Tesco Stores Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment and Others: CA 25 May 1994

Three companies competed for permission to build a retail food superstore in Witney. The inspector recommended Tesco’s proposal, but the SSE set aside the inspector’s decision in favour of the local authority’s preference. Tesco sought a declaration quashing the decision letter. It said that insufficent allowance had been given to its offer of funding for infrastructure.
Held: The Secretary of State had not failed to have regard to Tesco’s offer of funding nor treated it as immaterial, but had simply declined to give it any or any significant weight, as he was entitled to do.
Sir Thomas Bingham MR said that the case involved: ‘a question of unusual public importance bearing on the conditions which can be imposed, and the obligations which can be accepted, on the grant of planning permission and the point at which the imposition of conditions, and the acceptance of obligations, overlaps into the buying and selling of planning permission, which are always agreed to be unacceptable.’
Beldam LJ said: ‘In section 106(1) [of the 1990 Act] the obligations referred to in subsections (a), (b) and (c) clearly relate to the land in which the person entering into the obligation is interested. The obligation entered into by a person interested in land under subsection (d) to pay money to the authority is not expressed to be restricted to the payment of money for any particular purpose or object. But all the planning obligations are, by section 106(3), enforceable not only against the person entering into the obligation but also against his successors in title to the land. Against the background that it is a fundamental principle that planning permission cannot be bought or sold, it does not seem unreasonable to interpret subsection (1)(d) so that a planning obligation requiring a sum or sums to be paid to the planning authority should be for a planning purpose or objective which should be in some way connected with or relate to the land in which the person entering into the obligation is interested.’


Sir Thomas Bingham and Beldam L.J


Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Transcript No. 736 of 1994, Unreported, 25 May 1994


Town and Country Planning Act 1990 106


England and Wales

Cited by:

Appeal fromTesco Stores Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment and Others HL 11-May-1995
Three companies had applied for permission to build retail food superstores in Witney. The Inspector had recommended Tesco’s proposal, but the respondent rejected it. Tesco’s had offered to provide by way of a section 106 agreement full funding for . .
CitedAberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Planning Authority v Elsick Development Company Limited SC 25-Oct-2017
The court was asked whether, anticipating substantial growth, a local authority had power to attach to permissions for development conditions intended to recover sums for pooled fund for infrastructure development.
Held: The appeal failed. . .
CitedWright, Regina (on The Application of Wright) v Resilient Energy Severndale Ltd and Another SC 20-Nov-2019
W challenged the grant of planning permission for the change of use of agricultural land to allow erection of a wind turbine, saying that the authority had taken into account a promise by the land owner to run the scheme as a community development . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.374713