Landowners win appeal to boost blight compensation

A group of landowners have won a planning appeal that could boost their potential compensation if their property becomes subject to compulsory purchase.

Their land is situated in an area that Highways England is considering for development of a new route.

If the project were to go ahead, Highways England would be able to acquire the land using its compulsory purchase power.

The landowners served blight notices, which were accepted by Highways England.

The landowners then applied for a certificate of appropriate alternative development (CAAD) from the local authority under the Land Compensation Act 1961.

They asserted that had their land not been proposed to be acquired using compulsory purchase powers, planning permission could reasonably be expected to be granted for a development of nine family-sized homes.

However, instead of the proposed nine homes, the local planning authority issued a CAAD for the construction of 11 or 12 properties, subject to numerous obligations. These included a condition that 35% of the development should be affordable housing and that there should be financial contributions towards education of £9,505 for each unit.

The landowners appealed, claiming there was no obligation to provide affordable housing as this only comes into play for schemes of 10 or more units.

The Upper Tribunal amended the CAAD. It ruled that it was reasonable to expect that planning permission for nine dwellings would have been granted had it not been proposed to be acquired by Highways England.

However, as the landowners’ site was 0.67 hectares, they would not be able to avoid the local authority's affordable housing policy, which applied to sites of 0.5 hectares or more.

They would need to meet their obligations to provide affordable housing as well as an education contribution.

The grant of planning permission means that the landowners can expect a higher compensation figure if Highways England goes ahead with a compulsory purchase order.

Please contact us for more information about the legal aspects of planning and development.

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