‘Compulsory purchase’ is where the state or a public body is allowed to take your property (this means land and/or buildings) by right where it is needed in the public interest.

Compulsory Purchase RICS consumer guide

It may happen when all or part of your property is needed for a development project. Compensation will be paid  to you for any property or rights taken from you.

What happens is that a body, which could be central government, a local council, a utility company (for example a gas, electricity or water supplier) or numerous other bodies including some private companies can obtain the legal powers to buy all or part of your private property. You will have to sell even if you don’t want to.

Some examples of the types of projects where compulsory purchase may be needed are:

  • town centre regeneration
  • housing developments
  • road building projects
  • rail building projects
  • airport expansions
  • electricity power plants pylons and cables
  • flood defence works
  • sewer, water or gas pipeline schemes.


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