Enhanced compulsory purchase powers championed to break dereliction deadlock
August 16 2018
The Land Commission is calling on the Scottish Government to hand local authorities greater control of regeneration policy by championing a new Compulsory Sales Order (CSO) as a mechanism for forcing abandoned buildings and derelict land back into productive use.
Intended as a more flexible version of compulsory purchase orders, which require a specific plan for re-use to be put in place, the new instrument would be available to public authorities seeking to tackle problematic sites via a transfer of ownership.
The call to action is contained in a new report which cites enhanced powers for planning authorities as the most straightforward method for tackling the problem, with an estimated 11,600 hectares of land failing to reach its potential – equivalent to an area twice the size of Dundee.
This is compounded by a further 37,000 houses scattered throughout the country which have been classed as long-term empty homes by Shelter Scotland.
Professor David Adams commented: “Such sites often act as magnets for crime and anti-social behaviour. This damages quality of life for existing residents and can act as a deterrent for inward investment, making it more difficult to bring about long-term regeneration and renewal.
“CSOs could be part of a tool kit to bring unused land – especially small parcels of land that have lain unused and unloved, in our city and town centres - back in to productive use.
“We envisage it being used as a power of last resort; councils and land owners should be working together to try and find solutions first.”
Fresh solutions are being investigated as a means to break a logjam which has seen precious little progress made, with derelict and vacant land totals remaining largely unchanged since the late 1990’s.
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