be dedicated as highway

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DB Symmetry Ltd v Swindon BC concerned a planning permission for employment development in Swindon which included a condition that the proposed access roads be constructed in such a manner as to ensure that each unit was served by a fully functional highway.

The local planning authority considered that the condition required the developer to dedicate the roads as public highway.

The Appeal Court disagreed, confirming that a condition that requires a developer to dedicate land which they own as a public highway without compensation would be an unlawful condition.  Instead, the Court held that the condition should be interpreted as imposing a requirement concerning the manner of construction of the access roads, and not requiring them to be made available for use by the general public. 

Had the condition not been capable of such an interpretation, it could have resulted in the whole of the planning permission being held to be invalid.  The case therefore highlights the importance of ensuring that only lawful planning conditions are imposed, and that – where appropriate - other mechanisms such as Section 106 Agreements are used instead.

For more information on the items raised in this article please contact Gemma Dudley on 01223 532747 or click here to email Gemma.