Developer fights conditions imposed by local planners on £6.7m scheme in High Wycombe

Commercial and residential developer Michael Shanly Homes is headed for a High Court showdown in a row over planning consent for a large project in High Wycombe.

Michael Shanly Homes agreed to buy a site in Grafton Street, High Wycombe, from owners SBW Holdings for £6.7m in 2006, subject to acceptable planning consent.

But despite winning planning permission for 142 flats in six blocks, and 11 commercial units, Michael Shanly Homes believes that local planners have imposed unacceptable conditions.

The site owners SBW Holdings argue that Wycombe District Council’s conditions are acceptable, and is seeking a High Court declaration to that effect. Alternatively, the vendors are claiming damages.

The council turned down the original planning application for the site, and failed to make a decision on a second planning application, according to a High Court writ.

Michael Shanly Homes and SBW Holdings appealed, and planning consent was granted subject to various conditions, the writ says.

But the developer believes the permission contains unacceptable planning conditions, including too much affordable housing, and other conditions which are likely to increase the cost of the development and reduce profits, it is claimed.

SWB Holdings, of Castle Street, High Wycombe, disputes that unacceptable planning conditions affect the site, and says although the council requires more than 18,210 sq ft of affordable accommodation in the scheme, Michael Shanly Homes acknowledged this and waived its ability to claim against this.

Other conditions imposed by the council are standard conditions, and could reasonably have been anticipated, the writ claims. They would not, as Michael Shanly Homes claims, stop the developer from starting work within three months.

Another condition, relating to land drainage consent from the Environment Agency, could be met within reasonable time and at reasonable cost, the writ alleges.