Landowners must take advice after confirmation that HS2 will definitely go ahead, advises the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV).
Despite a number of concerns thrown up by the Oakervee Review, the controversial London to Manchester and Leeds line has been given the Government’s approval , meaning landowners affected by the project, who have faced months of uncertainty, must now act to minimise the impact on their businesses.
“Some land and property owners were hoping that HS2 would simply go away,” says Kate Russell, policy adviser to the CAAV. “However, the decision to proceed with the largest infrastructure project in the country will mean huge disruption for many along the route, but the announcement brings to an end a period of uncertainty which made it very difficult for anyone to plan ahead.
“With the status of the overall project now clear, those affected need to actively engage with HS2 in order to understand what will happen and when.”
Landowners now have a period to assess the likely impact on their businesses during the review of Phase 2B, which is likely to delay further work on that part of the scheme for about six months, explains Kate. “This gives a window of opportunity for farmers and landowners to fully consider how the railway and its construction might affect their business. It is a good time to have detailed conversations with professional advisers, although it is important to note that the design of this part of the scheme is at a very early stage.”
Landowners and occupiers should look at who owns and occupies the land likely to be affected. “In farming partnerships the two may not always be aligned. This can cause complications in claiming compensation.”
It is vital to determine how long the farm will be viable for. “Will it be viable during construction as well as when the scheme is completed? Construction may require large areas of land to be taken, so landowners need to be realistic about this,” advises Ms Russell.
Another area to consider is how environmental mitigation work could affect the property, she adds. “HS2 will need to relocate ponds, plant new woodlands and create noise mitigation bunds – all on land belonging to farmers and landowners.”
This announcement confirms that the scheme will go ahead, so now it is time for anyone affected to take the matter seriously, says Ms Russell. “Although the decision may not be the one some hoped for, the fact that the project is going ahead cannot be avoided. However, making the best of the situation will require professional advice as early into the scheme as possible. This could reduce the impact on the business and minimise the stress on those involved.”
For more information visit www.caav.org.uk.