Blight notices

Commonly, ‘blight’ refers to situations where the potential acquisition of land as part of proposed public development works causes its value to fall or renders it unsaleable, or because the land is in close proximity to the proposed public development works and the fear it may lose amenity.

Statutory blight concerns some, but not all, land affected by this ‘blight’. For example, it does not include land in close proximity of the public works scheme.

Specifically, statutory blight only covers land which is described in Schedule 13 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), referred to as ‘blighted land’. It covers land that is:

  • identified in development plan documents or neighbourhood development plans for ‘public’ functions, such as those of a government department, local authority or statutory undertaker
  • within an area described as the site of a proposed new town, urban development area or Mayoral development area
  • within an area declared by the Housing Act 1985 for clearance and renewal
  • indicated in a development plan as required for highway construction or improvements
  • identified for compulsory acquisition in any private Act, in the Transport and Works Act 1992, or in any other compulsory purchase order including a development consent order under the Planning Act 2008
  • safeguarded for a specific purpose (for example, for the purposes of constructing and operating the HS2 network)
  • within a location identified in a national policy statement as suitable or potentially suitable for a nationally significant infrastructure project (for example, proposed Heathrow expansion)
  • required for temporary possession pursuant to a compulsory purchase order under s18(2) of the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (NB. not yet in force).

Where statutory blight applies, the ‘blight notice’ must be served on the appropriate public authority by whom the blighted land is liable to be acquired. It must identify:

  • the relevant land
  • the correct paragraph of schedule 13 which qualifies the land (or part) as blighted land
  • the claimant’s ‘qualifying interest’

The notice should append proof of ownership, proof of residency for the required period and, if required, evidence of marketing.

The authority then has two months to either accept it and offer to purchase the property or serve a counter-notice specifying one or more grounds for objection. The authority must contain all the grounds upon which it wishes to object in the counter-notice.

A blight notice becomes effective either by the absence of a counter-notice being served, the withdrawal of any counter-notice, or the counter-notice not upheld by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

As at such effective date, the authority is deemed to be authorised to compulsorily acquire the interest specified in the notice and a notice to treat is deemed to have been served. The parties will then negotiate and agree the transfer of the land and associated compensation. Any dispute is determined by the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

The compensation for compulsory acquisition, pursuant to a blight notice, is assessed in accordance with the normal rules.