Open Space Agreements

On some of the older estates in Milton Keynes you may encounter agreements entered into by the local authorities (Milton Keynes Development Corporation and Milton Keynes Council) with the original developer of the estate. These provide for open (recreational) spaces and their subsequent maintenance. They are expressed to be made pursuant to Section 6 of the Buckinghamshire County Council Act 1971. I have yet to find a copy of the text to this Act. Nevertheless the intention behind Section 6 is clear. A builder receiving an advantageous planning decision is required to give something back to the local authority. In this instance the provision of open spaces.

The existence of these agreements regularly turns up on local searches. Some lawyers think that they may have adverse consequences for householders. In my experience they do not and it is hard to see how they might. Many of these agreements are now almost 30 years old and relate to estates that were built many years ago. The obligations created by them will have been fully performed by the builder. Those open spaces that do exist are now under the control of a local body, generally Milton Keynes Council.

Insofar as a householder may be liable for a breach of one of these agreements, the remedy is damages. All house-owners on the estate are likely to be equally liable. The cost of enforcement against all such owners would be expensive, possibly even uneconomic.