Today Greg Clark announced an exciting new piece of guidance but you won’t find it without dogged persistence, or a bit of help.
The guidance is designed to help local communities deal with abandoned buildings and irresponsible private ownership of buildings that matter to them. I have some knowledge and experience of this field – most of all Hastings Pier, plus links with Plymouth Palace Theatre, the long-empty Rose & Young site in the heart of Tandridge and the New York pub in Hull – and I mentioned this to Greg Clark at a meeting 6 weeks ago. He said there was ‘something in the pipeline on compulsory purchase’. Here it is… the sad thing is civil servants have found the most boring and opaque approach they could possibly bring to the subject, so if you blink you wouldn’t see it. If we’re going to make a difference in the real world, we need to do a little bit more than add Appendix KA (inserted between K and L) in Circular 06/2004 . I’m appalled by the lack of substance and the hideaway comms on this. Just have a look at ‘Summary’ that editors are directed to on DCLG’s website. The thing we’re interested in is mentioned as the third ‘Please Note’. Gripping, eh???!
This circular provides guidance to acquiring local planning authorities in England making compulsory purchase orders to which the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 (as amended) applies.
Its aim is to help local planning authorities to use their compulsory purchase powers to best effect and, by advising on the application of the correct procedures and statutory or administrative requirements, to ensure that orders progress quickly and are without defects.
Circular 02/03: Compulsory Purchase Orders is cancelled except to the extent that it is applicable to earlier compulsory purchase orders to which Part 1 of the Memorandum to this circular is not applicable.
The version of the Crichel Down Rules published in 1992 by the Department of the Environment and the Welsh Office is superseded in England (and for certain land in Wales) by the Rules set out in Part 2 of the Memorandum to this circular.
Please note: Paragraphs 46, 48 and 49 of Part 1 of the Memorandum has been revoked and replaced by Circular 03/09: Costs Awards in Appeals and Other Planning Proceedings.
Please note: Appendix C to Part 1 of the Memorandum has been cancelled by Circular 04/10: Compulsory Purchase and the Crichel Down Rules except to the extent that it is applicable to earlier Compulsory Purchase Orders made by English Partnerships (as the Urban Regeneration Agency) prior to 1 December 2008.
Please note: This circular was revised on 9 June 2011 with an Appendix KA inserted between Appendices K and L in Part 1 of the Memorandum. This Appendix relates specifically to requests from voluntary and community organisations, and other third parties.
Note: The above publication was issued by our former department, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). ODPM became the Department for Communities and Local Government on 5 May 2006 – all references in the text to ODPM now refer to the Department for Communities and Local Government.
So anyway – here it is, Appendix KA. It’s page 57 of a 124 page document.
Please cut & paste and forward on, add pretty pictures of places abandoned by irresponsible owners – here’s two from Hull and Hastings. If you would like to know more about the Locality CPO Project please drop me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and add the abandoned buildings that concern you to the Place Station at www.theplacestation.org.uk so other people can comment and add their ideas/offers of support, etc.
Exercise of compulsory purchase powers at the request of the community
1. From time to time, authorities may receive requests from the community (by petition or otherwise) to acquire community assets that are in danger of being lost to the detriment of that community. If the owner is unwilling to sell, the implication is that the community would ask the authority to use its compulsory purchase powers to acquire the asset.
2. Local authorities should consider all requests from third parties, but particularly voluntary and community organisations, which put forward a scheme for a particular asset which would require compulsory purchase to take forward, and provide a formal response.
3. As with any compulsory purchase, local authorities must be able to finance the cost of the scheme (including the compensation to the owner) and the Compulsory Purchase Order process either from their own resources, or with a partial or full contribution from the requesting organisation (see paragraphs 20 – 23 of Part 1 of the Memorandum to this Circular).
4. In order to assess whether there is a compelling case in the public interest for compulsory acquisition, local authorities should ask those making the request for such information that is necessary for them to do so. This could include the value of the asset to the community; the perceived threat to the asset; the future use of the asset and who would manage it (including a business plan where appropriate); any planning issues; and how the acquisition would be financed. This list is not exhaustive, but the level of detail required should be tailored to the circumstances.