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E:gen July 2018


Welcome to the latest edition of E:gen, Winckworth Sherwood’s Regeneration and Development Newsletter. In this edition we look at the flexibility offered by Section 73 and Section 96a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; whether oral variations to a contract are binding; how low public sector bodies can go when disposing of land and what to consider when lending to charities.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the authors who are happy to discuss their topics further.


A Flexible Planning System?

Both Section 73 (s73) and Section 96A (s96A) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA) were drafted with the intention of keeping planning permissions flexible. Section 73 is a wide ranging statutory power that can be used to amend conditions which attach to a previous planning permission. Whilst it is often associated with ‘Minor Material Amendments’, it is important to note that this particular terminology not a creature of the law. It is instead intended to allow for those minor changes to be made where necessary to ensure that a development is successfully implemented and completed. On the other hand s96A deals with those non-material changes to any planning permission necessitated, for example, by site conditions.

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Oral variations to a contract: are they binding?

The Supreme Court judgment in the case of Rock Advertising Ltd v MWB Business Exchange Centres Ltd handed down in May 2018 considered two fundamental issues in the law of contract:

a) Whether a contractual term providing that an agreement cannot be varied except in writing (a “No Oral Modification clause” or “NOM clause”) is legally effective; and

(b) Whether an agreement to vary a contract to pay money by substituting an obligation to pay less money, is supported by consideration (which is necessary to make an agreement enforceable).

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Value of land – how low can you go?

Housing associations, local authorities and charities will sometimes need to dispose of land cheaply – perhaps to secure a much larger or more valuable deal, or to receive some wider benefit from a developer. But how low can a public sector body actually go? The RICS Red Book valuations provide some guidance. But get it wrong and the organisation could find itself in court and facing a reputational backlash.

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Lending to Charities: Stop, Look, Listen, Think

Much like crossing the road, lending to charities can be hazardous but is straightforward if you know what to look for. This briefing note has been designed to enable lenders to navigate their journey with maximum safety and ease.

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Stock rationalisation – risk, strategy and pricing

The Registered Provider stock rationalisation market remains active and whilst footprint disposals still dominate, rationalisation programmes are increasingly being driven by sophisticated modelling, risk management and pricing strategies. Over the last 18 months the market has seen the greatest volume of stock rationalisation activity to date. As the spate of mergers and consolidation in the sector continues, stock rationalisation programmes are likely to continue gathering pace.

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