Compensating for HS2; Iain Johnston, Partner and Head of the Planning & Environmental Team at Law Firm Martineau, Explains a Few of the Many Options Available to Those Affected by HS2 - and How to Maximise Possible Compensation

The Birmingham Post (England), February 17, 2011 | Go to article overview

Compensating for HS2; Iain Johnston, Partner and Head of the Planning & Environmental Team at Law Firm Martineau, Explains a Few of the Many Options Available to Those Affected by HS2 - and How to Maximise Possible Compensation


Byline: Iain Johnston

The Government's consultation exercise on the 'preferred HS2 route' between London and Birmingham will commence this month, when it will also publish its revised business case. Many effected parties will feel there is nothing that can be done to oppose the scheme or that it will be many years before they have to consider the effect of any compulsory purchase orders.

However, the long drawn out timescales for implementation of HS2 and the Government's Hybrid Bill should not mean businesses and landowners sit back and give up on the development of their business or land, putting on hold any measures designed to protect or enhance any eventual compensation claim in the future. Because it will be years before any compulsory purchase rights or blight measures take effect, there a number of important tactical measures that businesses and landowners can take now to maximise the compensation they may be entitled to under the scheme..

Until the CPO elements of the proposed Hybrid Bill are formalised, businesses, institutional investors and landowners are perfectly entitled to carry on running their businesses and to pursue business plans and business opportunities on the basis that the HS2 scheme may never actually proceed. Currently, the potential for compulsory purchase is 'no more than a gleam in the eye of a tiger which has not yet been given the key to the cage door'.

Established principles in compulsory purchase law indicate that an effected party should be compensated fairly and fully for their loss. The principle of equivalence indicates that the party should be no worse off and no better off in financial terms after the acquisition, than before. Under standard compensation rules any assessment of compensation will consider the exploitation potential of an area of land in assessing its value and take into account not only the present purpose to which the land is used but also any other more beneficial purpose that the land could be put to.

Because compensation is essentially based on the market value of the land, there are certain tactical measures that can be taken to improve the level of compensation obtained should the scheme go ahead.

For example a landowner could seek planning permission for development on the affected land or an allocation in the Local Development Framework.

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Compensating for HS2; Iain Johnston, Partner and Head of the Planning & Environmental Team at Law Firm Martineau, Explains a Few of the Many Options Available to Those Affected by HS2 - and How to Maximise Possible Compensation
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