Compulsory Purchase Orders

There has been a steady increase in the number of compulsory purchase orders over recent years particularly impacting those who own or run an agricultural business. After numerous years of public debate, HS2 – the high-speed rail link which connects London together with Birmingham and is earmarked to also link Manchester, Leeds and Crewe has now been approved by the Government with completion set for 2028.

In order for the rail link to be achievable, HS2 and other bodies are granted authority to take land without the owner’s consent through the use of legal powers known as ‘Compulsory Purchase’, albeit not without compensating landowners and tenant farmers for the land taken away.

However, many landowners and businesses still do not know the fate of their land, particularly those found between Crewe, Manchester and Leeds. Quantifying the impact of damages through the loss of land can be complex and often daunting for business owners. It is therefore vital for those business owners to give themselves ample time to think about their options, particularly where it is necessary to relocate premises and to fully consider the impact this may have on their income streams.

Unfortunately, relocating a farm is much easier said than done and does not come without the apparent issue of quantifying a value of a business which has been forced to cease operations.

As per any claim for compensation, the success rate will greatly depend on the quality of evidence brought forward. A claim for compensation has a greater possibility of success if it has been well constructed and verified by a third party. Any evidence attained at the time of the event will offer greater significance compared to evidence which has been reconstructed once compensation has been distributed. Additionally, a claim will no doubt be scrutinised and therefore concrete evidence must be provided in order to withstand any challenge which arises.

It is important that any farmers or landowners faced with a compulsory purchase order take professional advice and that any advice reasonably incurred to the business is compensated by the Acquiring Authority.

There is no doubt, that it is a very difficult and emotional period for any business facing a compulsory purchase order and it is therefore imperative that anyone impacted receives full and fair compensation for all their losses.

If you would like further advice on a compulsory purchase order or would like us to act for you in any land transaction which involves one, please contact Frank Smith & Co Solicitors on 01242 801748 or www.franksmithandco.com.

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