Landowners around Long Stratton could be forced to sell their land for homes and bypass
- Credit: Archant
Landowners around Long Stratton could be forced to sell their land to enable 1,800 homes and a bypass to be built after a council cabinet agreed to new powers.
South Norfolk Council's cabinet approved plans to allow the council to use compulsory purchase orders (CPO) to buy land so the development could be completed in a 'timely manner' and landowners would be prevented from 'ransoming' each other.
Council leader John Fuller explained the powers would only be used as a last resort if the landowners 'could not get themselves together' to agree over the sale of the land and the possibility of facing a CPO might encourage them to achieve this goal.
He added: 'Members, this is not just an idle threat, this would be used if the landowners can not get themselves together.'
Earlier in the meeting, Tim Horspole, the council's director of growth and localism, said there had been email exchanges between the council and landowners looking to sign agreements for the sale of land.
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However, Mr Fuller warned the council had been in a similar position before with landowners, but the sale had not come to fruition.
The meeting also heard from the council's solicitor Chris Skinner, who explained the legal criteria the council needed to meet when using CPOs, particularly that it was in the public interest and there was a strong case for making the order.
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He added: 'One hopes landowners will want to sort it themselves and it is good to hear collaboration and agreement for some of the landowners is in place and it is good that the council is allowing the landowners time to get their act together, but it is saying if you don't get your act together, we are prepared to intervene.'