A landowner has won a landmark tribunal on compensation rights against HS2 Ltd, who were trying to claim that not all of their landholding should be bought out by Government. The Lands Tribunal has come down in favour of an unnamed Landowner after two day hearing in Royal Courts of Justice.
Basically, the reason for the case being brought is that Government had tried to insist that the rural equestrian property in Staffordshire should be treated as two different properties, because there was a minor road separating the landholding into two plots, despite the fact that this was clearly a business that would be untenable without possession of both sections of land.
It is a generally accepted rule that when a compulsory purchase order asks for part of a property, that a blight notice can be issued for the entire property, and the developer – in this case the Government – has to buy the whole property at market rate.
The claimants had submitted a blight notice under the Express Purchase Scheme, requesting HS2 Ltd to acquire the whole of the property. However, Government had argued that because there was a minor country lane separating the property into two parts, and they only needed to take land on one side of that country lane, then they should be allowed to get away with only buying the bit they needed, leaving the landowner with a parcel of land which would be useless for the purpose of their business.
The President of the Upper Tribunal, the Hon. Sir David Holgate, rejected this argument and ruled that the compensation claim should adhere with normal practice and all of their land should be treated as one plot
Iain Johnston of Beswicks Legal said:
“Our clients are over the moon with the outcome of the case and will now have the comfort of knowing that all of their land will be acquired by HS2 and they will be properly and suitably compensated. The decision may well trigger a different approach to a number of potential blight claims and the claim may be seen by some claimants and their advisers as a useful guide to assessing what can or cannot be included within a blight claim”.
Roger Bedson of Hinson Parry added:
“It is very interesting that leading cases on this matter refer to a need for claimants and their advisers to use a large element of ‘professional common sense’. I am sure that common sense has now prevailed and that our clients can now be treated fairly just as the Express Purchase Scheme intended”.
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