Meet the people behind Berrys – Marcus Blake

Published November 14th, 2016

Marcus Blake joined Berrys in 2011 as a Senior Practitioner. He has a background advising property owning clients on a broad spectrum of work, including compulsory purchase, valuations, sales and developments. Marcus has also been giving advice to property owners on all aspects of the upcoming HS2.

What does a normal day at Berrys look like?
There is honestly no such thing as a ‘normal’ day. A breadth of clients that spans from charities, farmers, a Formula One team, home owners and even the odd rock star all require bespoke care and management for each task I undertake. Each have different requirements and I enjoy a varied day that can include complex compensation negotiations for HS2 and road schemes, work on option and promotion agreements plus advising clients on unusual assets (from airfields to wind tunnels).

What makes Berrys different in your opinion?
I moved from a much larger firm to Berrys because I missed the ‘personal touch’ that Berrys provide for clients. Our clients are individuals – we each need to know and understand their requirements. Clients of larger firms often lose out on such bespoke personal service, instead being allocated to a ‘client manager’ and becoming just another name and address on the firm’s contact database.
What aspect do you enjoy most about your work?
I enjoy the detail of negotiating a good deal, whether for property compensation, future land development or sale of a property. We are here to ensure that we optimise the best price achievable, on the best terms, in the right timeframe, to suit the individual client’s needs. 

Have you got any funny/unusual stories that you’ve come across in your career at Berrys?
Last year I sold a former farm house near Towcester with its own 600 metre airstrip plus hangar. I had to organise for a number of potential purchasers to fly in for viewings. I felt like I was in air traffic control!

I am living near the HS2 rail route and I’m concerned that it will devalue my property, what can I do?
If your property is within the scheme’s ‘Safeguarded Area’ you should investigate whether you qualify for a ‘Blight Notice’. We can assist with this process. A Blight Notice would allow you to sell your home now at its unblighted value, plus extra payments from HS2 for stamp duty, removal costs, etc. If you are not within the Safeguarded Area then you may still qualify for another HS2 discretionary compensation scheme.

How is the HS2 going to affect property owners?
The 43 billion pound question! During the construction phase different properties may be affected further from the scheme as they may be located along the haul routes for transportation of materials into HS2. Once built, the visual and acoustic impact will often by dictated by local topography, existing buildings and whether the line is in a cutting, green tunnel or on a viaduct.

What can you do if the government has rejected your application for compensation?
If you are on Phase 2 or 2A of HS2 you may consider petitioning the House of Commons and if necessary the House of Lords when the relevant Hybrid Bill is being heard. Unfortunately, this stage has already passed for Phase 1. However, you can still make an application to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) for your claim for compensation to be heard by them. If you are successful with your property case then HS2 will follow the Tribunal’s decision for compensation.  
Speak to Marcus today if you require assistance on any of the above.