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Newton Abbot Co-operative Society Ltd v Williamson and Treadgold (1952) Ch 286

Property law – Covenant restricting the use of land

Facts

A vendor, who was an ironmonger, sold part of a property to a purchaser with the inclusion of a covenant which restricted the purchaser from carrying out the business of an ironmonger on the premises, as it was based opposite her own ironmonger business. Many years later, the vendor died and vested the property into her son and he carried on the business as part of a co-operative society. The occupiers of the purchased property, which was subject to the original covenant, also began to undertake ironmongery on the property, in contravention of the restrictive covenant. The plaintiff subsequently sought an injunction to prevent this.  

Issue

The court was required to decide whether the covenant, which was created in the initial transaction, could be enforced by her son against the purchasers of the property who were now using the property as ironmongers. If the covenant existed, the court had to consider whether it could be annexed to the land. In order to achieve this, the court was required to identify the land which was to be benefited by the covenant.

Held

The court emphasised the importance of clearly identifying the land which was to be subject to a restrictive if they wished it to run with the land. The court found that the benefit of the covenant was that it was held in trust by the executors of his mother’s will. Moreover, the covenant could be assigned as it was not there to solely benefit the son’s business. The court found that the plaintiff was able to succeed and invoke an injunction enforcing the restrictive covenant.


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