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Not in my back yard!

Was a recent case on the impact of restrictive covenants on land a victory for homeowners or property developers? asks Vivian Chapman

17 January 2003

The recent decision of Neuberger J in Crest Nicholson Residential (South) Limited v McAllister [2003] 1 All ER 46 contains an interesting analysis of the problems raised by two restrictive covenants which threatened to prevent the development of land. The problem posed by the first restrictive covenant was whether a covenant not to use land other than for the purposes of a private dwellinghouse meant the land could only be used as the site of a single dwellinghouse, or whether it simply meant use of the land was restricted to private residential use. The problem posed by the second restrictive covenant was whether a covenant not to build on land unless plans were first approved by a named person became (a) absolute or (b) spent if the named person ceased to exist. Facts of the case In the 1920s a company called Mitchell Brothers (Builders) Ltd laid out and sold plots on a building estate called the Fee Farm Estate in Claygate, Surrey. When each plot was sold, res...

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