Experts back government decision to scrap legislation change

The government was urged to alter the Land Compensation Act 1961 to limit the compensation payable to dispossessed landowners.

Jonathan Stott

The UK’s leading compulsory purchase experts have welcomed the government’s decision to scrap plans to change legislation regarding the process.

The government had faced calls to change the Land Compensation Act 1961 to limit the compensation payable to dispossessed landowners, though it has now decided against changing the legislation – a move the Compulsory Purchase Association (CPA) welcomes.

Responding to the development, CPA chair Jonathan Stott said: “We understand that authorities want to secure more value from development – but trying to do it through compulsory purchase was the wrong way to go about it.

“It would have created greater resistance to compulsory purchase orders and, therefore, resulted in land assembly taking even longer.”

The CPA comprises sector professionals working on behalf of both authorities that exercise compulsory purchase powers and the land and property owners affected by the orders.

The organisation argued that the suggested changes would have had a damaging effect on the system and would delay development.

Stott added: “The government was under pressure to make changes to the system, but the CPA submitted evidence to the select committee that looked at the issue, correcting misconceptions about how the process currently works, and explaining the detrimental affect the changes would have.

“So, we are pleased that the government has listened and not rushed into making changes that might have won them political favour but would have damaged the way the system works currently.

“What is clear from this process is that there is not enough understanding of the way compulsory purchase works and what it is actually designed to do in support of crucial development.

“Ultimately, the system is designed to facilitate development but it is right that landowners who are dispossessed are fairly compensated, based on the market value of their land.

“We, therefore, welcome the commitment to update information on the process and be more transparent on inspectors’ decisions when it comes to compulsory purchase so that there is greater understanding of the system,” said Stott.