Jacobs takes legal action against developer in row over fees for 50-acre Cornwall scheme

An engineering firm has launched a legal battle against developers Persimmon Homes (South West) following a row over a 50-acre site in Cornwall.

The dispute centres around fees for the planning application of a major residential development.

Jacobs is claiming around £252,000, after Persimmon refused to pay two invoices the engineering firm issued for the preparation and submittal of a planning application, a high court writ says.

Persimmon entered into an option agreement in August 2006, with a consortium of landowners, in a bid to win planning consent on the site. Later that month, the firm asked Jacobs to prepare and submit a planning application for the scheme.

In January 2007, Persimmon wrote to Jacobs with a revised copy of its pre-planning brief, as a result of which, Jacobs claims Persimmon agreed to pay it for its services, set out in hourly rates.

The developer issued a withholding notice for the second larger invoice, which totalled nearly £300,000.

But Jacobs has disputed its validity, claiming Persimmon's grounds for withholding payment were “insufficiently detailed and spurious”, the writ said.

Jacobs is seeking payment of its invoices in full plus interest.