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House of Commons Hansard
Departmental Empty Property
01 March 2010
Volume 506
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To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough of 5 January 2010, Official Report, column 90W, on departmental buildings, what the (a) book value and (b) estimated annual rental value is of vacant residential properties owned by the Highways Agency. [315966]

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Property owner-occupiers who are unable to sell their homes because they are directly affected by a proposed Highways Agency road scheme (i.e. likely to have land acquired in the future) and are unable to sell it at a normal market price because of the scheme, can serve a blight notice on the Highway’s Agency under the blight provisions of the Town and Country Planning Acts. If the notice is accepted, the agency has to purchase the property in advance of its operational requirement. These properties cannot be sold immediately because any new owner would be able to serve another blight notice on the agency requiring it to purchase the property again. The properties could also not be sold at a normal market value. These properties are therefore held by the agency while the scheme is in the major projects programme and the route is protected from development. In some cases this can be for a number of years.

The potential annual rental income from the Highways Agency’s residential properties would be £3.4 million, if all the properties were let and in good tenantable condition. The net book value of the agency’s properties that are currently let is £67.3 million; the net book value of the empty properties is £22.9 million. This valuation takes into account current condition and the effect of the planned road improvement on the property.

The values and potential rental income are broken down in more detail in the following table.


Net book value

Potential annual rental income

Beyond economic repair



In sale process



Currently under repair/refurbishment



Seeking tenants



Awaiting demolition



Held vacant for consideration for refurbishment next financial year



Total for empty properties



Total for occupied properties