Certified after-damage value of land to be taken in certain circumstances as its value for compensation or compulsory purchase.
1.—(1) Where the subject of a compulsory purchase, the compensation for which is by virtue of Section fifty-two of this. Act to be assessed subject to the rule set out in Subsection (1) of that Section, is or comprises an interest in the whole of the land in a hereditament within the meaning of the War Damage Act, 1943, the value of which is required by that Act to be ascertained by reference to its state after war damage and to an assumed sale thereof, the value of the said land for the purposes of the ascertainment of the compensation for the purchase shall be taken to be such amount as may be certified by the War Damage Commission to be the value of the hereditament as ascertained as aforesaid (in this Schedule referred to as the 'certified after-damage value' of that land), subject however to the two next succeeding sub-paragraphs.
(2) The preceding sub-paragraph shall not have effect if between the occurrence of the war damage and the time when the notice to treat is served the land in the hereditament has been brought into a state such as to make it capable of being as beneficially used while remaining in that state as it was immediately before the occurrence of the war damage.
(3) If the land in the hereditament has not been brought into such a state as aforesaid, but there is any material difference either—
the value of the said land for the purposes of the ascertainment of the compensation for the purchase shall be taken to be the certified after-damage value thereof adjusted by adding, or by subtracting, as the case may require, the amount by which the value of the hereditament as required to be ascertained under the said Act would have been greater or less if that value had fallen to be ascertained by reference to the state of the hereditament at the time when the notice to treat is served and if it had been subject immediately after the occurrence of the war damage to all incumbrances of any such kind as aforesaid to which it is subject at the time when the notice to treat is served and to no other incumbrances of any such kind.
(4) Where this paragraph has effect as respects a purchase the subject of which comprises, but does not consist solely of, the interest in question in the land in the hereditament, the compensation for the purchase shall be ascertained, and all statutory provisions relating to the ascertainment thereof or to the carrying out of the purchase or to matters connected therewith shall have effect, subject to any agreement between the purchasing authority and other parties concerned, as if the interest in question in that land had been purchased separately and separate notices to treat had been served accordingly, and had been served simultaneously.
Compensation for compulsory purchase of several interests in land to be ascertained in certain circumstances by apportionment of certified after-damage value thereof.
2.—(1) Where by virtue of paragraph 1 of this Schedule the value of the land comprised in a hereditament is to be taken for the purposes of the ascertainment of compensation to be its certified after-damage value (or that value as adjusted), and notices to treat have been served in respect of two or more interests in the whole of that land on the same date or within such period as may be fixed as respects that land under rules, the compensation to be paid for the purchase of each of those interests shall be ascertained in accordance with the following provisions of this paragraph.
(2) The amount representing the value of each of those interests as it would have fallen to be ascertained if this paragraph had not had effect in relation thereto shall be agreed, assessed or determined in accordance with the provisions of sub-paragraphs (3) to (7) of this paragraph, and the compensation to be paid for the purchase of each interest shall be the proportion of the certified after-damage value of the land, or of that value as adjusted, as the case may be, which the amount agreed, assessed or determined in respect of that interest bears to the aggregate of the amounts
agreed, assessed or determined in repect of the several interests:
Provided that if the interests in question do not include all interests subsisting in the land at the date or at the expiration of the period aforesaid, an amount representing the value of any excluded interest, as it would have fallen to be ascertained if that interest had been purchased and this paragraph had not in effect in relation thereto, shall be agreed, assessed or determined in accordance with the said provisions and added to the said aggregate.
(3) If the values of the several interests in question and of any excluded interest are not otherwise agreed, the claimant in respect of each of the interests in question, and the purchasing authority as respects any excluded interest, shall cause an estimate of the value of that interest to be made and transmitted to an officer of the Valuation Office appointed by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue and that office shall, after considering the estimates, take steps in accordance with rules for securing if possible agreement between the claimants, and, if there is any excluded interest, the purchasing authority, as to the value of each interest.
(4) In default of agreement as to the value of any interest the said officer shall make an assessment of the value of that interest.
(5) The costs of the employment by a claimant of a person skilled in valuation to advise or act for him for the purposes of either of the two last preceding sub-paragraphs on a purchase by a local or public authority within the meaning of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, shall be paid by the authority.
(6) If any claimant, or, if there is any excluded interest, the purchasing authority is aggrieved by an assessment made by the said officer, the claimant or the authority may in accordance with rules require the value of the interest dealt with by the assessment to be determined by one of the panel of arbitrators appointed under Section one of the said Act of 1919
(7) If in respect of any of the interests in question no claim is duly made within the time prescribed by rules, an independent person skilled in valuation may be appointed in accordance with rules to act for the purposes of sub-paragraphs (3) to (6) of this paragraph in respect of that interest, and those sub-paragraphs shall have effect as if all things done thereunder by the person so appointed had been duly authorised, by all persons concerned in respect of the interest in question, to be done by that person as agent for them.
(8) Where the last preceding sub-paragraph has bad effect as respects any interest and the value thereof has been agreed or assessed under sub-paragraph (3) or (4) of this paragraph, if any person who would have been entitled but for this paragraph to have any question of disputed compensation in relation to that interest referred to arbitration in accordance with the said Act of 1919 shows in accordance with rules that the fact that no claim was made as aforesaid was not attributable to any default on his part, he may in accordance with rules require
the value of that interest to be determined by one of the panel of arbitrators appointed under Section one of the said Act of 1919, and if the compensation on the basis of the value of the interest as so determined is greater or less than the compensation on the basis of the value thereof as agreed or assessed as aforesaid, the difference shall be recoverable by the person entitled to the compensation from the purchasing authority or by the authority from him, as the case may be.
