Restrictive covenant modified to allow development which was knowingly carried out in breach by a developer (Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber))

In Millgate Developments Limited and another v Smith and another, Re: Exchange House, Woodlands Park Avenue, Maidenhead [2016] UKUT 515 (LC), the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) a developer knowingly breached a covenant by building properties intended for social housing on the land in question. The houses overlooked the benefitting land, which was being developed as a hospice for terminally ill children. In exercising its discretion, the Upper Tribunal found that the loss of privacy to the owners of the benefitting land was outweighed by the public interest in housing families in need of affordable housing accommodation. It was decided that money was adequate compensation for the loss of the private rights enjoyed by the benefitting land. The Upper Tribunal therefore allowed the application by the developer to modify restrictive covenants that prohibited development of the land. What is interesting about this decision is the use of the land in question which was the subject of the application. It does beg the question as to what the decision may have been had the development comprised of private sector housing as well.