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Compulsory Purchase Orders – what you need to know

03/06/19Compulsory Purchase Orders – what you need to know

One of the lesser known parts of property consultancy concerns compulsory purchase orders, or CPOs.  This is a legal order in the UK and Ireland that stipulates that various companies, individuals or bodies can forcibly obtain property or land belonging to the owner, without the owner’s consent. Good examples of these include compulsory land purchases for such infrastructure projects as new-build motorways or railways – these are deemed to be for the public good and are difficult to challenge, as many land and property owners along a route will be in the same situation.

Another example would be if local authorities or councils sought to develop a town centre. This could be part of a broader neighbourhood development, which would result in construction alterations to a wide area, not simply an individual property – such as the building of a shopping centre, or sports venue. CPOs can also be used to purchase historic buildings, to preserve and prevent them from falling into disrepair.

Being issued with a compulsory purchase order isn’t the end of the story and appeals can be lodged against their fairness and strictness. Compensation is often available, so that owners can be recompensed for the inconvenience, but this seldom fully balances the nuisance caused to the owner. Compensation will take into account the property’s value, the associated costs of finding and moving location, and any additional costs incurred. Costs relating to professional advice about this compensation are usually reimbursed by the authority too, so that people affected by a compulsory purchase order can seek legal advice from a solicitor and property advice from a surveyor and have these costs covered.

If you are impacted by a compulsory purchase order, our property consultants can help advise on valuations and legal avenues open to you.  If you are affected by a compulsory purchase, or would like to know more about how the system works, please get in touch and consult our skilled property team. 

Charles Lawson, Director


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