Compulsory purchase example: Butterburn Square, Hilltown, Dundee

A case study of the use of compulsory purchase in Scotland focusing on the redevelopment at Butterburn Square in Hilltown, Dundee.

Land Assembly/Avoiding Unnecessary Delays

CPO Example Land Assembly/Avoiding Unnecessary Delays
Project Name Butterburn Square, Hilltown, Dundee
Acquiring Authority Dundee City Council
CPO Type Housing


Dundee City Council agreed to promote the above CPO in January 2017 as a way of seeking to re-acquire five of eleven former Council owned properties within a tenement at 1-34 Butterburn Square, Dundee.

Butterburn Square is situated with the area covered by the Council's Hilltown Physical Regeneration Framework ( HPRF). A key task in the HPRF is the removal of unpopular housing to create new areas of housing for development. The redevelopment is to be carried out by the Council in partnership with a housing association. All the flats at Butterburn Square were declared surplus by the Council and scheduled for demolition to clear the area to provide new quality homes. Approval was given by the Council to negotiate the repurchase of the 11 privately owned flats.


Initially the District Valuer ( DVS) was instructed to negotiate on behalf of the Council in respect of the 11 privately owned flats and 6 of these were subsequently bought back by voluntary agreement.

There was local engagement with the communities and interested parties within the Hilltown area and the DVS continued to try to negotiate with the remaining 5 owners without success. As agreement was not possible with the remaining owners and so as not to delay the regeneration programme any further, it was agreed that a CPO was necessary especially when the Council had a housing association ready and willing to proceed with redevelopment of new homes.

The Council tried to avoid the use of its CPO powers by seeking to proceed with the 11 repurchases on a voluntary basis. Whilst using its CPO powers, the Council was able to repurchase one of the 5 properties on a voluntary basis thus removing it from the CPO process. It is continuing to negotiate in respect of a further property.

Conclusion and Learning Points

The Council's experience of the confirming of the CPO was that the process went smoothly. Following the submission of the CPO for confirmation to the Scottish Government on 9 th March 2017, there was one potential objection from an owner which was was subsequently withdrawn in May 2017. As a result an inquiry was not necessary and the CPO was confirmed by the Scottish Government on 17 th August 2017.

The Council has therefore been able to realise a project earlier than without the CPO process and the citizens of Dundee will be able to enjoy the earlier regeneration of the Hilltown because of it, thus encapsulating that the use of CPO powers is something that is done for the public and not to the public.

The use of a back to back agreement with a housing association who were willing and ready to invest in the redevelopment of the area meant that the local authority could proceed with the purchase with confidence and highlights the value of this type of partnership approach to delivering housing regeneration.

Dundee City Council


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