Landmark case by Barratt leads to High Court ruling that conditions cannot be placed on connections to public sewers

A landmark legal victory for Barratt means sewage companies may no longer be able to place conditions on developers' connection to public sewers.

Welsh Water had insisted that Barratt Homes connect its development in Llanfoist in Monmouthshire to the sewage system 300m further downstream than the housebuilder had wanted to, claiming that the sewer did not have the capacity to deal with the increased load until that point.

It won the case in the High Court, but the decision was reversed on appeal and second judgement was maintained in the Supreme Court, when Welsh Water sought to establish that section 106 gave a sewage company the right to refuse connection to a public sewer at an unsuitable point.

David Shakesby of law firm Osborne Clarke said: “This is a point of law that has never been challenged before. It means developers can no longer be held to ransom by sewage companies, as the court effectively says they can't be refused a connection.”

“Local authorities may be able to demand certain conditions, but that would be separately, through the planning system.”