Compulsory purchase

Compulsory purchase and you

Due to all the planned infrastructure projects, compulsory purchase now really matters to landowners. Whether you are directly affected by a compulsory purchase order or you have the potential for new infrastructure on your land – be that a road, railway line, electricity pylon, BT pole or gas pipe – the value of your land will be reduced and you should be a member of the CLA.

Why is compulsory purchase such a problem?

The current compulsory purchase laws date back to Victorian times and are an amalgamation of over 40 different Acts of Parliament. They allow acquiring authorities – be that Government or authorised businesses – to take advantage of your legal position and, if you are not careful, overzealous acquirers can undercut the true value of compensation and then go on to delay payment for many years. You are left with your land blighted and the value of your holding considerably reduced.

Free advice for members

There is no doubt that the current system is unfair, out of date and acts in favour of the acquirer. This is why the CLA is currently fighting to change the system and protect the landowner. Until this can be done the CLA is working to defend its members’ interests by all possible means.

As a CLA member you are entitled to free, unbiased professional advice from some of the leading experts in the field. The CLA also uses it strength to negotiate advisory or base valuations for some utilities (eg BT Openreach or Electricity Wayleaves). This does not stop members negotiating a higher payment, but provides a baseline payment which may reduce the need for individual negotiation.

Often there is little prior notice of a project and you may need to act quickly to protect your position. Even if there is only a chance of this happening on your land you should be a member of the CLA. You can then seek free impartial professional advice to clarify where the law stands and to ensure that you are aware of your legal rights.

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What is the CLA doing about it?

We are campaigning vigorously for a revised system that will cost no more, be fairer, speed up the whole system and lead to fewer disputes. This is now even more urgent given the Government’s focus on new infrastructure and major projects such as High Speed 2. The CLA is lobbying for a Duty of Care, enforced and supervised by an Independent Person and has made specific recommendations to Government at all levels. This will ensure landowners affected by compulsory purchase have a far stronger voice in their negotiations with the acquirer and can obtain fairer, faster financial compensation. The key elements of the recommendations are:

1. Establishing a legally enforceable Code of Practice
2. Securing fair open market valuations
3. Offsetting the impact of blight through a Property Bond Scheme
4. Introducing a legal obligation to return surplus land

Protecting your best interests

Compulsory purchase is just one of the areas where the CLA is working to influence Government solely on behalf of owners of rural land, property and business. There are many other organisations spending millions on lobbying to pursue their own agendas and all landowners, from the smallest acreage to the largest estate, need to act together vigorously to defend our interests. Nobody is doing more than the CLA to manage the impact on the value of land – both in the short and long term.

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Anyone who owns rural land will benefit from joining the CLA

We are effective at influencing decision-makers at EU, national and local levels. As a CLA member you can add your voice. In addition, you can receive advice and support that will help protect and enhance your assets. Whatever the value of your rural land, business and property interests, the CLA subscription represents only a fraction of its true value and is your best insurance for the future.

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