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What to do if you receive a Compulsory Purchase Order Notice

A plan of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Scheme as proposed by the Highways Agency in 2013

As the widening of the A14 looms larger, it is timely to consider the effect of service of a CPO Notice on land-owners by an acquiring authority.

Compulsory purchase powers enable acquiring authorities to compulsorily purchase land to carry out a function which is in the public interest. Most commonly they relate to new roads, road widening or installation of other infrastructure. The positive element is that anyone whose land is acquired under such an order is generally entitled to compensation.

Before a Compulsory Purchase Order (‘CPO’) is made, the acquiring authority needs to issue a notice stating the effects of the Order on every ‘qualifying person’, being:

  • Every owner, leaseholder, tenant and occupier of any land comprised in the CPO; and
  • Any other individual who could have a right to compensation because either they have rights attached to the land to be acquired, or the value of their own land will be reduced as a result of works being carried out on land acquired under the CPO.

Once a Notice has been received or fixed to your land, you have the option to object. Every person who receives a notice is entitled to lodge an objection to the order, but any such objection must be entered within the period specified within the notice itself. If objections to the CPO are received, a local enquiry may be held.

Following the enquiry, a decision letter will be issued. If it is decided that the CPO is to be confirmed, then it is important that you begin to keep a record of any expenses and losses you incur from this date as you could be able to recover these as part of your claim for compensation.

How compensation is calculated

Compensation following acquisition of land is calculated on the basis that you as a landowner should not be in any better or worse financial position than you were prior to the acquisition.

A plan of the Cambridge to Huntingdon Scheme as proposed by the Highways Agency in 2013

The Cambridge to Huntingdon Scheme as proposed by the Highways Agency in 2013

In order to assess the level of compensation that you are entitled to, your land will be subject to an open market valuation on the date that the acquiring authority takes possession. However, it’s not just the value of your land that you can claim for. Claims can also be submitted for:

  • Disturbance – payable to compensate the actual disruption in occupation
  • Surveyor’s fees
  • Solicitor’s fees

Where only part of the land is taken by the acquiring authority, you could also be entitled to compensation for what is known as ‘severance’, and ‘injurious affection’.

Severance occurs where the land acquired diminishes the value of the land retained. This is most commonly seen where some land is taken, leaving behind a residual parcel that it is not viable to farm.

Injurious affection looks at the impact of the scheme for which the land was acquired upon the whole of the remaining farm holding. In some cases the scheme could have a positive impact upon neighbouring land and no compensation under this heading will be available.

By Lucy Harrison, Commercial Property Solicitor contact Lucy on 01223 417260

Disclaimer: While we do all that is possible in terms of ensuring its accuracy, this blog contains general information only. Nothing in these pages constitutes legal advice. You need to consult a suitably qualified lawyer from the firm on any specific legal problem or matter.

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