NEWS RELEASE                  Date: 4 December 2002

 

 

PLANNING AND COMPULSORY PURCHASE BILL:

A STING IN THE TAIL FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS

 

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill heralds positive change by introducing a new “Loss Payment” for victims of compulsory purchase, but contains a sting in the tail for property rights, CLA Head of Rural Economy Oliver Harwood said today.

 

“We welcome the announcement of a new “Loss Payment” for all victims of compulsory purchase.  This acknowledges the principle that people who have their property taken from them against their will should be entitled to an additional payment to compensate them for the inconvenience and stress involved.  We will be putting reasoned arguments to the Government for the proposed level of payment to owners – set at 7.5%, subject to a cap of #75,000 – to be increased.

 

“However we note with concern the Bill’s reduction of the necessary safeguards for householders and businesses facing speculative proposals for compulsory purchase orders by local authorities.  Currently, if a local authority seeks to acquire someone’s land by compulsory purchase, it must prove that there is a good reason for it.

 

“Two court judgements by Lord Denning MR make this principle clear:

 

Coleen Properties Ltd v Minister of Housing and Local Government (1971)

 

“When seeking to deprive a subject of his property and cause him to move himself, his belongings and perhaps his business to another area, the onus lies squarely on the local authority to show by clear and unambiguous evidence that the order sought for should be granted.”

 

Prest v Secretary of State for Wales (1983)

“I regard it as a principle of our constitutional law that no citizen is to be deprived of his land by any public authority against his will, unless it is expressly authorised by Parliament and the public interest decisively so demands.”

 

“The Bill proposes the removal of significant checks and balances, by allowing an authority to buy land anywhere if it thinks that the acquisition “will facilitate the carrying out of development, redevelopment or improvement on or in relation to the land”.  This is a reduction of the protection that Statute affords people’s rights in a property-owning democracy. We will be seeking changes in the Bill.

 

"Householders and businesses are still awaiting the result of the Law Commission's study into a broad-based reform of compulsory purchase.  It is unfortunate that this Bill contains no commitment to further reform, to bring statute (which goes back to 1845) up to date.  This further work properly forms part of the reform package, and must be brought forward at the earliest possible date.  We see no reason why these further important elements should not be incorporated into the Bill as it passes through Parliament."

 

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

1)                  The CLA has been pressing for fundamental reform of compulsory purchase law for many years, including the introduction of loss payments.

 

2)         Through the Property Industry Group, the CLA has been working in partnership with other organisations representing victims of compulsory purchase.

                                                                                   

 

For further information, contact Elspeth Henderson, CLA Head of Media on tel: 020 7460 7932, mobile 07803 017174, email: elspethh@cla.org.uk.