Shropshire Council secures injunction to stop developer selling affordable homes on open market

A council has secured an injunction to stop a developer reneging on a section 106 agreement by selling homes that were consented on the basis that they would be provided as affordable housing on the open market.

Shropshire Council offices: injunction secured. Pic: Google Street View
Shropshire Council offices: injunction secured. Pic: Google Street View

The High Court has approved an order stopping landowner Lansdowne Investment Partnership and its marketing agent Walmer Homes Northern from selling the final two properties on a housing development in Hinstock, Shropshire.

According to a statement by the local authority's barristers, Kings Chambers, Shropshire Council took the action after the developers marketed five homes that made up the affordable element of a 36-home scheme granted permission in 2015 for open market sale.

The affordable housing had been secured through a section 106 agreement with the applicant, the statement went on to say.

The local authority consequently sought an injunction to prevent the open market sale of the final two properties on the site.

The initial application for an injunction without a requirement to give notice was refused, with the judge noting that such behaviour would "not be usual", Kings Chambers said.

However, the application was renewed, giving the developers four days' notices, during which the landowners said they had sold the homes, according to the statement.

The injunction application was then amended to prevent both the occupation and sale of the two properties as anything other than affordable housing.

A judge then granted the order under the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act.

The chambers said that "the injunctive powers available to local planning authorities" under both section 106(5) and section 187B of the 1990 Act are "proving to be very valuable tools in the armoury of any local planning authority faced with intransigent or prevaricating housing developers".

Maria Howell, Shropshire Council’s housing enabling and development officer, said: "Shropshire Council is pleased with the outcome of this case, which emphasises the importance of affordable planning policy and the role of the developer in contributing to the provision of affordable housing within Shropshire."

Planning was unable to contact Lansdowne Investment Partnership for comment and had yet to receive a response from Walmer Homes Northern by the time of publication.

Last week, the High Court extended an injunction on a gypsy encampment in an area of woodland in Surrey, ruling that the camp was a "substantial and unlawful development in open countryside".

In October, the High Court issued the first ever injunction of its kind to prevent a neighbourhood plan in Somerset from proceeding to a local referendum in order to allow a developer to mount a legal challenge against the document.

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