Home > Cases > Potter v Hillingdon LBC [2010] UKUT 212 LC, [2010] JPL 1330

This case was a compensation claim following the acquisition of land near Heathrow to form part of a park surrounding new BA headquarters offices.  The offices were inappropriate development in the Green Belt: the very special circumstances relied on were the provision of a park on surrounding degraded land.  A section 106 agreement obliged BA to use reasonable endeavours to buy the land needed for the park.  Later a CPO was made to acquire the areas not so bought.  The landowners contended that the s106 agreement gave their land ransom value, as planning permission for the office development would not have been granted in the absence of the planning obligation.  The Upper Tribunal (the President and Mr P R Francis) gave detailed consideration to whether the land had ever had value to BA as a special purchaser.  The Tribunal held that it had, but that this value had been lost by the valuation date since, by then, BA’s obligation to use reasonable endeavours to acquire the land had expired.  By that time the offices had been built and continued enjoyment of them by BA was not dependent on acquisition of the land.

The case was heard shortly after the decision in Spirerose v TfL.  In reaching the above conclusions the Tribunal followed a clearly articulated approach founded on the statutory assumptions.  This provides some guidance as to how Spirerose is to be applied in practice.

The acquiring authority contended that, if the land did have value to BA as a special purchaser, this value fell to be ignored, given the decision in Waters v WDA: it argued that the provision of the park was at least as closely associated with the office development as the creation of the wetlands was with the barrage development.  The Upper Tribunal rejected this argument.  The need for the wetlands in Waters had been created by the barrage, whereas the park was desirable in its own right: the BA office development did not create the need for a park.

The Tribunal awarded the sum contended for by the acquiring authority (based on hope value) and awarded costs against the landowners.

Richard Langham appeared for the acquiring authority.

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