Public authorities usually buy property that they need for projects in the public interest such as road construction, housing developments or town centre regeneration by reaching agreement with the owners. However, a compulsory purchase order can allow various organisations to acquire land without the owner's permission, if there is a strong enough case for this in the public interest. This can help local authorities and other public bodies to assemble the land they need where it is impossible or impractical to buy the land by agreement. Indeed, without compulsory purchase many projects in the public interest would not be possible.
The Scottish Government has a formal role in the process, as orders promoted by other public bodies must be confirmed by Scottish Ministers before they can proceed. In deciding whether or not to confirm an order Scottish Ministers consider objections and weigh up the public benefit in the authority's proposals against the interests of the people affected.
Depriving an individual or business of their rights is a serious step that an authority should consider carefully. However, compulsory purchase can play a vital role. It can help deliver urban and rural regeneration, revitalising communities, creating jobs and promoting business.
Scottish Ministers encourage authorities to recognise that in some cases acquiring all interests by agreement will not be possible or practicable in a reasonable time or at a reasonable cost. In these cases Ministers encourage authorities to use compulsory purchase positively and proactively, to promote sustainable economic growth, improve quality of life and bring real benefits to Scotland's communities.
Working with people from across the public, private and third sectors, the Scottish Government is working to improve the compulsory purchase process for everyone involved.
As part of this programme the Scottish Government has published:
We are looking at ways to share good practice and increase knowledge and confidence. And we are reviewing the Government's internal procedures for processing CPOs to make the process quicker and more efficient.
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If you'd like to find out more, discuss or contribute to the work that we're doing on compulsory purchase please contact:
0131 244 7063