Compulsory purchase orders and acquiring authorities: guidance on what to do before developing a CPO

CPOGNAA/002 Second in a series of guidance notes intended to provide information for acquiring authorities with no, or limited experience of, compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) on what to do before developing a CPO.

7. Formal Resolution

7.1. Whilst not required explicitly by statute, it is considered to be good practice for a meeting of the full Authority, or a meeting of a committee or Board of Directors with delegated powers for the Acquiring Authority, to pass a resolution authorising the making of a Compulsory Purchase Order.

7.2. Furthermore, Acquiring Authorities may, in some circumstances, find it helpful to adopt a two stage approval process (approval in principle, then approval to make the Order).

7.3. A two stage process will allow the Acquiring Authority to agree in principle to pursue compulsory purchase, based on the outcome of the pre-actions it has undertaken. It would then subsequently develop its detailed arguments and documentation to support an Order.

7.4. A two-step process can keep land owners informed and avoid any unnecessary administrative costs if compulsory purchase is not something which the Acquiring Authority would seek to pursue under normal circumstances. It allows the Acquiring Authority to separate the 'in principle decision' to use compulsory purchase from the detailed evidence and justification ahead of resolving the final Order. The process can also provide certainty for all concerned about the Acquiring Authority's intention to pursue the proposal and, thereby, support negotiations with landowners about purchase by agreement.

7.5. Irrespective of the approach taken, the report to the council or committee seeking authorisation to use compulsory purchase should explain in sufficient detail the purpose of the acquisition, the public benefits to be delivered by the scheme and why these are considered to be sufficient to over-ride the rights of the people affected (see further detail at paragraph 3.2 of guidance note CPOGNAA/003).

7.6. In addition, the Acquiring Authority should clearly show on a map accompanying the papers the extent of all land they intend to purchase compulsorily, with full justification of why the land is needed for the delivery of the purpose/project.

7.7. The council or committee will then either agree to the making of the Order, seek further information, or refuse to resolve to use CPO powers.

7.8. Care should be taken to ensure that the wording of the resolution precisely matches what is or will be set out in their draft order, otherwise this may give rise to legal challenge.

7.9. An Acquiring Authority cannot use an Order to acquire more land than has been authorised in the resolution, or to acquire land for a different purpose than what has been authorised in the resolution. It is therefore important that the Acquiring Authority ensures that all the land they might need and clear reasoning for this is included in the justification and resolution.

7.10. As soon as the Acquiring Authority resolves to make the Compulsory Purchase Order, it should contact the relevant Scottish Government Lead Officer [1] to advise them of this decision as this will help to ensure that consideration of the order is included in future work plans (for example, of the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals).



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