Cost News

Helen Appleby


Chalfont St Peter Parish Council –v- Holy Cross Sisters Trustees Inc

This case concerned itself with a piece of land. The land was sold by the Defendant with planning permission, for a large development, to a building developer. The Claimant local authority alleged that it had been induced to grant planning permission by false representations. The Defendant claimed that they had to spend more time and money defending the Claim than they had initially set out in the Budget, following requests for further information. The Defendant had been asked to name each of the sisters who had allegedly made representations, knowing them to be false or in the alternative recklessly. A number of the sisters were in their 80’s which the Defendant claimed made the work much more time consuming to ensure they were proofed very carefully concerning the allegations.

On 29th January 2019 the Queens Bench Division refused the Defendant’s Application to increase its approved Cost Budget from a little over £500,000.00 to £908,000.00. The Court ruled that the additional work that the Defendant claimed to be required had not been as a result of additional disclosure or amended pleadings and that there had been no change of position by the local authority that would have caused substantially more work that should have been taken into account when the initial Budget was prepared. The Court ruled that the existing cost budget was sufficient.

The main crux of the Court’s ruling was that the Defendant was simply being asked to do something that it was always going to be required to do. The Court confirmed that “A cost budget should not need to be changed unless something of great additional significance came about”.

One of the advantages from this is that it is clear for all to see that the Court is taking a robust approach when it comes to Cost Management. The test of “significant development” is a high threshold to cross and parties must be vigilant when preparing Cost Budgets,  to ensure this is taken into consideration.


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