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Bath Road, Thatcham, West Berkshire

DATE: 06 Mar 2012

In this case, the appellant, Newbury Property Investment Ltd, sought the modification under s.106A-B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 of planning obligations that had been entered into in 2005 which required the payment to the local planning authority, West Berkshire Council, of financial contributions towards local infrastructure. The basis of the appellant’s argument was that, following changes in the Council’s supplementary planning guidance on infrastructure contributions, lower financial contributions were now justified than those which were contained in the relevant planning obligations.

Accepting the Council’s submissions, the Inspector held that, following the judgment of R (Renaissance Habitat Ltd) v. West Berkshire Council [2011] EWHC 242 (Admin), the question in the appeal was simply whether the obligations continued to serve a useful planning purpose which would not be served as well by the modifications, and that this was not the same as asking whether the obligations were strictly necessary to make the development acceptable. She accepted the Council’s evidence that the obligations did continue to serve a useful planning purpose, and that reducing the amount of the financial contributions would not serve that purpose as well. The appeal was therefore dismissed. The Inspector also ordered the Appellant to pay the Council’s costs.

Charles Banner appeared for West Berkshire Council. He also previously appeared in High Court in the Renaissance case (with Tom Jefferies).