Compulsory Purchase Orders

Compulsory Purchase Powers are an important tool for local authorities to use as a means of acquiring land needed to help deliver social and economic change.

A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is a legal function in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland that allows certain bodies which need to obtain land or property to do so without the consent of the owner. It may be used, for example, when building motorways where a land owner does not want to sell. Similarly, if town councils wish to develop a town centre, they may issue compulsory purchase orders.

Once a local authority has decided to exercise a compulsory purchase power, granted by housing, planning or local government legislation, it submits the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to the Secretary of State for assessment and decision. If a statutory objection to the proposed Order is made it may be necessary to hold a public local inquiry. If this is the case the following procedures will take place:

  • an inspector, appointed by the Secretary of State, will hear arguments for and against the Order
  • once the inquiry has been held, the Inspector will submit his report to us and we will advise the Secretary of State whether the Order should be confirmed
  • the Secretary of State will then reach a decision on confirmation based upon the merits of the case
  • an Order can be confirmed with modifications, if necessary.

Use of Compulsory Purchase Orders

  • legislation for CPOs is under the Acquisition of Land Act 1981
  • local authorities advise on the correct procedures and statutory or administrative requirements to ensure that Orders go through quickly and correctly.

Advantages of CPOs

CPOs can help bring about urban regeneration, the revitalisation of communities and the promotion of business - leading to improvements in quality of life. Example of this include where:

  • a local authority wishes to carry out a comprehensive redevelopment of an area where there are a number of separate landowners
  • or where a property has fallen into disrepair and it seems unlikely that the owner intends to refurbish it.

Local authorities are therefore encouraged to consider using their compulsory purchase powers wherever appropriate to ensure real gains are brought to residents, and the business community, without delay.

Page last updated: 08/06/2017