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Land Tribunal Decision Affecting Pendennis

In a judgment handed down on 24 November 2017, Pendennis Shipyard learned the outcome of its application to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in the Royal Courts of Justice for the modification of a restrictive covenant affecting part of its estate in Falmouth. In summary, Pendennis invested some £8 million in developing a wet basin on its estate, to allow works to be undertaken in a sheltered location. The land on which the wet basin is situated was subject to a restrictive covenant prohibiting ‘boat building’, which Pendennis was concerned would prevent them from carrying on new-build and restoration work in the wet basin.

Pendennis applied to the Tribunal to modify the restrictive covenant, but this was challenged by neighbouring land users, mainly involved in work on commercial and military vessels, who argued that modifying the covenant might lead to them suffering financially. Pendennis argued that its objective was simply to harmonise the restrictive covenants that applied to all parts of its estate, to ensure that Pendennis would in the future be able to complete new-build or extensive restoration projects in the wet basin.

In determining the application by Pendennis the Tribunal had to resolve whether

1. impeding the user of the land would secure practical benefits to the objectors;

2. whether those benefits would be of substantial value or advantage;

3. if not, whether money would be adequate compensation to the objectors.

Pendennis did not succeed on all of its application, however it did secure a significant modification to the restrictive covenant affecting the wet basin, whereby the site can be used for the “building or repairing (to include fitting out and refitting) yachts and pleasure craft of any size”. The Tribunal was satisfied that such a modification would not injure the persons entitled to the benefit of the restriction (i.e. the objectors).

The decision does not give Pendennis all that it wanted, but it does secure the future use of the wet basin for yacht construction and refit, which will be welcome news for Pendennis, the wider UK superyacht and marine industries and the local economy.

The content of this article is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content herein.

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