Beech Properties v GE Wallis and Sons Ltd: 1977

The court was asked whether a vendor of property had satisfied an obligation to provide the purchaser with the right to run foul and surface water from the land sold to a public sewer. The vendor contended that this obligation was satisfied by the right of the purchaser to connect a 12 inch diameter pipe to a 9 inch diameter public sewer at a particular location, pursuant to section 34 of the 1936 Act.
Held: The condition was not satisfied, since there remained too much uncertainty.
Walton J said: ‘However, it does appear to me that, wide as the words of subsection (1) may be, and for the moment ignoring the opening qualification, they do not confer upon an individual the right to connect his sewer to the water authority’s sewer at any point which he may choose. In most cases, of course, the matter will be quite academic. There will be the water authority’s sewer, going along the road; a new house is built in the road; and quite obviously and clearly the owner will expect to have a right to drain into that sewer, and it would be very difficult, assuming that there are no problems under the proviso to subsection (1), to imagine a set of circumstances where the water authority would be entitled to say that he must not connect to that sewer but to some other sewer. Even so, if the new house was built at a crossroads and there were available sewers in both roads, I can see no reason why the owner should be entitled to drain into the sewer of his choice if the water authority required him to drain into the other, which might, for example, well be a relief sewer expressly provided for the district because the other sewer was approaching capacity. Similarly, I see no reason why the owner is entitled to connect at point X rather than an adjacent point Y, if the water authority requires him to connect at Y.’


Walton J


[1977] EG 735


Public Health Act 1936 34


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) QBD 1-Aug-2008
The parties disputed whether the water company had the right to refuse a connection with the public sewer at a point chosen by the developer.
Held: It would be objectionable to construe the statute in such a way as to preclude an undertaker . .
CitedBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) CA 28-Nov-2008
The water company sought to refuse to allow the developer to connect to the public sewer at a point where, it said, the system would overflow.
Held: The developer’s appeal succeeded. The statute provided only narrow grounds for refusing a . .
CitedBarratt Homes Ltd v Dwr Cymru Cyfyngedig (Welsh Water) SC 9-Dec-2009
The developers wanted to construct their private sewer to the public sewer at a point convenient to them. The water company said a connection at the point proposed would overload the sewer, and refused. The developer claimed that it had the right to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 05 May 2022; Ref: scu.383813