Councils in Wales could be given stronger powers to compulsory purchase vacant land and redundant buildings in order to bring them back into use, when it is in the public interest to do so, under new Welsh Government proposals.
The move, which is subject to consultation, is part of Welsh Government plans to build more houses on vacant land, helping to increase the supply of housing as well as bring empty commercial and other properties back into use, helping to create new job opportunities in local communities.
There are an estimated 30,000 empty homes in Wales, while only 7 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have enough land in their areas to provide a 5 year supply for housing.
The Welsh Government believes compulsory purchase powers are an important tool for LPAs and other public bodies as a means of assembling the land they need to help deliver environmental, social and economic change.
Used properly, they can contribute towards effective and efficient regeneration, the revitalisation of communities, place-making, and the promotion of business, leading to improvements in quality of life.
Revising national planning policy to support the appropriate use of compulsory purchase powers will also provide LPAs with an additional justification for undertaking a compulsory purchase order (CPO).
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.
This Welsh Government is determined to do all it can to help build the homes people want, and help create jobs closer to people’s homes.
So the proposals we are making to the CPO process will help local council’s deliver this vision, by transforming empty houses and vacant land into the homes and places of work people need.
The consultation ends on 17th January.