Market Insight

CPO usage predicted to rise as local councils face increasing pressure

May 24, 2016

We know that nationally there is a lack of suitable land available for development and that our local authorities continue to face pressure to deliver on housing targets.

However, they do so whilst faced with a lack of appropriate brownfield sites or small-scale greenfield development opportunities to alleviate the situation.

With so much continued pressure on our councils, we are likely to see local authorities look to more innovative means of acquiring the land they need. But how do they propose to overcome this?

One approach we could start to see more of is the increased use of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) by local authorities over coming years.

CPOs are just what they imply – the forced acquisition of land using a specific legal function which allows local authorities to buy land without the consent of the owner.

However, as part of the CPO process, the council must demonstrate that the taking of the land is necessary and has a “compelling case in the public interest” in order to succeed.

If statistics over recent years are anything to go by , then the increased use of CPOs by local authorities seems to be a likely outcome to help drive development. But it isn’t always a straightforward process.

It can prove to be an arduous and expensive process, which together with the fact that there are limited grounds for using CPOs for housing purposes, means that from start to finish, it can sometimes take years to acquire the land they need.

When it comes to addressing our housing crisis, we don’t have years – we need a solution now, so what can be done to ease the situation and provide more support to our local authorities?

Government should do more to enhance CPO powers to acquire land, whilst also opening up more greenfield development opportunities. Together, this could go a long way to help address our national housing shortage by earmarking more land for development.

Until such progress is made, local authorities that do choose the CPO route should ensure that they seek professional advice so that their CPO application stands the best possible chance of success.

For more information about how our planning experts can support you in making a CPO, don’t hesitate to contact our team.