Appropriation of land for planning purposes
Produced in partnership with Kate Silverman of TLT
Appropriation of land for planning purposes

The following Planning practice note produced in partnership with Kate Silverman of TLT provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Appropriation of land for planning purposes
  • Statutory background
  • Power to appropriate land for planning purposes
  • Procedure
  • Power to override easements
  • Advantages and disadvantages of appropriation

Local authorities who have acquired land for a statutory purpose must hold that land for that purpose. They cannot use that land for a different purpose unless authorised to do by statute and can only change the purpose for which they hold land using statutory powers of appropriation. The power to appropriate land to planning purposes in this context simply involves formally changing the purpose for which land is held, so that it is held for a planning purpose. It has been used for some time by local authorities and is often a purely administrative process. However, following Heaney (HRUK II (CHC) Limited v Heaney), there has been an increased awareness both among local authorities and developers about the benefits of appropriating land to planning purposes to then dispose of that land for development free from private rights over that land. This is particularly the case where land would otherwise be very difficult to develop. Appropriating land for planning purposes can in this context be a pre-condition to engaging section 203 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HPA 2016). This replaced section 237 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) from 13 July 2016, which has been repealed. The effect of triggering HPA 2016, s 203 is that private rights or interests and restrictive covenants affecting development sites are overridden

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