Recently we have been hearing a lot about new schemes such as Hinkley  C, HS2, Heathrow's 3rd runway and improvements to the A303 and A358;  all of which are going to affect homes, land and businesses located  around their sites. Meanwhile in the background the government has been  making changes to the ways in which these and other less high profile schemes for housing and infrastructure will be dealt with by the  acquiring authorities. "Their stated aims are to speed up the process of  acquisition and compensation whilst making it fairer for those affected. However it will still be the objective of the acquiring  authority to deliver the scheme at best value for money. It is after all, taxpayers' money that they are spending," notes Graeme Biffen,  MRICS FAAV surveyor with Greenslade Taylor Hunt.

It is vital therefore that anyone who finds their home, land or business caught up  in a scheme obtains professional advice at the earliest opportunity. This should be a surveyor with experience in these matters whose aim  will be to ensure that you suffer no financial loss as a result of the  scheme and that your retained interest is put into the best possible  situation by agreed accommodation works. The cost of professional fees  are covered by the authority as long as they are deemed reasonable. This is important as it means that no one affected by a scheme has to fend  for themselves as compensation claims can become very complex as they  build up over the period of time from initial notification to the aftermath of the completed works when the full impact becomes apparent.

"The background to the claim will involve ongoing three-way communication between yourself, your surveyor and the authority to  ensure that a thorough knowledge of your property and situation is  gained and that any mitigation that is sensible is carried out by you  whilst any reasonable accommodation works are done by the authority.  Facts are the basis of the claim that your surveyor will submit and you  will need to play your part in keeping full records of the facts such as  the day by day effects of the works being carried out, incidents and expenses including your own time spent sorting out any problems," adds Graeme.

Claims for an Advanced Payment of compensation which is a statutory right are necessarily backed up by factual evidence and will also  involve negotiation. To reach a final settlement on the 'Heads of Claim' which comprise the Value of Property Acquired, Injurious Affection  & Severance to retained property, Disturbance & Loss plus  Professional Fees will involve further complex negotiations. There is also compensation available for those who have no land taken for the scheme but whose property is affected by physical factors such as noise, lights, dust and vibration.
These are known as Part 1 Claims (from the  Land Compensation Act 1973). The procedures are in place to enable  anyone affected by a scheme to obtain fair recompense and with the best advice this can be achieved.

Anyone who finds themselves affected by a scheme can contact Graeme on 01884 243000 or email graeme.biffen@gth.net