The High-Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Act 2021 received Royal Assent on 11 February 2021 giving HS2 full powers to press on with constructing the second part of the line from Birmingham (Fradley) to Crewe.
Once the government gave the whole project the green light after accepting the Oakervee Report’s recommendation to proceed a year ago, all those landowners, businesses and individuals affected by Phase 2a have been facing the inevitability of this announcement. With the passing of the Act, HS2 now has the statutory power to compulsorily purchase land and property required for the building of the line. Compulsory purchase powers remain in place for five years from the date the Act granting them receives Royal Assent which means that for Phase 2a, all Compulsory Purchase notices (CPOs) must be served by February 2026.
Compulsory purchase – what it means for you
The law on Compulsory Purchase is complex and opaque. You will be able to claim compensation under various heads of claim if your land and / or buildings are subject to compulsory purchase. First, you can claim the open market value of the land that is taken. The land will be valued as if there was no HS2 i.e. its unblighted value on the open market. Other categories of claim include Severance and Injurious Affection which includes the depreciation in the value of land retained where only part of your land holding is acquired, Disturbance, and your reasonable professional fees incurred in preparing and negotiating a compensation settlement, and for any conveyancing costs.
The purchasing authority, HS2 Limited, is spending public money and is thus compelled to minimise the amount of compensation paid where possible. It is one of HS2’s stated objectives to acquire property at a price that is fair to both the owners, other interested parties, and the taxpayer. Inevitably, in the interests of the latter, this does mean that it will drive a hard bargain. Although this can be a bruising process for landowners and businesses, we have had considerable success in advising on, and tackling, the legal obstacles that may otherwise limit higher valuations to ensure better settlements for our clients.
How we can help you
Our HS2 advisory team has been working closely for several years with people and businesses affected by the line, often in partnership with other professional advisers. Our considerable experience of dealing with HS2 has revealed that negotiations relating to compensation, whether under CPO or other available schemes are arduous. Ensuring that you receive what you are entitled to can be a tortuous process and the qualification bar has been set deliberately high.
We are in no doubt that this is an extraordinarily emotional issue for those affected and we are also aware that trying to minimise the associated costs is also very important. Nonetheless, our track record in successfully negotiating with HS2 speaks for itself: as an example, 85% of applications we have submitted under the Need to Sell scheme have been successful compared with an average success rate of 40%. We can advise on all the available compensation claims, including blight applications and applications under the discretionary compensation schemes, so if you have any queries or would like to have an initial discussion on any of these matters, please call and we’d be delighted to help.