The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s plans to expand the Wimbledon Tennis Club to 39 new grass courts and another 8,000-seat pitch in time for Wimbledon 2028 have reached a potential double fault.
The hawk-eyed objectors have expressed concern not only about the alleged environmental impact of the proposed project, but also that the development of the site would violate a restrictive covenant against the development of the site.
Restrictive covenants, which have been properly protected by registration on freehold title, can prevent a landowner from freely dealing with his land and, therefore, should not be ignored. A developer who pursues their plans regardless of the restriction does so at their own risk. At worst, he could be served with a court injunction, or find himself at the end of a major claim for damages. Arguments over restrictive covenants can also lead to long delays and substantial costs.
But, all cannot be lost if there is a restrictive covenant. A court may agree to modify or even cancel an undertaking altogether, if there are good reasons for doing so. For example, a commitment may be out of date, prevent reasonable use, or be contrary to the public interest. Sometimes covenants cannot be enforced at all simply because the beneficiary cannot be identified, or if the restriction itself is not sufficiently certain. Even if it is not possible to remove or change a restrictive covenant, a developer may try to negotiate its release, or purchase appropriate indemnity insurance, if applicable.
If building permission for the new 67-hectare site is ultimately granted, the ball will be firmly in AELTC’s court to face the pledge. Otherwise, the restriction could be a game, a set and correspond to its plans for expanding ambitions.
“A legal challenge could derail plans to expand Wimbledon Tennis Club due to commitments that the pitch cannot be developed.”
https: //www.egi.co.uk/news/wimbledon-plans-set-to-end-in …