Q. What is a Compulsory Purchase Order?

A. A compulsory purchase order (CPO) allows a local authority to acquire land and/or property for certain purposes i.e. where a listed building has fallen into disrepair and where it seems unlikely the owner will repair it. Also some properties have been bought by such orders to allow road building and development etc.

The government states that “compulsory purchase orders are important as a means of assembling the land needed to help deliver Urban Regeneration”. When a local authority authorises an order it is sent to the Secretary of State for approval. Anyone who has an interest in the land or property is sent notification of the order and has a right to object to the order. In fact anyone can object to a CPO even if they have no interest in the land or property. You should instruct a specialist solicitor or property consultant who will assist with any application to the Land tribunal. Should an objection be upheld against a CPO, a public enquiry may be necessary. An enquiry would be overseen by a government inspector on behalf of the Secretary of State, who will listen to both arguments for and against the order and make the final decision.

Should the Secretary’s decision agree with the purchase order, the local authority can proceed to take possession of the land or property. It’s worth noting that in some cases an owner may be entitled to compensation over and above the purchase price for their loss, this being the case you will need the services of a specialist solicitor or property consultant to negotiate on your behalf.