Compulsory purchase – Compensation – Servitude right for gas pipeline – Farm land – Local planning policy against development for housing – Whether hope value existed – Whether pipeline extinguished any hope value – Gas Act 1986, Schedule 3, paragraph 2
The applicants claimed compensation for alleged loss of five potential house sites on farmland due to the taking of a servitude right for a pipeline for conveyance of gas from St Fergus to Aberdeen. Development for housing at such a location was contrary to local planning policy but the applicants had a good track record of obtaining planning consents in such circumstances. They attempted to lead evidence of the detail of other sites where planning consent had been given. They did not attempt to provide detailed justification for departure from planning policy in respect of the identified sites. They had assumed the pipeline would positively prevent any building on these sites. However there was evidence of planning policies and procedures for consultation with the Health and Safety Executive which did not support this. The applicants produced a series of invoices in support of their claim for compensation for expense and outlays. These were not itemised. There was evidence showing that part of the expense had been incurred in negotiations over the respondents attempt to claim rights for storage of gas as well as its transmission. Expense had been incurred in opposing the compulsory purchase order.
Held (1) while it could be assumed in the applicants favour that there were identifiable prospects of being able to obtain planning permission for, say, two sites, the Tribunal was unconvinced by the contention that all the sites would get permission; (2) assuming that two sites might have received permission, the Tribunal was satisfied on the evidence that the existence of the pipeline would not affect this.
(3) Expense recoverable by way of compensation required to be expense attributable to the fact of compulsory acquisition and this did not include expense incurred opposing that acquisition or negotiating on peripheral matters; (4) despite a lack of detail, a broad approach could be taken and a sum for expenses should be included in the compensation (5) It was inappropriate to allow evidence of detail of planning permission on other sites outwith the planning area in circumstances where it was not disputed that permission could be obtained even where this was not consistent with normal policy and where there was no indication of an intention to show how such transaction bore directly on any of the appeal sites.
See full decision: LTS/COMP/2003/06