Disputed compensation – Compulsory purchase – Land acquired for rapid transport scheme – Planning assumptions ignored – Hope value relied on – Severance for remaining land – Land Compensation (Scotland) Act 1963

Young v Edinburgh City Council
27 March 2001

Part of the claimant’s farm was acquired for the construction of the CERT rapid transport scheme from Edinburgh Airport to the City centre. The land was all within the Edinburgh Green Belt and no attempt was made by the claimant to show that any planning assumption in terms of the 1963 Act could be made. He accepted that a Certificate of Appropriate Alternative Development would be negative. Instead he relied on expert evidence of an open market in land in the locality populated by investors prepared to speculate on future changes to planning policy in an area under particular pressure for development related to the expansion of Edinburgh and the growth of the Airport. The claimant relied on transactions in the locality of land, in the Green Belt without any planning permission, and of other evidence of speculator interest and land holding throughout an extensive area.

The acquiring authority argued that in the absence of any permissible assumptions under the 1963 Act there was no basis for any value other than agricultural for the subjects. They claimed that any transactions at prices above existing use value could be explained by planning uncertainty that had now been removed or by reference to the scheme underlying the acquisition. In the absence of any planning assumptions under the Act and in a ‘plan-led’ world they claimed that it was not possible to determine any end use for the subjects and consequently impossible to value them for anything other than agricultural use.

The claimant proceeded with his claim on the basis that access to the land acquired would be available over the land previously acquired from him and in the ownership of the acquiring authority, although there was no positive attempt to establish such a right of access.

The Tribunal was also asked to award compensation for severance for a small parcel of land, to be retained by the claimant, which would be completely landlocked on account of the acquisition of the subjects. There was no objection to this head of claim by the acquiring authority should the award for the subjects be greater than agricultural value. During the hearing the acquiring authority had indicated that it would be logical for them also to acquire this land. The loss due to ‘severance’ would therefore be at the same rate as the adjoining subjects.

Held: (1) that there was sufficient evidence to demonstrate an open market in land that included hope value based on expectation that there would at some future date be a favourable change of planning policy for land within this locality; that there was evidence of willing purchasers whom a hypothetical seller could legitimately expect to interest in a sale of the subjects; that planning policy in respect of constraining the expansion of the City and of protecting the existing Green Belt had been strengthened and was assisted by the existence of a defensible boundary on the line of the Edinburgh By-pass which meant that speculator interest would have been dampened despite the fact that development land values were rising; that the comparables were too remote from the subjects to be reliable where different pressures existed; that the most reliable basis of valuation would be derived from the rate paid by the acquiring authority’s predecessors for adjacent land, fronting on to a main highway, compulsorily acquired from the same claimant for road widening purposes some eight years before; and that the factors of increased development pressure and adverse planning changes cancelled out as factors pointing to adjustment of that rate: (2) the subjects had to be treated as landlocked and allowance for this and certain other physical disadvantages compared to the frontage land previously acquired, required an adjustment of the previous figure; a deduction of one third from the historical rate was appropriate: (3) the rate for the retained land required to be adjusted to reflect its continuing agricultural use although the potential for use was minimal.

See full decision:  LTS/COMP/2000/2