§ Mr. Atkins
Where land is compulsorily purchased, the statutory basis for compensation is the open market value of the land, disregarding any alteration in value due to the scheme for which the land is being acquired. Vendors may also be eligible for additional payments, such as removal costs, reconnection and refitting charges, and legal expenses. A displaced houseowner who had lived in the property for at least five years is also entitled to a home loss payment. Entitlement to compensation is set out in a series of booklets "Land Compensation—Your rights Explained". There are copies in the Library of the House.
Where a dwelling lies in the line of a road proposal and cannot be sold in the open market at a reasonable price, protection is given by the blight provisions in the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. An owner-occupier may serve a notice on the highway authority, requiring it to buy the property. In the early stages of a road proposal, before a preferred route is announced, there also exists a discretionary power to buy where there is a genuine possibility that the property will be required. Policy is to exercise this power to alleviate cases of serious hardship.
When roadworks are imminent or in progress, there is discretionary power to buy dwellings not required for the road but likely to be severely affected by the construction works. There is also discretionary power to buy property severely affected by nuisance arising from the use of a new or improved road, up to one year after opening.153W
The legislation governing compulsory purchase and compensation is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. He is currently considering whether improvements are needed in the light of comments on an consultation paper published last year.