The public consultation on the proposals to upgrade the Carland Cross to Chiverton Cross section of the A30 has now closed. So what happens next?
The consultation process to date will have allowed those affected by the scheme to ascertain the direct and indirect impacts of the current proposals on their land, property and business. Some landowners and occupiers will be more greatly affected than others and be extremely concerned about the affects of the proposed scheme on them.
Highway England will be carefully considering all responses and representations submitted throughout the consultation period, alongside their own technical data, with a view to announcing a preferred route which Highways England anticipate will be made in Spring 2017. This will trigger the formal pre-application stage of the development consent process under the Planning Act 2008.
The making of a ‘preferred route’ announcement will usually be accompanied by registration of that route, with the local planning authority, to protect it from conflicting development.
At this point it is worth considering two particular issues; namely Blight and Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development.
Blight is where the value of a property is reduced by the threat of compulsory purchase for a public purpose. In these circumstances certain qualifying persons may serve a blight notice requiring the appropriate authority (in this case Highways England) to acquire their property. Before serving a blight notice a claimant must have made reasonable endeavours to sell their interest in the property and have been unable to do so or unable to do so except at a price substantially lower than would be expected in the absence of blight. Once a blight notice has been served Highways England may accept it and proceed to acquire the property in which case the usual compulsory purchase rules will apply. Alternatively they may object to the blight notice by serving counter-notice. They must do this within two months of receiving the notice. If Highways England do not serve counter-notice within two months the blight notice is automatically deemed to be accepted. If there is a dispute over the validity of a blight notice then the matter may be referred for determination to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (formerly the Lands Tribunal).
If your property is impacted by but is not actually to be acquired for the proposed scheme then different rules apply. Highways England are not obliged to acquire properties in these circumstances although they do generally operate a discretionary purchase scheme for those owners who have an urgent need to move but are unable to do so or are unable to do so at except at a price substantially lower than would be expected because of the effects of the scheme.
Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development
Any person whose land is being acquired compulsorily has the right to claim compensation. The basic principle is that compensation is based on open market value, which may include any potential development value. Existing planning permissions will be taken into account when determining open market value, as a matter of course, but certain assumptions may have to be made as to the possibility of obtaining planning permission had there been no compulsory purchase affecting the land. To assist in proving that potential development would increase the open market value an application for a ‘certificate of appropriate alternative development’ can be made to the local planning authority. Where a certificate is issued, the permissions indicated in the certificate, are to be assumed to have been granted for the purposes of assessing compensation. Where the certificate is refused an appeal can be made to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
Further advice in relation to wider compensation issues will be included in future factsheets.
Tim Walmsley is a Senior Associate in our Commercial Property Team. If you would like to discuss the issues raised in this article please do get in touch by telephone 01872 265104 or email firstname.lastname@example.org