Right to contest
Right to contest

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Right to contest
  • What is the right to contest?
  • Purpose
  • Who can use the right?
  • What land does it apply to?
  • How to apply
  • Identifying owner of land/property
  • Application process

What is the right to contest?

The right to contest was launched by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 8 January 2014. It provides a mechanism for anyone to seek the sale of potentially surplus or redundant publicly owned land or buildings where they could be put to better economic use.

Basic guidance on how the right operates and the process that applicants need to follow, including a standard application form, has been issued by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office.


The government owns or occupies a significant amount of surplus or redundant land that Ministers believe could be put to better use. The right aims to exploit this source of previously inaccessible developed land. The government hopes that selling central and local government land or property that is not being used will help to free up sites that could be put to better economic use, boosting local growth - for example by creating new homes and stimulating business development.

Who can use the right?

Anyone can use right to contest, including businesses, local authorities and members of the public, to challenge the government about a site, as long as all of the required criteria apply.