CLA heralds common sense amendments to compulsory purchase law

Significant concessions made by Ministers in the development of new compulsory purchase law will significantly reduce the potential harm to landowners across England and Wales, says the CLA.

Proposals to extend compulsory purchase powers are contained in the Neighbourhood Planning Bill published yesterday (7 September). Ministers announced in June that the Bill would include provisions to allow organisations building major infrastructure projects, like roads and power stations, to acquire additional land.

The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses criticised the move saying it benefited large-scale developers by allowing the buying up of development land “on the cheap” taking away the ability of thousands of mainly small landowning businesses to develop land themselves.

CLA Deputy President Tim Breitmeyer said: “The prospect of having land compulsory acquired is the cause of much anguish for thousands of rural landowners. It results in significant distress, disruption and financial harm.”

“We were concerned the proposals could encourage compulsory purchasing authorities to buy more land than needed ignoring latent development value. The understandable temptation would be to do this simply to generate additional income.”

“We made our case to Ministers and officials throughout the consultation process and we are pleased our concerns were listened to and the Bill’s proposals have been amended into common sense law.”

Changes to the compulsory purchase law secured by the CLA include:

· making it clear that any land acquired under new powers should be for redevelopment and regeneration, therefore removing the prospect of these powers being used to acquire farm or other previously undeveloped rural land,

· making clear that any acquisition of land for housing development must be set out at the point the scheme is proposed and not added to the development at a later stage and,

· limiting the period in which the construction of housing on compulsory acquired land can commence to five years after the major infrastructure project began construction.

The CLA continues to fight for fairness on compulsory purchase. Work continues on ensuring a fair deal for landowners affected by HS2 development, and a range of other infrastructure projects around the country.

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