CLA proposes major reform of compulsory purchase system

22 October 2013

The CLA is calling for a radical overhaul of the compulsory purchase system in a new report published today which argues that the current system is inefficient and unfair to those whose land and property is taken from them.  

CLA Midlands regional director Caroline Bedell said: "There are few threats to rural businesses as unfair as compulsory purchase, which often ends in bitter dispute and can wipe out generations of investment in a long and distressing process. This is underlined time and time again by our members in the region who are affected by projects such as HS2.

"I believe our reforms would improve the system at no additional cost. They will deliver a fairer balance between the interests of all parties, reducing conflict and delay and leading to better developments that lessen the impact on those affected."

The CLA proposes that acquirers would owe a new "duty of care" towards those who own the assets, backed by an enforceable code of practice. Compensation packages would need to reflect the true value of the property taken, and mitigation measures such as building tunnels, embankments or bridges must be considered to reduce the impact on those affected.

Mrs Bedell added: "Many properties suffer uncertainty and "blight" for several years before work starts so we are suggesting a property purchase guarantee scheme. Importantly, acquirers would also have a duty to take only the minimum amount of land required and to return any land that becomes surplus to the development.

"However, we have long argued that compulsory purchase should only be used as a final resort and that remains our position."

Read Fair Play: CLA vision for reform of the compulsory purchase system

 Watch CLA member John Barnes talk about how compulsory purchase for HS2 has affected his home, business and personal life in Staffordshire.