Land value ruling favours council
The UK Supreme Court has allowed a Scottish council to block the sale of a golf course.
North Lanarkshire Council had been in dispute with Multi-Link Leisure over the price of land near Cumbernauld.
The firm had hoped to acquire the 84-acre site for just 10% of its potential £5m value.
After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court agreed with the council that, despite a contract with Multi-Link, it did not need to sell the land.
In 1998/99, North Lanarkshire Council agreed to lease land at East Waterhead Farm, near Palacerigg Country Park in Cumbernauld, to Multi-Link Leisure Developments, for a pay-and-play golf course.
The lease contained an option for the company to purchase the land.
Multi-Link argued the land should be valued based on its current value as a golf course which was £500,000.
The council's lawyers, Dundas & Wilson, argued that the valuation should also include its potential future use or "hope value".
If the land was to be used for future residential development, it was estimated its value would be about £5m.
Iain Doran, senior partner of Dundas & Wilson's property group, said: "This decision is not just a great result for North Lanarkshire Council - but also for other local authorities reviewing development deals and property values.
"This decision will mean significant future revenues can be protected and directed back into public services."
Multi-Link lost the case in the Court of Session at the beginning of this year but appealed to the Supreme Court.
The case was heard in September and the judgment was handed down on Wednesday.
The council said that because Multi-Link had failed to offer the higher valuation it had now lost the ability to buy the land completely.
Ian Nisbet, head of property services at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "This is a hugely important result for North Lanarkshire as well as the council, so we couldn't be more delighted with the outcome of this case."