More on the new power to override easements and other rights: Section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016

Author: Matthew White, Partner and Head of Planning, London

In the September edition of 'Property in Practice', the Law Society's Property magazine, Matthew White, partner and head of planning at HSF, examines the new power to override easements and other rights under section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016, and explains the circumstances in which it might be used by property lawyers and others in the development world.  This power has replaced the power under s237 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, with effect from 13 July 2016. 

Click on the link below to read the article.

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Now in force: Replacement section 237 procedure for overcoming rights of light (along with other new provisions under the Housing and Planning Act 2016)

Authors: Matthew White, Partner and Head of Planning and Lucy Morton, Professional Support Lawyer, Planning, London

Replacement section 237:

Yesterday (13 July), the new provisions allowing local authorities to override easements and other rights (including rights to light) came into force, replacing section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.  Yesterday's commencement date is earlier than expected.  The previous provisions are familiar to developers as they allowed development to proceed in certain circumstances where there were rights to light and other title constraints to overcome, and the new provisions under the Housing and Planning Act are similar: please see our previous blog post here for further details on the form and effect of these provisions.

Other new Housing and Planning Act 2016 provisions in force from 13 July include:

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Abolition of section 237 procedure for overcoming rights of light

Authors: Matthew White, Partner and Head of Planning, Real Estate, London and Lucy Morton, Professional Support Lawyer, Planning, Real Estate, London

Section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 gives local planning authorities powers to override easements and other rights in relation to land that has been acquired or appropriated for planning purposes. However the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is set to abolish the existing procedure and bring in a replacement power.

In recent years, developers of several high profile projects have turned to section 237 to overcome rights of light and other title constraints that were threatening to prevent their developments from proceeding. The pre-requisites for the powers to be used are stringent, however, and they are intended only as a last resort.  Fortunately the threat of using section 237 proved sufficient to bring counterparties to the negotiating table in the majority of cases, without the local planning authority actually having to use the powers in practice.

Now, just as developers are becoming familiar with the procedures and tests for the use of section 237 to address their development constraints, and local planning authorities are becoming more comfortable with exercising their powers for this purpose, the Housing and Planning Act 2016 is set to abolish section 237 and replace it with a completely new power.

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