Compulsory Purchase Order Process

Are you affected by a compulsory purchase order? As expert chartered surveyors and property experts with over 40 years in business, Roger Hannah has a team of compulsory purchase order specialists ready and waiting to assist anyone affected or involved within the CPO process. 

Even in regular circumstances, those looking to acquire land or property must follow due process, as the ownership will need to be legally transferred over, and there may be restrictions with regards to how the land can be used. A land valuation will also be necessary, so that the landowner is fairly compensated, with the purchaser naturally wanting to make a sound investment too. 

However, in the case of a compulsory purchase order, the process can be particularly complex for both parties, since the landowner is not willingly looking to sell, rather they are being asked to sell by the acquiring authority. The news can often come as a surprise for landowners, and at the same time, the party looking to acquire the land may face delays or difficulties in pressing ahead with their project, which can only be commissioned in the first place if there is a compelling case in the public interest. 

Understandably, anybody affected by a compulsory purchase order on either side of the process will want a further understanding of what is involved, so that they can make an informed decision about their assets or indeed planned project. 

What Is The Compulsory Purchase Order Process?

Most people associate a compulsory purchase order with the letter that will be sent out to landowners informing them of the plans to acquire their land. However, the CPO process begins long before contact is made with the landowner, as a CPO is always considered a last resort.


In total, the process leading up to confirmation can take between 12 and 18 months.

While each case will differ in terms of exact timelines and required steps that need to be taken, here is a general overview of the CPO process to guide you.

CPO Stage 1: Information Gathering

The initial stage of a CPO is whereby the acquiring authority (usually a local authority) gathers information relating to the purpose of the CPO. A report will be produced outlining a CPO plan, and a statement of reasons. 

The information gathered must demonstrate that the acquiring authority has exhausted all other avenues. Given compulsory purchase orders may face legal challenges, the information gathering stage must be extremely comprehensive to prove no viable alternative exists.

Some common reasons as to why a CPO would be considered include to build new homes, create new transport links, the need for utility works or to carry out repair works to listed buildings. 

At this stage, the acquiring authority may also enter into early negotiations with the landowner. 

CPO Stage 2: Resolution

A formal resolution outlining the proposed plans will be made to the relevant council executives or committees. Once the proposal has been considered, approval must be granted to proceed with the compulsory purchase order. 

CPO Stage 3: Serve Requisition For Information Notices

The acquiring authority must inform all parties that may be affected by the plans by serving official notice. Known as a requisition for information notice, all those who own or occupy the land will be contacted. Advertisements may also be placed in the local newspaper, or signage placed in the immediate vicinity. 


A timeframe for any objections to the requisition for information notice will be supplied, which is usually 21 days.

CPO Stage 4: Public Enquiry

If valid compulsory purchase order objections are received, a Public Local Inquiry will be scheduled and heard by a planning inspector. Objectors can present their own evidence to the Inquiry in support of their objections. The Inquiry will hear the evidence from all parties concerned before the Inspector closes the Inquiry to consider the decision.

CPO Stage 5: Post Inquiry

Following the inquiry, the Inspector prepares a report which is then considered by the Secretary of State or confirming minister for approval or otherwise. The CPO will then either confirm the order, possibly with modifications or reject it completely.

If the CPO is confirmed, the acquiring authority will be granted 3 years to execute the order.

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Are you affected by a Compulsory Purchase Order or do you need assistance to help deliver your scheme?

What are the uses of a CPO?

We examine 3 CPOs highlighting a variety of schemes being promoted across the country including:

1. Environment Agency (Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme) CPO 2018.
2. Highways England: A57/A628 Trans-Pennine Upgrade.
3. Birmingham City Council (Perry Barr – Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village and Legacy) Compulsory Purchase Order 2018.

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What Is A Compulsory Purchase Order? 

For those who have received notice of a compulsory purchase order, or those looking to acquire land under a CPO but are unfamiliar with the process, there can be a lot of terminology to get to grips with. 

