Further to our previous post on The Housing and Planning Bill, this blog focuses on Part 7 of the Bill – Compulsory Purchase etc. Some of the main points to note from this part of the Bill are:

Survey Powers

The Bill introduces a new general power of entry for survey purposed for all acquiring authorities, providing wider powers for those promoting CPOs.

Timetable for CPOs

The Bill proposes amendments to s.14 of the Land Acquisition Act 1981 and requires that the Secretary of State provide a timetable for the steps to be taken by the confirming authority to confirm an order.

Timeframe for exercising CPO powers

These Clauses extend the current time periods required for taking possession, whether by general vesting declaration or by notice to treat, to 3 months from the requisite notice. This also gives both processes the same timeframe for taking possession, which is not the case at present.

The Clauses also provide clarification on the changes/extension of the 3 month time period in certain circumstances, including but not limited to when new interests are discovered after the requisite notices have been served and also the ability for landowners to serve counter notices if the acquiring authority does not take possession on the date specified in the notice.

Advance Payments

Substantial changes to the advance payment system are proposed, including:

  • Greater clarity in S.52(2) of the Land Compensation Act 1973 of the information to be included in a request for an advance payment;
  • For the acquiring authority to request further information (if required) within 28 days of the advance payment request being submitted;
  • Allows the acquiring authority to make an advance payment once the CPO has been authorised and a request for an advance payment has been submitted.

The time frame for making the payment is within 2 months of: the request being made; or the receipt of further information; or on the day notice to treat is given; or when the acquiring authority makes the general vesting declaration – whichever if the later.  Should the acquiring authority fail to make the advance payment in accordance with this time frame, interest will become payable.

Material Detriment

The intention of the Bill is to provide a common approach to material detriment, whether the land is being acquired by general vesting declaration or notice to treat, to allow the acquiring authority to enter and take possession of the land they are authorised to take before dispute on the material detriment has been determined by the Upper Tribunal.

Overriding Covenants

The Bill proposes to extend the existing powers to override easements and restrictive covenants to acquiring authorities who do not currently have such powers.

Conclusion

It is clear that, once the Bill is enacted, there will be some wholesale changes to the CPO process. We will have to see how these changes will work in practice.