Compulsory purchase bids fall but success rates remain high, study shows

Submissions of planning-related compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) fell by 30 per cent in 2016, according to latest research, but success rates for such orders are still high.

New homes: CPO use 'could still go a long way to unlocking more sites'
New homes: CPO use 'could still go a long way to unlocking more sites'

The study, released today by law firm Womble Bond Dickinson, reveals that submissions of planning-related CPOs - prepared in order to enable complex development projects to proceed -  decreased in 2016 with 40 applications, compared to 57 in 2015 and 58 in 2014.

But the firm's figures also show that success rates for both planning and housing-related CPOs remain high. They indicate that for planning-related CPOs, at least 87 per cent in 2015 and 82 per cent in 2016 succeeded.

Jonathan Bower, planning partner at the firm, said the report shows that CPOs are a "vital tool for regeneration".

Bower pointed to a range of reasons why a small percentage of CPOs are not confirmed, such as a failure to assess alternative schemes, an absence of proven need for the order and public sector equality duty issues.

"A significant number of local authorities make use of compulsory purchase powers, but generally they do so sparingly," Bower said.

"Acquiring authorities can take comfort from the good prospects of success, but they must use CPOs with care and pay close attention to the circumstances of each case to meet legal and policy requirements."

"The use of compulsory purchase requires a supporting policy base and it is most successful when there is strong political will to use the powers," he said.

"Despite its benefits, the report confirms that compulsory purchase remains an underused process, particularly when compared to the frequency of applications during the pre-recession period," said British Property Federation chief executive Melanie Leech.

"It is clear that increasing its use could still go a long way to unlocking more sites and more housing."


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