Posted: Thu 15th Oct 2020

Changes to the planning policy will allow Welsh councils to compulsory purchase empty houses and vacant land

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Changes to the planning rules in Welsh will allow councils to compulsory purchase empty houses and vacant land.

Following a consultation, the new rules will strength powers allowing councils to compulsory purchase vacant land and redundant buildings in Wales in order to bring them back into use, when it is in the public interest to do so.

The government has also launched a new consultation on further reforms to streamline and modernise compulsory purchase procedures to support recovery from the pandemic and bring forward land to increase the supply of affordable housing.

A number of priority areas have been identified as the Welsh government plans the recovery from the pandemic, they include; sustainable development, house building and town centre regeneration, have been identified.

The changes to streamline the compulsory purchase process support the recommendation from the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Supply and improve the Empty Dwelling Management Orders.

There are an estimated 30,000 empty homes in Wales and vacant land can be regenerated to increase housing supply and bring empty commercial and other properties back into use helping to stimulate local economies.

In March £15.2 million was allocated to tackle 66 of the worst empty properties across Wales and bring them back into use.

The Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James said:

“In towns and villages across Wales, we see empty homes, former commercial properties and vacant land – which can often be a huge blight on local communities. Improving the delivery of homes in the right locations through the planning system is critical and we are determined to do everything we can to help build the homes people want, and help create jobs closer to people’s homes.

The Welsh Government has put placemaking at the heart of the planning system in Wales and believes compulsory purchase powers are an important action tool which can help support local authorities and communities recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

Used properly, compulsory purchase powers can contribute towards effective and efficient regeneration, the revitalisation of communities, placemaking, and the promotion of business, leading to improvements in quality of life.

These changes to planning policy will not only make the process fairer, more efficient and understandable, but remove barriers and help local councils and public bodies to implement positive changes in their communities.”

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