If you are approached by an organisations considering the compulsory acquisition of part of your land or an interest in it, it is important that you receive appropriate professional advice.

Many public bodies and private companies have compulsory powers to acquire interests in land. These can be freehold or leasehold interests, easements, wayleaves or other rights across land. These rights can be acquired by negotiation or through serving formal notices.

Skinner Holden Property Advisors can give you initial advice regarding your rights and those of the acquiring authority. We will ensure your interests are represented and that you receive appropriate compensation for the land taken, the impact on neighbouring land and any disturbance or damage caused. This can be particularly important for farmers to ensure that the impact on the farming business is minimised.

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You may be entitled to the fees incurred. Iain will also be happy to have a 10-15 minute discussion with you to help you understand what is happening.

The following companies regularly use their compulsory purchase statutory powers in South-East England:

Southern Water, Thames Water, Affinity Water, Portsmouth Water, Wessex Water, ICOSA Water, Independent Water Network, Cadent, Anglian Water, Scottish and Southern Energy, UK Power Networks, London Power Network PLC, South Eastern Power Network plc, Western Power Distribution (East Midlands) plc, HS2, The Oil and Pipelines Agency, ESSO, SGN


Skinner Holden has extensive experience of working with acquiring authorities to ensure the compulsory purchase process goes as smoothly as possible.

Skinner Holden Property Advisors has acted for The Environment Agency on flood and coastal schemes, liaising with landowners, tenants and neighbours and negotiating the compensation payable. Iain has also acted for many of the water companies in South East England working closely with engineers, project managers and legal teams to ensure schemes are delivered in a timely manner and within budget.

Iain can advise on all matters around compulsory purchase, including:
Initial referencing of a route | liaising with landowners and tenants | working with legal departments to serve notice | negotiating design alterations, accommodation works | assessing land value | compiling and negotiating claims for injurious affection and disturbance.

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Remnant woodland sold to Highways Agency for a bypass and cycle path

Two retired businessmen had kept a small piece of woodland and access adjacent to the A27 in East Sussex after selling their coach business and yard. They had thought it might provide a small nest egg for them or their children should the site ever be developed. In the event, National Highways served a compulsory purchase notice on them to widen the road and construct a cycle path.

Skinner Holden Property Advisors negotiated the sale of the property, resolving residual liability issues and ensuring the entirety of the remnant woodland was purchased, as well as negotiating payment for the gentlemen’s time and expences incurred in dealing with the matter.

This case not only involved negotiations with the Valuation Office Agency, but also representations to National Highways, the local MP and Secretary of State, before agreement could be made.

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  • New rights of access for railway companies across commercial sites.
  • Highways improvement schemes acquiring woodlands and access.
  • Strategic Oil Pipeline under a nursery.
  • Sewers running under school playing fields.
  • New motorway junction in a nature reserve.
  • Renewed road bridge in an SSSI.
  • Negotiating an electricity wayleave for a charity where 1m was worth £20,000.
Creating income and fulfilling legal obligations on estates owned by Charities


A local authority approached Skinner Holden as it was considering using its powers to acquire a right of access across land to facilitate development of social housing. Iain provided a RICS Red Book Valuation Report to enable the local authority to understand the likely levels of compensation due to neighbours if this course of action was followed.

Iain has also advised a local authority on the purchase of rights to create and manage an area of land for bio-diversity net gain and the mitigation of the impact of a development on a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

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I have had the pleasure of working with Iain on a complicated residential planning project in 2017. The way he went about his consultancy services was very professional and on point at all times. I would have no reticence of recomending Iain and look forward to working with him again very soon.

Stuart Wilson, Director, Wilson Designer Homes Ltd

The following organisations have compulsory powers:

National Highways, local authorities, local education authorities, Network Rail, Civil Aviation Authority, Ministry of Defence, Environment Agency, airport operators, Ministry of Justice, energy companies, British Telecom, mobile phone operators, NHS, energy transmission companies, oil companies and pipeline operators, water companies, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Associated British Ports