PROFESSIONAL advice when dealing with compulsory purchase transactions is vital to ensure the best result for all involved, according to the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).

Compulsory purchase can be a difficult process, but advisers can make all the difference.

“The law which allows the state to acquire property against an owner’s will is complex and the stakes are high – homes and businesses are at risk,” said Kate Russell, policy and technical adviser at the CAAV. “It’s important that both sides – the acquirer and the claimant – get good advice from practitioners.”

In rural areas, where the nature of modern farming businesses means that compensation claims for compulsory purchase schemes can be very complex, this is especially important, she explains.

“It is rare for the whole farm to be bought outright; frequently only part of the farm is acquired and so there can be adverse impacts on the remaining land.”

To add to this, current environmental requirements can mean that a farmer may also lose land to environmental mitigation works, said Ms Russell. “This can be more than that lost to the compulsory purchase scheme in the first place. On HS2 for example, many landowners will lose relatively little land to the railway itself, but a huge amount more will be taken to create new wildlife habitats, as bunds to reduce noise, or to plant woodland to screen the visual impact.”

The CAAV’s latest publication, Good Practice in Statutory Compensation Claims gives an update on recent changes and sets guidance for the management of claims and clients.

“Claimants need to feel that their concerns are heard and are being addressed, and need reliable information about the property and the claim. Agricultural valuers have a crucial role to play in helping to maintain good and effective communication.

“Acquiring authorities need to be properly advised so that they understand the nature of the land and property being acquired and the need for early engagement with those affected.

“Good advice can help the scheme proceed more smoothly, more quickly and so keep costs down.”