Temporary possession - Compulsory Purchase Association

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Temporary possession powers

What is the Problem

CPOs only allow permanent acquisition or acquisition of (permanent) new rights. The power to use land temporarily is available under Special Acts, Transport and Works Act Orders and Development Consent Orders only.

The scope of the temporary powers available, and how they should be used, is not sufficiently circumscribed by legislation, being controlled only by precedent in the case of Special Acts and model clauses in respect of TWAOs and DCOs. This has led to instances of widened powers being secured which place an unacceptable burden of uncertainty on affected land owners and occupiers.  


The discrepancy in the availability of powers should be addressed to ensure that the necessary powers are available to all authorities.

The scope and operation of temporary powers should be properly defined and limited in legislation to protect land owners and occupiers from extended periods of uncertainty in relation to the occupation and purchase of their land.


What we seek

Primary legislation to consistently address the availability and extent of powers to temporarily use land and to provide broad principles for the assessment of compensation in relation to the use of such powers.

Notes from discussion

These have been included in a number of 2008 Act Development Consent Orders that have been issued and not aware of any major problems or concerns re the scope of these powers.

Clarification that the powers for TWAO are vague and could be a basis of challenge. Also although Highway Authorities do make use of temporary possession there is no express power that allows them to do so.

The issues are not really with the powers but with the difficulty of assessing compensation. At present can only be done on a loss or damages incurred basis which creates difficulties. Also concerns that there is no power to make any advance payment.

Reference made to Paris Metro acquisition that includes land around the proposed stations but agreed that this is more likely to do with permanent development of this land rather than it being needed for temporary works.

Next Steps/Actions

CPA to assemble working group and review issues and potential reforms. This should be addressed in any major reform package

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