Regina v City of London Corporation and Another Ex Parte Mystery of the Barbers of London: QBD 28 Jun 1996

The authority acquired several plots of land at different times, some compulsorily, and others pursuant to purchase notice. It granted a lease to the second respondent who built on it. In 1969 the Council granted the applicants an area of adjoining land and by the transfer covenanted not to interfere with light or air passing through any windows of the Hall thereon built. Subsequently, the building leased to the Second Respondents was demolished and planning permission was granted for a redevelopment of the site. The Council contended that interference with the rights of light and air granted to the Hall by the transfer in 1969 were overridden by section 237 by virtue of the acquisition of the land between 1954 and 1959, despite the lack of apparent connection between the original acquisition and the proposed redevelopment.
Held: The Council was correct. The words ‘for planning purposes’ do not require the redevelopment to be linked to the initial purpose of the acquisition or appropriation. The words were quite general distinguished the case from one where an acquisition was made for other purposes. The concept of initial development followed by a cyclical redevelopment of the site was hardly esoteric and if Parliament had intended to apply a restriction to section 237 to the first development, then very different language would have been required. It must have been intended that a Local Authority should be able to develop a site which it had acquired for planning purposes from time to time whenever an occasion for redevelopment arose. There was no rational basis for restricting the operation to the first development after acquisition or appropriation, as buildings become obsolete and have to be redeveloped from time to time, thus requiring the Local Authority to retain a power to override third party rights from time to time. The Local Authority could rely on section 237 to override rights which had arisen after the first redevelopment and which were not connected to it.


Dyson J


Times 28-Jun-1996, [1996] 2 EGLR 128


Town and Country Planning Act 1990 237(1)

Cited by:

CitedMidtown Ltd v City of London Real Property Company Ltd ChD 20-Jan-2005
Tenants occupied land next to land which was to be developed after compulsory acquisition. The tenants and the landlords asserted a right of light over the land, and sought an injunction to prevent the development. The developer denied that any . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 April 2022; Ref: scu.86382