The DCLG has published a response to its consultation on amending s.237 of the TCPA 1990 which provides for overriding of easements and other rights when land is acquired for planning purposes by a local authority. As a result of the Thames Water Utilities v Oxford City Council (1999) case, the easements/other rights can only be overridden during construction and not permanently so a covenant as to user cannot be overridden. The consultation sought views on amending s.237 so that easements/ covenants could be overridden following construction (subject to payment of compensation as now) as the current situation causes ‘doubt, uncertainty, delay and can give rise to expensive litigation if matters are not resolved’. This response to the consultation (which closed on 26 October 2007) states that out of the 69 responses received, 62 agreed that s.237 should be amended.
As a result, the Planning Bill includes provisions to amend s.237 and the equivalent provisions in the other Acts: see clause 188 and schedule 9 which contain the necessary amendments.