(9) The costs of any arbitration under sub-paragraph (6) or (8) of this paragraph, including any fees charges and expenses of the arbitration or award, shall be in the discretion of the official arbitrator, who may direct to and by whom and in what manner those costs or any part thereof shall be paid, and the official arbitrator may in any case disallow the costs of counsel.
(10) The amount of any costs that an authority are liable to pay by virtue of sub-paragraph (5) of this paragraph, or of any arbitration under sub-paragraph (6) or (8) thereof, shall be determined by reference to scales to be prescribed by the Treasury, and in case of difference as to the amount of any such costs they shall, if payable under sub-paragraph (5) of this paragraph, be taxed in such manner as the Treasury may direct, or, if payable under direction of an official arbitrator, be taxed by him or in such manner as he may direct.
3. Provision may be made by rules made by the Lord Chancellor, after consultation with the Reference Committee referred to in the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, for giving effect to the provisions of the two preceding paragraphs, for prescribing anything thereby required to be determined by rules, and in particular, but without prejudice to the generality of the power conferred by this paragraph—
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
The House will no doubt expect a short explanation of this new Schedule. Its purpose is to give effect to quite simple principles in regard to the compulsory purchase of "blitzed" properties as they stand after war damage. The principle of paragraph 1 is to accept the value of a "blitzed" property formed by the War Damage Commission—or on appeal from them, by a reference under Section 32 of the War Damage Act—for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of a value payment, as conclusive for the purpose of ascertaining the amount of compensation for compulsory purchase of interests in the same property. Our object is, first, to avoid two separate valuations of the same property, both related to a March, 1939,, standard. That will save a substantial amount of valuation at a time, when, as every one appreciates, there will be very high demands on our valuation staff. Our second object is to ensure that an owner who receives a war damage value payment fixed on the basis that his property as it stands after the damage has a certain value, shall not have that property compulsorily purchased for compensation fixed on the basis that it has any greater or less value. That again, we suggest, is correct on the grounds of equity and finance.
With regard to paragraph 2, the principle is to provide a means of fixing the compensation for several interests in a single "blitzed" property by negotiation instead of by independent valuation of each interest, Under the present compensation law, notice to treat has to be given as to an interest, not as to a property, and if there are say, three interests—freehold, lease and sub-lease—there must be three notices to treat and three separate sets of compensation proceedings, although the relevant valuation factors are largely the same. We contemplate that agreement will be arranged, and that the district valuer will act as intermediary to secure that agreement. We contemplate that the district valuer will find it possible to call the owners of the various interests together and discuss with them the appropriate apportionment and settle the exact amount due to each. We hope that compulsion will be unnecessary, except in very few cases, but of course we always have to provide in these circumstances for what we hope is the rare case where compulsion will be necessary. The House will see that paragraph 3 is a machinery provision.
That is the general scheme. I shall not go through it in detail, but the general points which the House will see in paragraph 1 are these: Sub-section (1) confines it to the whole of the blitzed land. Sub-section (2) excludes cases in which the damage has been, or could have been made good. Sub-section (3) modifies the operation in cases where the premises have been partly dealt with, or there are changes in the legal proceedings.
With regard to the question of the valuation, again I do not propose to go into it in detail, unless anyone desires information on any point. I will rapidly run through the procedure under paragraph (2) in the same way. I hope it will commend itself to the House. First, the owner submits his claim. He is allowed the cost of a valuer which, I think the House will agree, is fair. If it is not agreed, the district valuer tries to bring the parties together. If there is no settlement, he makes his assessment, and that is binding on the parties unless there is an application to an official arbitrator, in which case it is binding where the official arbitrator issues the final assessment. Any costs of a reference to the official arbitrator are in his discretion. The value of the interests so ascertained are then made the basis of an apportionment of the value of whole property, and the House will see that Sub-sections (7) and (8) deal with a case in which the owner of some purchased interest cannot be brought within the negotiation machinery because he makes no claim. Therefore, we have to have a provision for assigning a value to his interest in order to make the appointment complete, and we provide for a valuer being given to him. I have tried to put the explanation as shortly and as simply as I can. I hope the House will agree that this procedure will act expeditiously and fairly, and I hope that they will allow the new Schedule.
There is one point about which I would like some information from the Minister. If one walks about the West End of London one sees large areas completely flat, such as in Bond Street, and notice boards with regard to postwar development which ask people to apply to Messrs. Hillier, Parker, May & Rowden, or some other firm of surveyors or trustees. I suppose that in some of these cases value payments have aleady been agreed by the War Damage Commission—the place I have in mind at the moment is at the corner of Bruton Street and Bond Street—and if the surveyor or estate agent sells it at any value above that and then, later, the appropriate planning authority comes along and desires to widen the street, can we have an assurance that, whatever has taken place privately in the form of post-war development by the purchasers of that land, the ratepayers of the country as a whole will not be called upon to pay for any increased value above the value payment which has been agreed between the old owners and the War Damage Commission?