Land Compulsorily Purchased? You Are Entitled to Just Compensation

If your land has been compulsorily purchased to make way for a public infrastructure project, you are entitled to full and fair compensation. Local authorities may be keen to pay as little as possible in such cases but, as an Upper Tribunal (UT) ruling showed, you are not required to take their lowest offer.

The case concerned a plot of land measuring just over 10 acres, most of which was used for grazing. Its owners were offered less than £300,000 in compensation after it was compulsorily acquired by a local authority to make way for an airport relief road. Dissatisfied with that offer, the owners sought a determination from the UT.

Ruling on the matter, the UT noted that the plot was in the Green Belt. Given the scarcity of land allocated for the construction of new homes in the area, however, there was a likelihood that Green Belt sites would at some point need to be freed for development in order to meet government housing targets.

Demand for housing was showing no signs of slackening, but the UT found that the plot nevertheless made a strong contribution to Green Belt purposes in checking the unrestricted sprawl of the large built-up area that it adjoined. The prospects of the plot's development were therefore quite remote.

A prospective open market purchaser of the plot would nevertheless have an eye to the longer-term future. Such a purchaser would not discount from his bid the hope that the plot might one day benefit from residential planning permission. The UT ruled that the owners were entitled to a total of £584,971 in compensation.