Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017: Compulsory purchase reform

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Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017
Our third article on the Neighbourhood Planning Act 2017 (the NPA) covers the Government's reform of compulsory purchase, which continued apace with the NPA. The Act received Royal Assent on 27 April and its compulsory purpose measures include a right to take temporary possession and the no-scheme principle for compensation.

The NPA's compulsory purchase provisions (COP) will enter force once a Commencement Order has been laid before a Parliament. Parliament is currently dissolved due to the General Election.

Temporary possession

The NPA proposes to create a right to take temporary possession on largely the same basis as the right to compulsorily acquire.  The provisions on this are contained in Sections 18-41.

The effect of a CPO will be widened so that it can now authorise taking temporary possession, for example taking land for the storage of construction equipment.  The same procedures for authorising and challenging the CPO will apply whether it is for temporary possession or compulsory acquisition. 

Section 20 provides that the notice requirement remains the same - three months, though this can be reduced by agreement between the acquiring authority and all of the people interested in the land. 

Section 21 provides that a leasehold or freehold owner can serve a counter-notice limiting the period of temporary possession to 12 months where the land is a dwelling (or part thereof) and 6 years in all other cases.  However, Section 20 implies that successive temporary possession CPOs can be made with no gap between, so the effect of Section 21 may be limited in practice.

Section 23 provides that compensation shall be paid and sections 24-25 provide for advance payments on the same terms as introduced by the Housing and Planning Acts194-197.

Section 27 provides that an acquiring authority in temporary possession of land may use the land as if it had acquired all interests in it, but only for the purpose for which temporary possession was required.

No-scheme principle

Section 32 clarifies the no-scheme principle for the valuation of land (generally known as the Pointe Gourde Principle which has been subject of much case law).  The no-scheme principle is that any increase or decrease in the value of land caused by the scheme or the prospect of that scheme is to be disregarded.

No 'second bite of the cherry'

Section 33 repeals Part 4 of the Land Compensation Act 1961 so that claimants can no longer return for a 'second bite of the cherry' where a subsequent grant of planning permission increases the value of the acquired land within ten years of the completion of a CPO.

Time limit for confirmation notices

Section 34 provides that confirmation notices must be served within six weeks from the day on which the CPO is confirmed. Previously there was no prescribed timescale.

Joint CPOs by London Authorities

Section 36 provides that TfL and the GLA may make joint CPOs for transport and regeneration purposes


The Government made further commitments on compulsory purchase in the Housing White Paper earlier this year, including a commitment to encourage local authorities to use compulsory purchase in relation to stalled sites.  Those commitments and the measures in the NPA will add to changes previously enacted through the Housing and Planning Act 2016.  The cumulative effect of this programme of reform is likely to be a more flexible compulsory purchase regime which takes a greater role in the delivery of housing.

Photograph of Sara Hanrahan

Sara specialises in urban redevelopment and infrastructure projects, particularly advising in relation to compulsory purchase and affordable housing schemes. She also has niche specialism acting for high net worth individuals.

Sara Hanrahan
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020 7814 5407

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