HS2 graphic - Beswicks law case

A Nantwich law firm is celebrating victory in a complex legal battle over land required for high speed rail.

Beswicks Legal, together with Hinson Parry and Company Chartered Surveyors in Stone, won the first Lands Tribunal case against HS2 and the Secretary of State for Transport.

The case involved a rural equestrian property in Staffordshire where a field, used by owners for grazing and training horses, is due to be acquired by HS2 as part of the Phase 2 section from Birmingham to Crewe.

The land is split by a minor public highway and the owners, who live and run their stables from the other side, said loss of the field would ride roughshod over their lifestyle and passion for horse carriage driving.

A blight notice was submitted demanding HS2 buy the whole site.

But this was rejected by the Secretary of State for Transport who insisted the land be treated as separate parcels and compensation paid only for the field earmarked for the rail scheme.

There was a happy ending for the owners after a two-day hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice.

Sir David Holgate, President of the Upper Tribunal, took into account how the land was used and ruled that compensation should be paid for the whole plot.

Iain Johnston - Beswicks legal, HS2 law caseIain Johnston, (pictured, right), a partner at Beswicks Legal, said: “The deal put forward by HS2 would have had a detrimental impact on our client’s land and use of it for equestrian activities.

“Without a field to graze horses, that activity could no longer take place and they quite rightly asked to be compensated for the loss of the entire site.

“They are over the moon with the outcome of the case and will now have the comfort of knowing that all of their land will be acquired by HS2 and they will be properly and suitably compensated.”

Mr Johnston predicts the decision will set a precedent for similar claims against HS2 as land across Cheshire comes under the spotlight for the Phase 2 (B) stretch from Crewe to Manchester.

He added: “This decision may well trigger a different approach to a number of potential blight claims.

“And the claim may be seen by some claimants and their advisers as a useful guide to assessing what can or cannot be included within a blight claim.”

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