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Error over s106 agreements costs Rutland council nearly £2m

Published: Thursday, 17th September 2015

Rutland County Council has approved a settlement with a developer after a planning error cost it nearly £2m.

The mistake was made by officers in 2011 and involved the s106 Agreement over a 1,000 dwelling housing development in Oakham.

The blunder happened when Larkfleet Homes the developer of the Oakham North scheme, asked to vary a minor condition of the section 106 agreement for its Oakham North project, originally anticipated to provide over 1,000 new homes in a sustainable urban extension.

The condition related to flooding issues. The variation was agreed under delegated powers by officials. But in the process the developer ended up with a second valid permission but one without a s106 agreement.

Subsequently the developer pointed out the error. Following legal advice and negotiations Larkfleet has now agreed to pay a sum of £4.8m. The council has estimated that if it had not made the mistake it would have expected to receive some £6.68m under the terms of the original s106 agreement.

This week the local authority admitted that it had lost nearly £1.88m as a result of the administrative blunder, which happened while an officer was acting as head of planning shortly after the retirement of a previous officer.

Since the appointment of a new Planning Manager in May 2012 the council’s procedures have been “comprehensively reviewed” a report by the council explained.

“We are as confident as we can be that there could not be a recurrence of this error” members were told this week when they agreed to the deal.

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Roger Milne