Housing and Planning Bill: long-awaited compulsory purchase reform falls flat

13 October 2015

The CLA has expressed serious disappointment that the Government has missed another key opportunity to tackle major issues with the out-dated compulsory purchase system in today’s Housing and Planning Bill.

The organisation represents more than 33,000 landowners, farmers and rural businesses in England and Wales. The Bill includes a number of reforms for the system of compulsory purchase of property and land for major infrastructure schemes, but Government has failed to include other important reforms which have been recommended in a myriad of reports over the past decade.

CLA Deputy President Ross Murray said: “The unfairness of the compulsory purchase system has caused thousands of families and rural businesses to suffer terrible uncertainty and business stagnation, often for years on end.

“Whilst the Housing and Planning Bill has changed some technical matters, it has only moved us a very small step towards a fairer system that works better both for infrastructure delivery and rural businesses in the twenty first century.

“We welcome earlier payment of advance compensation to the owners of property or land being taken which will allow buildings to be replaced before the current ones are lost – previously rural firms have been facing months or even years without buildings which are critical to their operations, such as silage storage or milking facilities.

“However, this is an opportunity missed to encourage acquiring authorities – whether that is a local council or a commercial delivery company – to take greater account of business disruption when paying compensation. This flexibility would have enabled a smoother and faster agreement for all involved and it would have reduced wastage of taxpayer funds through protracted appeal processes.

“Similarly it is disappointing that the double-standards in interest arrangements that we have seen with HS2 Ltd have not been addressed. The CLA will continue to campaign for a fairer approach.” 

 

The Housing and Planning Bill can be found here - http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0075/16075.pdf

Click here for more information on CLA’s calls for reform of interest rates within the HS2 scheme - https://www.cla.org.uk/latest/news/government-challenged-over-zero-rate-interest-paid-late-hs2-compensation