Any acquiring authority which is considering using its compulsory purchase powers may need to enter the land to survey it before it decides to make a compulsory purchase order.
For example, the authority may need to find out if there are any underground structures or contaminated land which might hamper a proposed scheme.
Currently, only some acquiring authorities (such as local authorities, urban development corporations and the Homes and Communities Agency) have the power to enter land in such circumstances.
Part 7 of the Housing and Planning Bill introduces a new general power of entry for survey purposes which will be available to all acquiring authorities in connection with a proposal to compulsorily acquire land.
Proposed Section 111 provides that an acquiring authority may authorise a person to enter and survey land in connection with a proposal to compulsorily acquire land.
This authorised person may not use force to enter the land unless this is authorised by a Magistrates' Court warrant. The Court may only issue a warrant to authorise entry by force if it is satisfied that the owner/occupier has prevented or is likely to prevent entry, and that it is reasonable to use force.
Proposed Section 113 requires acquiring authorities to give owners and occupiers of the land at least fourteen days' notice of entry so that they may make any necessary arrangements.
The notice must explain whether the survey will involve activities such as searching or boring and, if so, what is proposed. It must also inform the owners/occupiers of their right to compensation in respect of any damage done in exercise of the power.
Proposed Section 114 sets out particular requirements where the land to be surveyed is held by statutory undertakers or includes a street.
If the survey is to be carried out on land held by a statutory undertaker and the undertaker objects because it would seriously interfere with the carrying on of its undertaking, the consent of the appropriate Minister will be needed before the authority can enter the land.
This document is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given.