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MINISTRY OF DEFENCE CLAWS BACK MORE MONEY FOR SALE OF ITS LAND TO DEVELOPERS

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The ministry of defence has won a high court battle for an extra£1m from...
The ministry of defence has won a high court battle for an extra£1m from

its sale of part of the former RAF site at Little Rissington,

Gloucestershire for a housing development.

The high court has ruled that the MoD is entitled to the extra money from

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

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