East West Rail will connect communities between Oxford and Cambridge, improving parts of the existing rail network – and building a new section of line, the Central Section, to connect Bedford and Cambridge – to deliver a reliable service for passengers and communities. The Central Section will be built on greenfield land and will be consented through a Development Consent Order (DCO) application in 2023.

Ardent is instructed to provide the full range of Land & Property services as a long-term Partner to EWR Co., including Land Access, Land Referencing, Landowner Engagement/Negotiation, Valuation and Strategic Advice to support the promotion and implementation of the DCO. Ardent is leading on the preparation of a number of policies and procedures, many of which require Department for Transport approval, to support EWR Co. through the consenting process.

Ardent has led land access for non-intrusive surveys across five route options for the Central Section alongside sections of existing railway. This involved undertaking desktop referencing of over 10,000 HMLR titles within the corridor for each option. Presently over 800 access licence agreements have been issued with a success rate of 75%, giving the environmental team access to land to provide robust input to the option selection process.

Ardent has supported EWR Co. through a non-statutory consultation exercise involving over 200 land interests, providing advice and on how to engage with landowners and technical input to the project team on compensation advice and requirements to be followed through the DCO process.  Ardent has assigned experienced Chartered Surveyors to act as case managers to work with each potentially affected land interest. By working with landowners and understanding and effectively addressing their concerns we can minimise objections to the scheme and minimise any consenting risk and embed harmonious working relationship with landowners.

Ardent has supported the option selection process by providing valuable compensation advice across all route options to ensure that compensation risk is fully understood and potentially high-value land/property can be avoided through design evolution.