Compulsory Purchase

Our compulsory purchase experts help property owners secure a fair compensation deal and minimal disruption.

It can be a stressful and difficult time for a property owner or tenant if they are affected by a project carried out under compulsory purchase powers.

When the government, local council or a utility company serves the owner of a property with a compulsory purchase notice, it means that they have the legal right to buy or take rights over property that fall within a public or private construction project.

Powers can be used in the event of airport expansions, installation of electricity pylons and cables, flood defence works, housing developments, telecoms sites, rail- or road-building projects, sewage, water or gas pipe schemes.

Understanding the powers and rights

A compulsory purchase notice can be confusing as neighbours are often served notices with differing expiry dates.

Landowners face the challenge of understanding the extent of the powers of the acquiring authority and their own rights, together with establishing the detail of when, how and what compensation can be claimed.

Assessing the full impact of works

Advice is critical to ensure that authorities are only acting within their powers and that any impact is compensated for in a fair manner.

We also work hard to make sure that plans are put in place to make the process as least disruptive as possible.

Our experts will look at the compulsory purchase order or statutory notice to carry out works and work out the most suitable response.

In consultation with the client and using our local experience and knowledge, as well as the firm's broad experience of compulsory purchases all over the UK, we will inform the authority of the projected effects of the scheme.

This can include diminished enjoyment of residential property, ability to work farmland during and after the works, and any impact on wildlife or conservation schemes which are already in place.

Manage the negative effects of a Compulsory Purchase Order

We will often ask for accommodation works which can help limit adverse effects of compulsory purchase schemes on property and might include building an underpass to access severed land or tree planting to lessen traffic noise.

We also have a long track record of advising property owners and tenants on statutory easements, injurious affection of retained land, claims with land taken and ancillary licences for contractors’ compounds and temporary working areas.

Complex legislative framework

Compulsory purchase is an increasingly challenging process as a modernisation of the primary legislation is long overdue and privatisation of key services over the last 30 years has handed powers to a range of private companies.

Acquiring authorities undertake works through a range of powers whether it be rights to enter land to maintain existing pipes, converting a wayleave into a permanent legal right, through to a Development Consent Order for a National Infrastructure Project such as a new railway or road.