Take action now to protect land and property on HS2 route
Published March 12th, 2013
Farmers and landowners likely to be affected by the proposed High Speed Rail northern link should be taking action now to protect their property and assets from any potential damage caused by the line.
Even though the Phase 2 route has not been confirmed, property owners should be keeping records and commissioning a Red Book valuation now so that satisfactory compensation can be claimed.
The advice was given by Graham Bowcock, corporate partner with Berrys at Northwich, to more than 100 people attending two HS2 seminars held at Crewe and Acton Trussell, Stafford on March 4.
“While there is no public compensation money available at the moment for Phase 2, we are advising people to be prepared making sure they have accounts, records and documents in place when the time comes,” Graham advised.
“Normally you would keep financial accounts for six year but with HS2 you might be arguing compensation in 20 years time so keep all records and documents safe until HS2 has been finalised.
“Retain all records of discussions with you bank and your landlord too as we don’t know what people are going to need in the future.”
In general, the compensation regime is better for those who have land or property taken and any claims can include value of property, fees and expenses, severance and injurious affection and disturbance.
“A claimant is entitled to be put in the same position as they were prior to the scheme so in terms of the value of a property this should be the full worth of the land or property had the line not crossed through it,” Graham said.
“Hence we are recommending that land and property owners have a Red Book Valuation done now by a registered charted surveyor. It won’t be sufficient just to have an estate agent’s appraisal.
“The valuation report should include details of any development potential as well as this may well increase the value of the claim.”
Farmers should also consider any plans for expansion and if these have been blighted by the prospect of the rail line as you may be entitled to claim for losses of income.
“Another consideration at this stage will be the ownership structure of the farm. It may be that restructuring will ensure a better compensation deal,” he said.
“If a field on your farm is owned by your granny for example, it might be opportune to amalgamate ownership of this land into the main farm so that the field is part of the whole farm in terms of eligibility for compensation.”
He said announcement of HS2 phase 2 is a massive concern to farmers and land and property owners in the area.
“We are guessing the Government will safeguard the line in about 18 months time so there will be months of uncertainly for people along the route and even when it is safeguarded it is likely to be 2016 at the earliest before they have any powers to take your property.”
The HS2 seminars were organised jointly by Berrys, the CLA and Brabners Chaffe Street. Drawing on experience of phase 1, Andrew Shirley, CLA Chief Surveyor outlined the Exceptional Hardship Scheme and Iain Johnston, Head of Planning at Brabners Chaffe Street detailed the Phase 2 implementation timetable, key procedural experience from the Phase 1 routes and how to influence and change the route by petition.
For advice on HS2 or other compensation matters contact Graham Bowcock on 01606 49200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.