Stronger Compulsory Purchase Powers Back Builders, Not Blockers

The Government has announced that councils will be able to buy land for development using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) without paying inflated ‘hope value’ costs.

Richard Beresford, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders (NFB), said: “We have been calling for new compulsory purchase powers since the Government implemented our subdivision of large sites policy, and so we are delighted. The public sector has all the powers it needs to deliver tens of thousands of council houses by the end of the year.”

The decision follows the commitment from the Labour Party that it would implement the same policy at ‘closer to existing use’ value and it is expected that councils will use the new powers to unlock more sites for affordable and social housing. The detail of the policy is yet to be announced.

Rico Wojtulewicz, Head of Policy, and Market Insight at the NFB and House Builders Association (HBA), said: “More powers for council to land assemble is a no-brainer and our seven-year campaign for it, particularly to complement our subdivision of large site policy, gives local authorities and the Government powers to support their local employing and investing housebuilders, while delivering swathes of affordable and social homes.

There’s also something else at play, which is whether the housing crisis is a failing of market builders or one of the public sector avoiding land use. Councils and the Government control planning, infrastructure spending, local plans, and site allocations, they now have even more powers to add to their already huge landbanks. We are therefore now in a position where the housing crisis starts coming to an end within twelve months’ time because it really was the markets fault, or, as most outside the political realm agree, the broken planning process and opposition of land use is the real problem.”