§ Sir John Stanley
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he will be issuing for consultation the criteria he proposes to use in exercising his discretionary power under section 62 of the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 to acquire property which is seriously affected by his Department's road schemes; and whether he expects to make the criteria public before the end of 1991.
§ Mr. Chope
[pursuant to his reply, 21 November 1991,c. 237.]: My right hon. Friend will use the new power of earlier and wider acquisition to alleviate hardship by buying off-line property which in his opinion is suffering from serious "blight by proximity". Until now property not likely to be needed for a scheme could be acquired only if conditions during construction or after road opening would be intolerable. Acquisition will be from as early as the announcement of the preferred route. Each case will be considered on its merits, but as a guideline we would normally expect qualifying properties to lie within about 100 m of the centre of the road.
The other guidelines are as follows:
- (a) Where it would be intolerable for the occupier to remain in the property during works or once the
658 road is open the vendor must show that he has made reasonable efforts to sell. The property must have been on offer for at least 20 weeks at a reasonable price and have been impossible to sell other than at a price substantially lower than that for which it might have been expected to be sold but for the scheme. Normally the difference should amount to not less than 5 per cent.
- (b) Therre are a variety of reasons why a vendor might need to move without delay, and where they appear cogent, they should be accepted. In the case of owner occupiers of dwellings guidelines set out the following main types of reason which should be accepted:
- (i) acquisition of a job outside reasonable commuting distance when unemployed (what is reasonable under this and the next head will vary with the circumstances, including the means of the individual);
- (ii) acquisition of a different job outside reasonable commuting distance (it is undesirable for blight to impede job mobility);
- (iii) need to move for medical reasons, including need to look after an elderly relative in a different sort of house;
- (iv) need to provide for growing family (primarily to be considered in relation to bedrooms—it is undesirable for growing children of different sexes to share);
- (v) need to realise assets, perhaps because of serious financial difficulties or dissolution of marriage.