UK: Scottish Land Commission To Develop Proposals For Compulsory Sale Orders To Make Use Of Derelict And Vacant Land And Buildings

Last Updated: 1 May 2018
Article by Scott Logan

The Scottish Land Commission has announced that they have started developing proposals for a new Compulsory Sale Order (CSO) power. The creation of the power is one of 62 recommendations which were brought forward by the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG) in 2014.

The Scottish Government has estimated that, as of 2016 there were 12,435 hectares of derelict and vacant land, with over two-thirds of this land reported to be privately owned. It has been estimated that large areas of such land have been vacant for between ten and 20 years and it is intended that the CSO power will help to realise the potential of these neglected sites that are often unsightly and prone to vandalism.

The CSO power will be used by local authorities to compel a landowner to sell their land at public auction if they determine that it is not in public interest for them to retain land which is not being used or sold.

Although the SLC will have a public consultation on their proposals before they are considered by the Scottish Government, the LRRG's Report, 'The Land of Scotland and the Common Good' provides some suggestions on additional mechanisms which may be required for the CSO power, and how it may work in practice.

Who would be able to use the power?

In addition to local authorities, the powers could also be granted to public agencies who can currently exercise Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) powers. Furthermore, it has been suggested by the LRRG that other community councils or bodies may have a statutory right to request that a local authority uses a CSO over an area of land if it had not initiated it itself. The LRRG considers that this is reasonable as it is often the local community who suffer most from vacant or derelict land, and they may have an alternative use for such areas of land.

What land could be subject to a CSO?

The LRRG has said that in principle the CSO would apply to 'abandoned' land that remained in a vacant or derelict condition for an unacceptable period of time.

A new publicly available statutory register would be created for vacant or derelict land, using information that is already collected by local authorities, which would be supplied to the Scottish Government. There would be a right of appeal by landowners who think that their land has been wrongly included on the register, or by other parties who feel that land has been wrongly omitted from the register. In these situations, the local authority would decide if the land meets the required definition, based on the facts of each case, with a further limited right of appeal of that decision.

It was suggested by the LRRG that the period of time that land remains vacant before a CSO can be used could be linked to the current validity of planning permissions (generally three years). This would mean that a CSO could be served after three years of an area of land being registered as vacant or derelict on the statutory register.

What would it mean for landowners?

After a CSO is initiated, a notice is served by the local authority requiring the landowner to make arrangements for the land to be offered for sale at public auction. Public auctions were selected by the LRRG as an effective means to ascertain a fair price for the land, avoiding the 'inherent difficulties' of valuation. The land would be required to be offered at auction within six to eight months of the CSO being triggered. If the landowner fails to comply, or if the proposed auction arrangements were deemed unsatisfactory, the local authority would have reserve powers to arrange the auction itself.

The notice served on the owner would be accompanied by a planning statement prepared by the local authority, detailing existing planning permissions and development plan allocations and policies. This information would also be published on the local authority website, providing prospective purchasers with details of what types of development would likely be permitted on the land.

The auction

Any interested party would be able to bid at the auction, but safeguards may be put in place to avoid speculative purchases by purchasers who would continue to keep the land vacant. The LRRG suggests that a condition could be applied to the sale, which would allow a local authority to purchase the land if no development had commenced within three years. Furthermore, if there were no bids for the land, there would be a period of time, perhaps three years, before another CSO could be triggered.

Increasing the utility of land in Scotland

The CSO power will provide the Scottish Government with another tool to further their goals to increase the utility of land, and to help communities to become stakeholders in land ownership in Scotland.

The Community Right to Buy applies to urban and rural land and allows qualifying community bodies to register their interest in an area of land. When the landowner decides to sell, the community body is offered the land first. Scottish Government grants provide up to £1m of financial assistance to purchase the land. This right relies on a willing landowner, however there are two other rights to buy which are not in force yet, but when they are, they will allow community bodies to compel landowners to sell. These are (1) The Community Right to Buy 'neglected and detrimental land', and (2) the Community Right to Buy 'to further Sustainable Development'. You can read about these rights in our previous blog post.

Although there is clearly a lot of work to do before the CPO is introduced, it will be important that at every stage of the process, the right balance is struck between landowners' rights and the public interest. We will be following the consultations on these policies, and providing updates.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions