EWCA Civ 1204
Section 137(2) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 provides that, where an application for planning permission to develop land has been refused and the land has become incapable of reasonably beneficial use in its existing state, the owner "may, within the prescribed time and in the prescribed manner, serve on the local planning authority .. a purchase notice requiring the local planning authority to purchase his interest in the land in accordance with this Chapter".
This is an appeal from the Lands Tribunal dealing with the effect of the service of more than one purchase notice.
The Lands Tribunal had held that where the Respondent had served successive purchase notices, unless they had been withdrawn they all remained valid and since the Council had not responded to Notice A, it was deemed confirmed and a right of compensation arose from it.The Council had responded to the latest notice and referred it to the Secretary of State. The notice stated that having not obtained planning permission in respect of a derelict house, it had no beneficial use. The Secretary of State disagreed and did not confirm the notice.
The Council appealed from the decision of the Lands Tribunal and stated that the earlier notices had been withdrawn by the service of the later notices and the only one that was valid was the latest in time. That notice had not been confirmed and therefore no compensation claim arose.
The Court of Appeal held that the real question arising in this appeal was the effect of the service of more than one notice. There could be an implied withdrawal of an earlier notice. The question of whether there had been an implied withdrawal would depend on the circumstances in which and the terms on which the owner served the second notice. In this particular case, each of the notices served after Notice A had purported to be a fresh notice. Therefore, the only extant notice was the last notice. The result of this was that the appeal was allowed. The Court upheld the judge's finding that an owner could serve more than one purchase notice. There was nothing in the 1990 Act that prevented him from doing so.