Compulsory purchase disputes on the rise, warns CAAV

Compulsory purchase of land is becoming an increasingly challenging area, with more infrastructure work and a growing number of issues created by contractors.

In principle, the authority acquiring land is responsible for the project to affected owners, but in practice contractors are taking on much of the workload, warns Jeremy Moody, Secretary and Adviser to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV). “Contractors want to get the job done as quickly and cheaply as possible, which can create difficulties for the landowners,” he explains. “As the owner’s legal relationship is with the acquiring authority, not the contractor, such difficulties can quickly escalate.”

This means it is more important than ever to appoint specialist, experienced advisers to handle advance negotiations, warns Mr Moody. “With a government that’s committed to developing infrastructure and several new roads and railways in the pipeline it’s vitally important to appoint someone who understands the procedures, will protect your interests, and argue for appropriate mitigation.”

To find an agent with the required skills and experience for rural work, landowners should check that they have passed the CAAV’s professional exam, which covers compulsory purchase, and that they have had relevant experience since then. “Only agents who have passed the exam and commit to lifelong learning can use the FAAV kitemark, indicating they are Fellows of the CAAV,” says Mr Moody. “We have 1600 Fellows across the country, and a searchable database on our website.”

The CAAV held a one-day briefing on compulsory purchase in Scotland on Thursday 28th April. Topics included lessons learned from the HS2 rail project, tax and legal implications, and the practicalities of compensation. “The Aberdeen Western Peripheral road is creating a lot of compulsory purchase work in Scotland, and there are more plans in the pipeline,” says Mr Moody. “This was an ideal opportunity to hear about the current issues for farmers and landowners, including the interaction with contractors, which can be such a thorny issue.”


Editors’ notes

The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) is a specialist professional body representing, qualifying and briefing over 2700 members practising in a diverse range of agricultural and rural work throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

CAAV members are agricultural and rural valuers who provide professional advice and valuation expertise on issues affecting the countryside from tenancy matters to sales and purchase of farms and land, from taxation and compulsory purchase to auctioneering, and from conservation issues to farming structures.