Posted by: John Brace | 20th October 2017

Will two overlooked covenants for “enjoyment of light” prevent a fire station at Saughall Massie from happening?

Will two overlooked covenants for “enjoyment of light” prevent a fire station at Saughall Massie from happening?


Planning Committee (Wirral Council) site visit Saughall Massie fire station 18th July 2017 photo 1 of 40

Planning Committee (Wirral Council) site visit Saughall Massie fire station 18th July 2017 This photo shows properties with windows facing the proposed fire station

Today I read Land Registry title number MS503610 which covers various properties and includes thirteen of the properties owned by Wirral Partnership Homes Limited (who trade as Magenta Living) that are adjacent to the proposed fire station in Saughall Massie.

One of the entries in title MS503610 states the following:

“5. The right to the unimpeded access and enjoyment of light and air to all windows in the buildings now on the Retained Land from or over such part of the Property provided that nothing expressed or implied in this Transfer shall prevent the Transferee from developing the Property.”

This is about the landlord’s right to light.


“By Transfers of adjacent or neighbouring land pursuant to Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Housing Act 1980 or Part V of the Housing Act 1985, the land in this title has the benefit of and is subject to the easements and other rights prescribed by paragraph 2 of Schedule 2 to the Housing Act 1980 or paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 to the Housing Act 1985.”

This is about the tenant’s right to light which appear to carry on even if Wirral Council sell the land for the fire station.

Retained Land” is explained elsewhere as “In the definition of the “Retained Land” – The land coloured green on the Batch Plans is the Borough Engineers Green Space land.”

So therefore Retained Land would appear to include the land in the greenbelt owed by Wirral Council that the proposed fire station is on.

Property” means the housing stock transferred from Wirral Council to Wirral Partnership Homes Limited.

Transferor” is defined as “the transferor named in Panel 4 of this transfer and includes where the context so admits the Transferor’s successors in title to any Retained Land.

Transferor is obviously Wirral Council or anybody Wirral Council sells the Retained Land to (such as Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority for the fire station).

It would therefore appear to me that there are two covenants that prevent development on the land at Saughall Massie that has planning permission for a fire station, due to the “right of light” of the adjacent tenants and Wirral Partnership Homes Limited.

By my reading even if Wirral Council transfers the land to Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, these obligations are transferred too.

So considering the height of the proposed fire station, its proximity to neighbouring properties and windows on those properties that will face it how will this issue be overcome by Wirral Council and Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority?

Edited JB 23.10.17 to include response from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service below.

Since publication, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service have been in touch and stated the following, “The “Retained Land” detailed in Land Registry title number MS503610 does not include the land upon which Merseyside Fire & Rescue Authority have planning permission to build a new fire station.”

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  1. Funny you should mention enjoyment of light, John. I hear Councillor Foulkes and his wife enjoy the unusual light of Sorrento, Italy this time of year.

    • Cllr Foulkes was at the Planning Committee meeting yesterday evening, so he’s no longer enjoying an Italian holiday.

  2. John, without you throwing another spanner in the works Wirral council & MFR must be fuming & puts Councillor Foulkes a director of Magenta housing with a serious conflict of interest in voting for the fire station in the first place. No doubt this will prolong the plans but as usual our thanks go out to you for your sterling investigative journalism.

    • Thanks for your kind words John.

      Following the outcome of my stage 1 complaint, I’ve given my reasons why I disagree tonight and it’s been progressed to a stage 2 complaint.

  3. As usual John, you’re a star; shining light on the missed and forgotten and the dark, shady and smoke screened.

    • What surprised me is that this point hasn’t been mentioned in any of the reports about this matter that have gone to councillors.

      A six-figure sum of public money has been spent on the project so far, so I don’t understand why £3 wasn’t spent checking a copy of the title?