What is a wayleave?
I am often asked by developer clients, ‘what is a wayleave?’. Commonly land owners and developers will come across this term when dealing with utilities that cross their land.
Essentially a wayleave is a personal licence between two parties where the grantor provides rights for the grantee to access their land in order to carry out specified activities. In relation to utilities, a wayleave will usually permit the relevant company (the grantee) access to land to install, repair, maintain and replace their apparatus. Within the wayleave document, there will usually be some stipulations regarding access arrangements, notice, compensation for damage and indemnities.
Developers do not always give due consideration to the legal basis of utilities apparatus, which can often serve to constrain sites. Instead, it is common practice for developers to overlook the validity of a wayleave agreement and simply agree with the relevant utilities provider to pay to divert the apparatus, or develop around it, not realising that a wayleave can be terminated.
Wayleave agreements and the presence of utilities are often an afterthought and developers do not look to engage specialist professionals sufficiently early in the development process. Instructing professionals early cannot only assist in reducing delays relating to diversion works, but in some cases the costs can be passed across to the utilities provider, thereby greatly improving the viability and profitability of a scheme.
At Gateley Hamer our Utilities Compensation team is the market-leading provider of easements and wayleaves advice to the development sector. We save developers £millions in utility diversion costs, and during our 17 year history we have facilitated the delivery of thousands of additional units across the UK.
This post was written by Stuart Hastings, Associate, Specialist in Utilities & Compensation. If you have any questions about the legal basis of utilities apparatus constraining your development please contact a member of the team.