Landowners with property close to the existing A9 from Perth to Inverness and A96 linking Aberdeen with the Highland capital should start planning for the impact of a series of Compulsory Purchase Orders, says property firm Bidwells.
Last week the Scottish Government announced plans to dual the A9 by 2025 and begin dualling the A96 in 2016, meaning hundreds of estates, businesses, farms and forests will be subject to CPOs over the next few years. A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) allows the government to acquire land for market value from the landowner.
Andrew Wood, Partner at Bidwells, says: “While the dates seems a long way away the initial phases will happen over the next few years and background surveys and assessments are already complete. The Government will start acquiring land very soon and landowners need to be ready.
“The A9 is a particularly complex road, with moorland, forestry, estates, grazing land and complex infrastructure.
“An there are literally hundreds of businesses immediately alongside the A96, all of which will be affected.
“While there is absolutely no doubt that the dualling of the currently dangerous roads linking Inverness with other cities is a vital and welcome investment, the CPO process can be brutal for those with property and businesses adjacent to the road. Not only do you need to consider the value of the land being acquired, you need to plan for the construction period, which will last many years and affect access, drainage, water supply, grazing land and so on.
“There can be significant impact to businesses during construction so people need to consider compensation claims carefully. Lots of roadside services and farm entrances will be affected.”
Bidwells has experience of acting for landowners subject to CPOs on the Aberdeen Peripheral Route, M77 and Glasgow Southern Orbital. The firm’s Inverness and Perth offices are gearing up to act for A9 and A96 landowners as they start the negotiations with the Scottish Government Roads Directorate prior to any CPO's being issued.
Mr Wood adds that while the CPO process will be stressful for many, others are set to benefit from safer access to the trunk road: “The A9 in particular is one of the UK’s most accident-prone roads and many of the access routes from it are extremely dangerous. The dualling will give many individuals and businesses the opportunity to negotiate for safer access.”