14 November 2012

Compulsory Purchase Orders or CPOs are particularly prevalent in Northern Ireland at present with a total of 42 large-scale road upgrading schemes currently under construction or planned within the next ten years. It is acknowledged widely that upgrading our ageing road network has a key role to play in assisting efforts to return Northern Ireland to economic growth. 

Although Infrastructure is regarded as a key driver in terms of attracting inward investment, Northern Ireland has fallen somewhat behind its neighbour, the Republic of Ireland, mainly due to the influx of European Union funding from which the Republic benefited as a direct result of its signing up to the single European currency.  That said, the improvement of road links with our closest EU neighbour can only benefit Northern Ireland, which is why the planned upgrading of the A5 Omagh to Derry road due to commence within the next 12 months is to be welcomed.

Any large- scale road scheme will inevitably result in a number of CPOs.  A claim for compensation may be submitted potentially for a number of reasons.  These include land taken (whether it includes all or a small portion of a claimant’s lands), a claim for temporary disturbance sustained as a result of being disturbed from the occupation of a property and in respect of a diminution in market value as a result of the severance of lands.  It is also possible to negotiate a claim if it can be proven that the construction of a scheme has had a detrimental effect on the value of the claimant’s property: this is known as injurious affection.

Claimants have the option of employing a professional advisor.  An experienced surveyor will ensure that claimants are fully compensated for their loss due to the former’s  working knowledge of the relevant legislation, case law and access to up- to- date market data.  On a larger scheme, a surveyor can represent a number of claimants thereby guaranteeing a consistent and succinct approach.  One should note that the acquiring authority will pay the surveyor’s and other professionals’ reasonable fees incurred whilst negotiating claims although it is essential that you agree a fee with your surveyor prior to incurring any fees.   This will ensure that unpleasant surprises do not arise when an instruction is complete!

It is in the best interests of all of us within Northern Ireland to see a return to economic growth.  The aim of negotiating compensation for a CPO is not to impinge on future development, which may assist with this.  It is merely to ensure that a fair deal be negotiated for all parties as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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