its sale of part of the former RAF site at Little Rissington,
Gloucestershire for a housing development.
the sale of 70 hectares of the site, which closed in 1994, to two property
development companies, as an 'overage' payment resulting from the grant and
exploitation of planning permission for a section of the land.
Mr justice Rimer allowed the MoD's claim for an extra pounds sterling
891,926 from buyers Country and Metropolitan Homes (Rissington) and its
parent company Country and Metropolitan Homes plc. With interest, the total
amount to be received by the MoD will exceed£1m.
The site, which comprised 249 houses in varying condition, an officers'
mess, barracks, hangars and other buildings, was sold for£8m in October
1996 with a view to its development for up to 300 houses.
However, the MoD claimed that a provision of the sale allowed it to claim an extra 'overage' payment if planning permission was granted to develop a
particular section of the land within ten years, and that planning
permission was then implemented within 15 years.
It claimed that CMH had obtained the relevant permission in July 1998, that
all the buildings on the land had been demolished, except for two
semi-detached properties kept to meet the planning requirement of a village
shop for the local community, and so the conditions had been met to entitle
it to the overage payment.
However, CMH argued that it had the benefit of an 'escape route' from the
overage payment condition, which was that the land would be released from it if all the buildings on it were demolished. It claimed that the only two
retained buildings should be treated as if they had been demolished, as they were only retained at the request of the planning authority.
Now, though, Mr justice Rimer has backed the MoD's claim that the retention
of these two properties has the effect of rendering the developers liable to pay on the basis they had not demolished all the existing buildings on the land.
STRAND NEWS SERVICE