A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) provides Local Authorities / Councils with the power to acquire rights over property or to buy the property for the benefit of the public, regardless of the willingness of its owner, in return for compensation. CPOs can also be exercisable by a highways agency or a development corporation.
CPOs may be used for new roads, airport extensions, town centres and developments and urban regeneration. The acquiring Authority must believe that such regeneration is in the public’s interest.
Notwithstanding the CPO having been made an acquiring authority needs to obtain approval from the Secretary of State (usually after a Public Inquiry) or by Parliament.
If you receive a CPO you won’t automatically lose your property. You can object to a CPO and your objection will be heard at a Public Inquiry. The Secretary of State (after the Inquiry) would decide whether to confirm, amend or reject the Order. If the Order is confirmed, the Acquiring Authority has a period of three years from the confirmation in which to exercise their CPO powers. It is only at this stage that you would lose your property.
Compulsory purchase only applies to the extent that it is necessary for the purchaser’s purposes. Thus, for example, a water authority does not need to buy the freehold in land in order to run a sewer through it. An easement will normally suffice, so in such cases the water authority may only acquire an easement through the use of compulsory purchase.
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Ayesha Leslie, Partner
Ola Leslie Solicitors