A66 road improvements get green light – how will it affect property?

Chris Edmunds Rural Surveyor A66 Road improvement

A66 road improvements get the green light but how will it affect my land?

Engage & act early. Mitigate impacts. Be prepared.

The recent confirmation that the A66 is to be improved in places between Scotch Corner and Penrith comes after many years looking at this scheme. The proposed improvements are set to transform the east/west connectivity across the Pennines. There will be quicker, safer and more reliable journeys, but for farmers and landowners across the proposed route, there will be concerns.

The same anxieties will also be held by those affected by the proposed Carlisle Southern Link Road (CLSR) and St Cuthbert’s Garden Village. Where land may be affected by any of these proposals, there are already uncertainties and questions.

Chris Edmunds, a Director of Davidson & Robertson (Rural Surveyors & Consultants) has been dealing with Utility & Compulsory Purchase issues for farmers and landowners for many years and says “It is very important to be proactive – even at this early stage, because early planning and consultation can make a difference down the road.”

Working on large scale infrastructure projects in Northern England and Scotland, Chris and the D&R team have been involved with motorway improvements, peripheral routes and bypasses in Scotland, and more locally, supporting Cumbrian clients affected by the ambitious 30KM West Cumbria Water Supply Project. Experience has shown that the sooner you engage with the process, the more likely you can make significant difference.

  1. Engage & act early   

It’s important to engage early and proactively with the acquiring authority, in this case Highways England. This ensures that land and property assets are best protected and affected parties know as much information as possible at any stage.

Acting early, it may be possible to influence the route or design of the scheme in order to mitigate losses on your business or property and certainly this has worked well in the past on other schemes (like the pipeline) we have been involved with.

“Sometimes we were brought in too late and couldn’t help with access and route changes or with accommodation works, but for clients engaged at the start, we were able to deliver pragmatic compromises.’

We are already talking to farmers and landowners who could be affected by the A66 and Carlisle’s Southern link and

are happy to talk to others with initial concerns or questions – be that over the phone or at an arranged meeting (taking in to account current government guidance on COVID-19).

  1. Mitigate impact and consider these practical issues

There is so much more to consider than the loss of land and upheaval at the time.  From the outset it can be a very stressful time, with farmers and landowners concerned about protecting the landscape as well as their income and there’s often a lot of additional paperwork for subsidies, inconvenience for moving stock, disturbance and crop losses. Some of the key questions asked include:

  • Is my property blighted?
  • Are my land rights affected?
  • Loss of income & profits; either from land, property or both
  • Implications for Basic Payment Scheme
  • Environmental or Countryside Stewardship Scheme – how will this affect my schemes?
  • Crop loss
  • Drainage
  • Fencing
  • Reinstatement
  • Compensation
  • Loss of trees & woodland
  1. Be prepared and negotiate

These large infrastructure schemes take years to develop and implement. In our experience with other schemes, the key is to be prepared and the road ahead will be less bumpy.

Knowing where you stand on how to mitigate the impact and having an Agent on board with a good CPO & Utilities team means they can negotiate on your behalf. It should give you more confidence in your approaches with the Highways team and the work ahead.

Expertise makes a difference when it comes to land or property acquisition – especially relating to compulsory purchase or where land has been injuriously affected.

Injurious affection can often be a very subtle negotiation in terms of gaining fair compensation. Taking small areas of a field can have a huge impact on the operations for the farmer (this is certainly true with the Cumbria ‘pipeline’ project).

Very rarely do people want such schemes but the principle that these schemes are to provide wider public bene

fit means that affected parties should be no worse or better off as a result of a scheme than before the scheme starts.

If you are facing any form of land/property purchase or if contractors or utility companies require access to your land get in touch with an experienced Agent.

Chris Edmunds is a  Chartered Surveyor and Director of Davidson & Robertson. He heads the CPO and Utilities team for Northern England. Contact 01900 268633 or email CE@drrural.co.uk   

Davidson & Robertson Surveyor assesses A66 proposed improvements


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