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Property Law Journal: 4 April 2011

Laurie Heller discusses the legal principles relating to severance clauses and their effectiveness in practice

Most practitioners will be familiar with the typical severance clause that appears in contracts and leases from time to time. But are they one of those clauses that often figure in contracts and leases that have little, if any, operative value in practice? Do they evince an intention of the parties that could be conclusive where one part of an agreement is unenforceable so that the remaining part will survive intact?

Forsters LLP

Elizabeth Small and Michael Armstrong address the issues that will be of immediate interest to anyone in the property arena

George Osborne declared Britain ‘open for business’ in his budget speech on 23 March. The headline changes were the reduction of corporation tax by 2% and the doubling of the lifetime allowance for entrepreneurs’ relief, both measures intended to encourage growth. The chancellor also sought to foster foreign investment in UK plc by announcing that there would be no tax charge on resident non-domiciliaries remitting foreign gains or income to invest in UK businesses. In a similar vein, he announced that UK companies would be able to elect to exempt their foreign branches from UK tax, making it easier to avoid double taxation. Further encouragement was to be had from Mr Osborne’s renewed assurance that the 50% income tax rate was only a temporary measure.

Victoria Leam considers the issues surrounding a case where a developer’s unilateral undertaking remained enforceable despite a finding that it was unnecessary

A recent case concerning unilateral undertakings, made under s106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, has yet again brought into consideration the contributions that local planning authorities request from developers on grant of planning permission and unilateral undertakings submitted on appeal. In the case of Millgate Developments Ltd, R (on the application of) v Wokingham Borough Council [2011], the High Court held that the enforcement of an undertaking to pay contributions to Wokingham Borough Council was not unreasonable because the undertaking had been entered into voluntarily and the inspector’s comments in his decision did not affect its enforceability. Further, it was held there was an ability for the council to repay contributions to the developer made under a unilateral undertaking using powers under s111 of the Local Government Act 1972.

Sarah Youren reviews proposals for change to the Statutory Guidance accompanying the contaminated land regime, as well as proposed changes requiring public consultation on future development

The contaminated land regime was brought into effect in England on 1 April 2000. It applies to all land, whether residential, commercial, industrial or agricultural. It can affect owners, occupiers, developers, and lenders. The legislation is contained in Part IIA Environmental Protection Act 1990, as well as in regulations and Statutory Guidance issued under it, and is retrospective. This means that it covers both existing and future contamination.

Sarah Youren reviews proposals for change to the Statutory Guidance accompanying the contaminated land regime, as well as proposed changes requiring public consultation on future development

The Coalition Agreement promises a radical reform of the planning system to give people more ability to determine the shape of the places in which they live. Many of the development projects that change an area require planning permission. While local people can comment on planning applications once they have been submitted, they often feel frustrated that they have not been able to contribute earlier on, when a scheme was first being drawn up, as they would have had a greater opportunity to influence the proposals.

Clare Fielding examines how the government is proposing to deliver infrastructure in a localist world

There can be no doubt that one of the greatest challenges facing the UK over the next few years will be delivering the infrastructure that will be needed to enable new development and set the country on a path of sustainable economic growth. This seems to have eluded successive governments of all political complexions over the years. Now, of course, the challenge is that much greater at a time of severe public spending cuts and a reduction in the size of a public sector that accounts for a good proportion of employment in the UK’s regions.

Nabarro LLP

Claire Deanesly and Alex Ibrahim provide an in-depth look at the proposals and their likely effect

The government has recently consulted on proposed changes to the Contaminated Land Regime in England and Wales under Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990 (the CLR).

Rebecca Shorter looks at the issue of concurrent liability in the context of building defects

The recent Court of Appeal case of Robinson v PE Jones (Contractors) Ltd [2011] has provided some much-needed clarity on the issue of whether a builder can, or should, owe concurrent liability in tort for the cost of remedying defects in a building it has constructed.