In the simplest of terms, a compulsory purchase order (also known as a CPO) permits public bodies to forcibly purchase land or property if it has been deemed there is a compelling reason within the public interest for doing so. 

A compulsory purchase order must be confirmed by the confirming authority which is usually the Secretary of State. Only then will the acquiring authority have the powers to compulsorily purchase your property.

It is essential that anyone affected by a CPO seeks expert advice, as fighting a CPO requires a strategic approach which is why claimants and their legal terms turn to us for our invaluable insight into how to overturn the proceedings. 

Acquiring authorities, developers and investors alike may also need assistance in accelerating their project, which is why those on both sides of the CPO process can benefit from the services of a CPO expert.

How Do Compulsory Purchase Orders Work?

Contrary to popular belief, compulsory purchase orders do not happen on a whim. As noted above, there must be a compelling case in the public interest for why a CPO needs to be issued. Even once a viable reason is established, there is a stringent process that follows any CPO application before it reaches the attention of the affected parties. 

In addition, the issue of a CPO is no guarantee the planned works will go ahead, as the affected parties have the right to challenge a CPO in the High Court. Though, any objections must be brought forward within six weeks of the plans being publicised. 

What Is An Acquiring Authority? 

Within a CPO capacity, an acquiring authority refers to the party looking to acquire the property or land. Usually, this will be a local authority acting on behalf of a planning, housing or transport department. 

Can The Council Compulsory Purchase My House?

Yes. Local councils within the housing sector are one of the most common types of acquiring authorities, meaning CPO orders will often be made in relation to purchasing privately owned homes. 

As with all CPOs, just because it is a local authority compulsory purchase does not mean the plans will go ahead. Anyone with a valid objection to a CPO can voice their concerns in an independent inquiry, where a judge will have the deciding vote once all of the evidence has been considered. 

Case example: A local council wants to implement a regeneration scheme in the area, which would involve demolishing existing housing to rebuild new, energy-efficient homes along with more local amenities. The scheme faces objections from elderly residents who have concerns that they would lose access to essential services if forced to move. 

Compulsory Purchase Order Empty Properties

Empty properties can become a blight on the neighbourhood, as they can be prone to antisocial behaviour as well as creating a visual eyesore for local residents. A compulsory purchase order can sometimes be made for vacant properties with or without the owner’s permission. As is the case with all other CPOs, such orders are seen as a last resort if no other suitable solution can be found. 

Can You Fight A Compulsory Purchase Order?

Absolutely, and objecting to a compulsory purchase order is something that we advise potential claimants to do. 

Objecting offers two main benefits for claimants in that there is a greater chance of defeating the acquiring authority during the public inquiry, as well as significantly improving the negotiation position of the claimant through the objections they have raised. 

Compulsory Purchase Order Compensation

As stated on our compensation for compulsory purchase order page, a claimant should be placed in a no better or worse position (in financial terms) after the acquisition than they were prior to the acquisition.

Roger Hannah are compulsory purchase specialists, meaning we will ensure a successful negotiation so that you are fairly compensated, depending on the circumstances of the CPO. 

In cases where compensation for a compulsory purchase order cannot be agreed upon, we will provide advice on references to the Lands Chamber (Upper Tribunal).

Compulsory Purchase Order Valuation

Obtaining a valuation of the land or property that is subject to a CPO should be carried out by an independent, specialist property surveyor such as our team here at Roger Hannah. Adhering to the RICS valuation scheme, expert property valuations offer much needed clarity to those involved with the CPO process, along with anyone looking to buy, invest or sell their property or land.

Compulsory Purchase Order UK

Roger Hannah is a leading UK based firm of chartered surveyors and property managers based in Manchester, with unrivalled experience in compulsory purchase orders. 

As a firm, we act on behalf of scheme promoters, business and residential claimants. We can guide you through the complex statutory processes involved with a CPO.

If you would like one of our compulsory purchase order specialists to assist you, or if you’d like further help or advice on anything we’ve mentioned above, we’re here to help. 

Call us today on 0161 817 3399 or fill out our contact form and our friendly, knowledgeable team will be in touch.