A LEGAL expert believes landowners affected by HS2 can increase the amount of government compensation owed to them if they quickly submit planning applications now to improve their properties.
Iain Johnston, HS2 legal advisor at SGH Martineau, said: “Such applications could increase the value of the land in question which is why anyone considering submitting an application should do it now as this potentially will increase the amount of compensation received.
“You are entitled to operate your business as planned so you can take measures to enhance the value of a site.
“You can realistically adopt measures that do this up until the government triggers its compulsory purchase powers under the future hybrid bill (likely next year).”
He said there were still ‘many steps to be taken before construction begins, with several opportunities for people to still have their say’.
“However, there is only a certain amount of time for people to make plans and arrange their business and property dealings which will influence the amount of compensation they may receive. It is imperative that people start the ball rolling now.
“Taking various steps now to protect your interests and enhance your right to compensation is not a cynical approach but the right thing to do to counter-balance the hardship or blight that a project of this size and nature will undoubtedly cause.”
Mr Johnston added that although the route has been approved by ministers, it is not set in stone. “Due to its hugely controversial nature, the London to Birmingham route is still susceptible to legal challenge by judicial review by one of the many third party action groups.
“One or more of them may seek to challenge the decision in court on financial or business grounds; environmental concerns or inadequate consultation issues.
“However, such actions must be taken within three months of the decision and parties considering such actions must have a realistic case if they wish to challenge the decision at this stage.”