The Cruelty of Compulsory Purchase Orders – Fight Back!

 

Jaconlli Eviction and Demolition

Tripping Up Trump (TUT) is a popular movement against the use of compulsory purchase for private profit. TUT’s campaign has stood alongside the people, and protected the special beach and dune environment threatened by Donald Trump’s golf course development in Menie, Aberdeenshire.

The threat of forced evictions through CPO’s was deliberately held over the heads of Menie families for nearly two years. The TUT campaign has been key to Donald Trump’s retreat from the use of compulsory purchase orders (CPO’s).

We’ve seen in Dalmarnock how compulsory purchase orders are used to further dispossess the poor, while lining the pockets of the already wealthy. The Scottish Government have now launched a consultation on the use of CPO’s, seeking to update guidance to local authorities and other organisations so that compulsory purchase orders are easier to pursue, and arguing that they ‘need not be a heavy-handed process‘.

Try telling that to the Jaconelli family

As far as we’re concerned, the consultation is designed exclusively to assist local authorities to steamroller over peoples lives with large-scale development projects. These projects are ultimately land-grabs with the express intention of appeasing property developers, construction companies and speculators. We’ve said this before and we’ll continue to say it.

The Tripping Up Trump campaign, however, have done a great service to people fighting unfair treatment under CPO’s by commissioning a legal expert to review the government’s proposal. The key finding was that the goverment’s draft proposal encourages public authorities to use compulsory purchase more, and doesn’t adequately take into account the devastating effects it can have on someone’s home, family or business.

The major points of contention are listed below:

It is not necessary to change anything at present; the Scottish Law Commission will examine the law of compulsory purchase in the next few years, and the Scottish Government should await their recommendations; 

It does not define what a public interest is and how to distinguish between a private and a public interest. 

If the circular is to be published, it should be altered to make it clear that a development such as the Trump development at Menie would never be considered to be something that would meet the public interest tests;

It does not properly respect the principles of sustainable development;

It should recognise that those living in an area are best placed to know what is best for the area;

It does not reflect the fear and upheaval that are caused by a proposal to compulsorily purchase land;

It does not prevent another situation like Menie happening again, where residents have been in fear for years that they would lose their homes;

It does not respect the rights of those who are subject to a compulsory purchase;

It encourages local authorities to use compulsory purchase more often; this is unfair as there is no scheme of legal aid to allow individuals to obtain detailed advice or representation before an inquiry into a compulsory purchase;

The draft is seriously deficient in respect of the proposal to resource public authorities with advice and expertise, ignoring those who most need advice – those facing losing their home or business.

ACTION

The legal expert has prepared a pre-written email – including the points above – which can be sent to the consultation process.

Please feel free to add your own comments or alter the wording. Making it more personalised is a useful and important touch. And please don’t forget to add your name.

Please cut and past the wording below and send it to CPOcircularconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk now. 

NOW FOR THE BIT TO CUT, PASTE, PERSONALISE AND EMAIL:

TO (via email) : CPOcircularconsultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk 

Ann Niven

Directorate for the Built Environment

Scottish Government

2J South Victoria Quay

Edinburgh

EH6 6QQ

Submission to Consultation on the Guidance on the Use of Compulsory Purchase 

Please treat this as my response to the above consultation. I wish to make the following points about the draft circular:

It is not necessary to change anything at present; the Scottish Law Commission will examine the law of compulsory purchase in the next few years, and the Scottish Government should await their recommendations; 

It does not define what a public interest is and how to distinguish between a private and a public interest. 

If the circular is to be published, it should be altered to make it clear that a development such as the Trump development at Menie would never be considered to be something that would meet the public interest tests;

It does not properly respect the principles of sustainable development;

It should recognise that those living in an area are best placed to know what is best for the area;

It does not reflect the fear and upheaval that are caused by a proposal to compulsorily purchase land;

It does not prevent another situation like Menie happening again, where residents have been in fear for years that they would lose their homes;

It does not respect the rights of those who are subject to a compulsory purchase;

It encourages local authorities to use compulsory purchase more often; this is unfair as there is no scheme of legal aid to allow individuals to obtain detailed advice or representation before an inquiry into a compulsory purchase;

The draft is seriously deficient in respect of the proposal to resource public authorities with advice and expertise, ignoring those who most need advice – those facing losing their home or business.

In short, the draft circular encourages public authorities to use compulsory purchase more, but doesn’t adequately take into account the devastating effects it can have on someone’s home, family or business.

Revising the guidance on using compulsory purchase without considering the bigger picture is a mistake.  The Scottish Law Commission will be looking at compulsory purchase in the next few years.  This will look at all the issues, including how to ensure the process is fair to those most affected by a compulsory purchase, including the availability of advice.  

Please acknowledge receipt of this consultation response and forward any responses to this email address.

Yours sincerely

YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS