Home Information Cases BP International Ltd (2) Conocophilips Ltd v Newcastle International Airport Ltd (2005)

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BP International Ltd (2) Conocophilips Ltd v Newcastle International Airport Ltd (2005)

Summary

The words "the landlord intends" in the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 s.30(1)(f) meant that a landlord could only establish opposition to the grant of a new business tenancy on that ground if he had made a fixed and settled decision to proceed with the construction work described in that subsection. In the instant case the landlord had, on the evidence, established such intention.

Facts

The applicant business tenants (B) applied for new tenancies under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Part II following a refusal by the respondent airport (N) to grant new tenancies. B used the demised land for the storage and supply of fuel to aircraft. N had opposed the grant of new tenancies on the grounds specified in s.30(1)(f) of the Act on the basis that it needed to obtain possession of the site to carry out work that, both parties agreed, constituted a significant redevelopment. The court was required to determine as a preliminary issue the question of whether N could establish the grounds of opposition and, in particular, whether N intended to carry out the works on the termination of the tenancies. B submitted that N's redevelopment plans were not genuine and that its real motivation in opposing the grant of new tenancies was to dispose of competition. They argued that, in relation to one of the sites, the proposed expansion was unnecessary and inconsistent with draft plans and, in relation to the other, that the development was at a preliminary stage and without the necessary degree of intention.

Held

The court preferred the evidence of N, and the applications for new tenancies therefore failed. There was no reason to disbelieve N's view that expansion was necessary. Established authority indicated that the necessary intention existed on the part of the landlord if the landlord had made a fixed and settled decision to proceed. The burden of proof was on the landlord and, where the landlord was a company, the best evidence of intention was a formal resolution. That was not, however, required in every case. In the instant case, the resolutions of N's board were good evidence of its intentions and other matters of considerable weight, particularly plans concerning the fuel farm. The court was satisfied that N had moved out of the zone of contemplation and well into the "valley of decision", Cunliffe v Goodman [1950] 2 K.B. 237 and HL Bolton Engineering Co Ltd v TJ Graham & Sons Ltd [1957[ 1 Q.B. 159 applied.

Application refused.

County Court
Judge Behrens
Judgment date
18 January 2005
References

LTL 25/1/2005