WITH Hereford's new bypass set to move forward, the problems of compulsory purchase faced by farmers and landowners on the new route will soon be coming to the fore.

So it was particularly timely that the practice of how to successfully negotiate a compulsory purchase “notice to treat” was among the topics presented to some 40 Herefordshire professionals at a meeting in the city.

The Balfours Xtra event was aimed at linking professionals, including solicitors, bankers and accountants with aspects of rural estate management. The audience heard that as the Hereford bypass preferred route debate continues surveys, involving walking over land may be acceptable, while any invasive exploration work may give rise to compensation.

Balfours associate partner, Bryn Hill, based at the Whitfield office told the audience: “Where invasive work is to be undertaken access agreements should be in place. There could well be compounds required too and only too frequently the space required is more than anticipated.

"It is wise to employ an agent from the outset to ensure fair compensation, which will include agent fees incurred."

Once landowners are served a notice to treat they must be on their mettle to respond within 21 days.

“As some will know, a notice to treat cannot be served on a solicitor or agent," said Mr Hill.

"It has to be on the landowner who has just 21 days to act on that notice; during lambing or potato harvest that time can soon disappear.

“Again it is advisable to seek professional guidance in responding to the notice to treat to ensure correct information is submitted – incorrect and lack of information can lead to possible penalties. Mitigating losses through compensation can be claimed by owners and most tenants, but not graziers."

Mr Hill added that while compensation for land or property taken is set at open market value, there are additional elements that make up a claim for compensation following compulsory purchase.

Such claims may include depreciation in value to retained property and for disturbance caused during the construction works.

Speakers also revealed the strength of the Herefordshire and borders property market, for unique properties and those with land, throughout 2018 and the lucrative opportunities of alternative enterprises, for property in the right location.