DLUHC gives local authorities new CPO powers to buy land cheaply

DLUHC gives local authorities new CPO powers to buy land cheaply

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced this week that it has handed councils new powers to buy cheaper land in a bid to support the delivery of more social and affordable housing.

The change came into force on 30th April and allows councils to buy land for development through compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) which removes ‘hope value’ costs.

The intention is to make it cheaper and easier for local authorities to buy and transform land and to enables local authorities to build much-needed homes more quickly.

Here, Lawrence Turner, a Director at Boyer, considers whether the initiative will achieve this: “This may seem beneficial at first glance — giving local authorities the ability to overcome financial and viability barriers to delivering housing.

“But my concern is that it will be ineffective and time-consuming, CPO is a lengthy and costly process, and many local authorities will lack the resources to do so.

“The CPO process frequently involves negotiations with multiple landowners, legal challenges, and delays. Landowners may choose to challenge the decision through judicial review, further prolonging the process. As such, it is far from the quick and efficient means of unlocking land for new development which is needed.

“Even if effective, CPOs are just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to delivering new homes. The wider planning system in the UK is excruciatingly slow and bureaucratic, with Local Plans and planning applications often taking years to complete and the intrinsic problems that have led to this situation must also be addressed.

“We need to see a more holistic approach to addressing the housing crisis: including reforming the planning system and providing support to councils, reviewing the Green Belt and delivering new homes in sustainable brown and greenfield locations will be necessary to truly make a meaningful impact on the availability of affordable housing in the UK.”

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