Compulsory Purchase Order guidance: Chief Planner letter April 2018

Letter from the Chief Planner providing advice about the new Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) guidance for acquiring authorities.

To Heads of Planning

In his letter of November 2016 the Minister for Local Government and Housing highlighted the potential role that Compulsory Purchase can play, when necessary, in helping to shape development and deliver housing. At the Compulsory Purchase National Assembly in December 2017 the Minister again highlighted his support for the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to bring real benefits to communities by enabling the delivery of projects and development that is in the public interest that would otherwise not take place.

I am therefore pleased to be able to write to you to highlight the publication of a new suite of five guidance notes that aim to help authorities who are considering utilising their CPO powers understand what they will need to consider. The notes guide non-specialists through the CPO process from initial considerations of whether CPO is possible, through the process of applying for approval for an Order, to taking possession of the land in question and paying compensation. These notes are intended to complement the existing Planning Circular 6/2011 on Compulsory Purchase which remains relevant and which specialist staff will wish to continue to refer to on some detailed aspects of the process.

Also available on our dedicated CPO webpages are a searchable register of all CPOs submitted to Ministers for consideration since January 2012 and a suite of case studies illustrating the use of CPO in practice.

In addition, members of the CPO Policy Team remain available to meet with any Acquiring Authority considering the use of compulsory purchase to talk through the process, to highlight the key questions that you will need to answer and to guide you towards further help and advice. A number of authorities have already taken advantage of the offer to meet and have, I believe, found these meetings helpful in clarifying their understanding of the process and building confidence in the potential use of CPOs.

If you would like to take up the offer of a meeting with the CPO Policy team please contact Sam Anderson on 0141 242 5442 or e-mail

I trust that you find this new guidance helpful but if you have any further queries or require further assistance please do not hesitate to the CPO Policy Team.

Best wishes,

John McNairney Chief Planner


Area 2-H (South)
Planning and Architecture Division
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

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