18th April 2017
Iain Johnston of Beswicks Legal together with Roger Bedson of Hinson Parry and Company Chartered Surveyors has just won the first Lands Tribunal case against HS2 and the Secretary of State for Transport.
After a two day hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in London, the decision may now be seen as setting a precedent for other similar claims being pursued against HS2. The case involved a rural equestrian property in Staffordshire where a substantial part of the claimants’ land was due to be acquired by HS2. The clients’ landholding was bisected by a minor public highway and a blight notice under the Express Purchase Scheme was submitted to request HS2 acquire the whole of the property.
The Secretary of State for Transport contended that the landholding should be treated as two separate parcels (or hereditaments) and that the blight application should only relate to the part of the land that would physically be taken for the purposes of the rail scheme. This would have had a serious detrimental impact on the clients’ land and property and their compensation claim.
Beswicks Legal and Hinson Parry instructed Timothy Morshead QC of Landmark Chambers to advise. Counsel provided impressive advice and advocacy, and expert evidence was given at the trial by Roger Bedson over the two day hearing.
The President of the Upper Tribunal, the Hon. Sir David Holgate, rejected the Secretary of State for Transport’s argument and indicated that the clients’ compensation claim should incorporate all the relevant land to be treated as one plot (or one hereditament). The Upper Tribunal took into account relevant factors as to how the clients actually used their landholding in reaching their decision.
Iain comments “our clients are over the moon with the outcome of the case and will now have the comfort of knowing that all of their land will be acquired by HS2 and they will be properly and suitably compensated. The decision may well trigger a different approach to a number of potential blight claims and the claim may be seen by some claimants and their advisers as a useful guide to assessing what can or cannot be included within a blight claim”.
Roger Bedson of Hinson Parry and Company who acted for the claimants throughout made reference to the Woolway case which was instrumental in defining ‘a hereditament’.
“It is very interesting” says Roger “that leading cases on this matter refer to a need for claimants and their advisers to use a large element of ‘professional common sense’. I am sure that common sense has now prevailed and that our clients can now be treated fairly just as the Express Purchase Scheme intended”.