Standard Commerical Property Securities Limited and others (Respondents) v. Glasgow City Council (Appellants) and others (Scotland) Standard Commerical Property Securities Limited and others (Respondents) v. Glasgow City Council and others (Appellants) (Scotland) Conjoined Appeals)
HOUSE OF LORDS
OPINIONS OF THE LORDS OF APPEAL FOR JUDGMENT
IN THE CAUSE
Standard Commercial Property Securities Limited and others (Respondents) v. Glasgow City Council (Appellants) and others (Scotland)
Standard Commercial Property Securities Limited and others (Respondents) v. Glasgow City Council and others (Appellants) (Scotland)
 UKHL 50
LORD NICHOLLS OF BIRKENHEAD
LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD
The statutory powers
Section 189(4) provides:
The effect of section 191(10) of the 1997 Act is that land which has been acquired or appropriated for planning purposes, and is being held for the purposes for which it was acquired or appropriated, cannot be disposed of under section 74 of the 1973 Act. The Scottish Ministers have no power to permit its disposal other than as provided by section 191(3). It cannot be disposed of otherwise than "at the best price or on the best terms that can reasonably be obtained".
The overriding consideration for the local authority, as it appeared to him, was whether acquisition of the land by them and its development by the developer with which a back-to-back agreement was to be entered into were reasonably necessary for planning purposes.
The letter said that these criteria would be weighted as follows: experience 15%; design 40%; ownership 20%; timescale 25%. A questionnaire was also appended, to be completed and returned for evaluation. It was explained that the council would require to be satisfied that the applicant had sufficient financial backing for the proposed development, and that essential to that would be the applicant's commitment to enter into an agreement with the council undertaking to indemnify the council against all costs incurred by it in pursuing any CPO to assemble the site. The council's style of back-to-back agreement was also attached as an appendix.
The proceedings below
In para 132 she said that in carrying out their selection process the council had laid down an open, fair and detailed evaluation procedure, all as set out in the framework, specifically reflecting the requirements of sections 189 and 191 of the 1997 and the guidance given by Lord Nimmo Smith, and that the whole procedure was directed to establishing the best use of the land on the best terms.
In para 40 he referred to the fact that section 191(3) did not allow any exception to be made with the consent of the Scottish Ministers. He said that this was consistent with the view that section 191, read as a whole, permits land to be disposed of otherwise than on a wholly commercial basis, in appropriate circumstances.
LORD RODGER OF EARLSFERRY
More particularly, his Lordship observed, 2001 SC 177, 200 - 201, para 42:
On this basis counsel submitted that, even if an indemnity for their costs might not be the best price that could reasonably be obtained for the site, Glasgow could properly conclude, for instance, that Atlas were the most reliable people to carry the development through to completion and so an agreement to dispose of the site to them in return for an indemnity would represent the best terms that were reasonably available.
This passage scuppers any suggestion that the First Division saw section 191(3) as overriding the requirements of subsections (1) and (2). It appeared to the Division, rather, at pp 157-158, paras 41 and 42, that
LORD BROWN OF EATON-UNDER-HEYWOOD
In short, "terms" in section 191(3) must relate, if only broadly, to the commercial value of the transaction; Lord Rodger's example in paragraph 59 is of a developer offering a lower price but being prepared to take possession of the site, pay the price and start the development immediately rather than considerably later.