Compulsory Purchase Orders

Legislation in England and Wales gives local councils and many other authorised bodies the powers to acquire land (and other interests in land) compulsorily where the affected landowner or occupier is not willing to sell by agreement.

if you think that you may be affected by a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) then we urge that you seek proper professional advice on the matter as early as possible.

The law and procedures relating to compulsory purchase are very complex and if you are affected by a CPO scheme then you will be entitled to compensation which will be assessed in accordance with the Compulsory Purchase Code. In most circumstances the costs of employing a professional representative will be included as part of the compensation to be paid by the acquiring authority.

Why is a Compulsory Purchase Order made?

Compulsory purchase powers are provided to enable acquiring authorities to compulsory purchase land to carry out a function which Parliament has decided is in the greater public interest. The powers could be used to deliver a wide range of schemes, such as new public buildings, housing developments, new road building schemes and alterations to existing highways networks, flood defence works, sewer water or gas pipe schemes and even large scale mixed-use regeneration projects.

Should we decide to promote a CPO for the delivery of such a scheme then we will more than likely carry out an extensive public consultation exercise, which in turn could lead to a full Public Enquiry being held, to ensure that the proposals are in the best interests of the local community.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) operates a compulsory purchase helpline and they can be contacted on 0870 333 1600. This helpline will put you in touch with experienced chartered surveyors in your local area who will provide you with up to thirty minutes of free advice.

Voluntary acquisition

Where it is known that  we require land for the delivery of a scheme, an owner or occupier may be prepared to sell their interest in advance of the us making a compulsory purchase order. This procedure is often called purchase by agreement under the shadow of compulsory purchase powers. It can still be very worrying and distressing to discover that the property you own or occupy may be affected by a proposed compulsory purchase order (CPO), even if you are a willing seller, and we urge that you seek proper professional advice on the matter as early as possible.

Further information


The Department for Communities and Local Government print a series of five guidance booklets which explain, in simple terms, how the compulsory purchase system works including purchase by agreement. If you think you may be affected by a proposed compulsory purchase order you may find these publications very useful.

(1) Compulsory Purchase Procedure

(2) Compensation to Business Owners and Occupiers

(3) Compensation to Agricultural Owners and Occupiers

(4) Compensation to Residential Owners and Occupiers

(5) Reducing the Adverse Effects of Public Development Mitigation Works

All the above documents are available free on request or can be downloaded direct from the Department for Communities and Local Government

Websites and helpful links


Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors

Department of Communities and Local Government

The Valuation Office Agency