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Council Escapes £600,000 Compulsory Purchase Bill


The former owners of a strip of land who claimed almost £600,000 in compensation after it was compulsorily acquired to make way for a road improvement scheme will receive only a small fraction of that sum following an Upper Tribunal (UT) ruling.

The narrow strip formed the outer edge of a large industrial site but itself measured only about 1.9 acres in total. After it was compulsorily purchased by Kent County Council, its former owners argued that it was worth £383,557. However, the Council said that it should be valued as scrubland or woodland adjacent to an existing road.

Ruling in the Council’s favour on that issue, the UT noted that the strip stood to be valued on the hypothetical basis that it had been sold on the open market by a willing seller. Lying outside the boundary fence of the industrial site, it had been planted with a screen of trees and shrubs and the UT ruled that it should be viewed as roadside or amenity land. On that basis, the strip was valued at £38,545.

The former owners had also claimed further substantial sums to reflect, amongst other things, disturbance, time spent by directors on dealing with the issue and alleged ‘injurious affection’ of the retained land. Their claim came to more than £594,000; however, the UT awarded a total under all heads of £67,008.