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September Newsletter 2018
Whilst the pace of compulsory purchase (and any changes thereto) move, at best, at a glacial rate, this blog is intended to bring members up-to-date with what recently has been and is going on within the Scottish compulsory purchase world. As you can see below, quite a lot is bubbling along:-
Land Value Capture
There are on-going discussions regarding the compulsory purchase of land for development purposes, primarily for social housing purposes, and a proposal has been put forward that the compensation to be paid for such land acquired should be assessed at existing use value only- ignoring any potential development and/or “hope” value. Perhaps, not unsurprisingly, two schools of thought have formed- those for and those against this proposal- with each party’s views polarised from the other.
Compulsory Sale Orders (CSOs)
This issue was incorporated within the SNP’s manifesto at the last Scottish parliamentary election and has since been progressed by the Scottish Land Commission with legislation likely to be brought forward in the near future for its implementation. CSOs are to target vacant/unused/derelict land and buildings which have an adverse effect on a local community and, as the name implies, the relevant unitary authority will have the statutory power to force the owner of the property to sell on the open market by auction to someone who will then undertake re-development. As above, two schools of thought have developed along the lines of this is a good thing and another tool in the box to improve communities and those who are not much in favour of state compulsion when dealing with private property. As always, the devil will be in the detail of the scheme and draft legislation is now awaited. RICS Scotland has recently issued its policy position in respect of this matter.
RICS Early ADR Consultation
In August, RICS commenced a consultation exercise regarding the potential use of a variety of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms as opposed to the need to make what often nowadays is a very lengthy and expensive application to the Lands Tribunal regarding the disputed amount of compensation- see the RICS website for details. There appears to be a general consensus that alternative methods to more effectively and efficiently resolve compensation disputes should be developed but, as above, the devil will be in the detail and at present it is considered that, at least in Scotland, but probably UK-wide, there are a number of quite high hurdles to be overcome. CPA has recently submitted a response to RICS and SCPA will also be doing so shortly.
Scottish Government Initiatives
While it remains the remit of Neil Langhorn and Sam Anderson at SG to bring forward recommendations to The Scottish Ministers regarding the implementation of new and improved legislation covering CPOs and compensation assessments, this is a long-term project and thus we will continue to work closely with them; however, since being in post they have introduced the undernoted SG initiatives- with the active involvement of and advice from SCPA:-
On 26 April 2018, SG issued five Guidance Notes to supplement its 2011 CPO policies, namely:-
1. Can I use compulsory Purchase?
2. What should I do before developing a CPO?
3. How do I prepare and submit a CPO?
4. How do The Scottish Ministers consider a CPO?
5. Confirmed CPOs- next steps
On 31 July 2018, SG issued a Guidance Note on Certificates of Appropriate Alternative Development and also on that day issued Core Principles for SG and Transport Scotland staff, namely:-
· To act fairly and impartially
· To assign clear roles and responsibilities
· To ensure that the CPO process is transparent
· To ensure that all affected parties are informed
· To ensure that all SG actions are undertaken timeously
· To ensure that communications are clear and fit for purpose
Lastly, a Guidance Note for affected CPO Landowners is being prepared and should be issued shortly and we are currently in discussion with Neil and Sam regarding the detail of the setting up of a number of training events throughout the country during early 2019 for professionals employed within acquiring authorities in Scotland.
Thus, much in the melting pot and we will keep stirring!
Keith Petrie FRICS
Vice-Chair, Scottish Branch of the Compulsory Purchase Association
Consultant, FG Burnett Ltd, Aberdeen.