Public bodies usually buy property that they need for projects such as road construction, housing developments or town centre regeneration by reaching agreement with the owners. However, various public bodies such as the Scottish Government, local authorities and infrastructure providers have legal powers which allow them to buy property compulsorily in certain circumstances using a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).
The Scottish Government has a formal role in the process, as CPO's promoted by public bodies must be confirmed by Scottish Ministers before they can proceed. In deciding whether or not to confirm a CPO Scottish Ministers consider objections and weigh the balance of the public interest against the private rights of the owner.
Where an objection is made to a proposed CPO and this is not resolved by discussions between the public body and the person who has made an objection, the public body seeking the Order must submit the case to Scottish Ministers who will appoint a DPEA reporter to hold a hearing or public local inquiry. The reporter will consider the case for and against the making of the Order and will make a recommendation to Scottish Ministers who will decide whether or not to confirm the CPO.
Further information about hearing and inquiries held in connection with a CPO is found in Circular 17/1998 - Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Order Inquiries and Hearings: Procedures and good practice and Circular 6/2011, Scottish Government policy on making compulsory purchase orders .