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R (on the application of Island Farm Development Ltd) v Bridgend county Borough

There was no apparent bias or pre-determination by a newly elected local authority in reaching a decision to discontinue negotiations for the sale of land as there was no positive evidence to show that the local authority had approached the decision with a closed mind. Local authority councillors were entitled to have regard to and apply policies that they believed in, particularly if those policies formed part of an election manifesto.

8 September 2006

The claimant company (R) sought to set aside a resolution by the defendant local authority to refuse to sell them land. The local authority was the owner of land designated as a specialist site for high technology usage designed to attract employers. R had planning permission to develop adjoining land. R entered into preliminary negotiations to purchase the local authority land to facilitate its development plans. There had been strong local opposition to the development and R had sought to obtain a binding agreement prior to upcoming local elections. Due to various conveyancing issues and a need to satisfy external auditors no agreement was reached. The elections resulted in a change in control of the local authority and the new administration froze all sale negotiations pending a review. Following a review meeting, the local authority decided not sell the land to R in order to preserve future employment opportunities. R submitted that the decision not to sell the land was vitiated...

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