Rochford Council considers CPO for Michelin farmland

The ROCHFORD Council is considering using legal powers to force the sale of private land to accommodate a traveler site.

The advisers agreed to develop a business plan for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) of land near the Michelin farm, Rayleigh.

Earlier this year, the council rejected an offer from StarUK Rayleigh Propco to expand its warehouse complex on the land designated by the council as a potential site for a 15-slot traveler site in 2014.

Council documents state: “There is still an identified need for accommodation for Gypsies and Travelers in the neighborhood. ”

The board approved a budget of £ 25,000 to prepare a business case for the purchase order.

Councilor Ian Ward, the planning portfolio holder, said the council needs to ensure its allocations for traveler accommodation are met and said there was no specific reason why a move to buying the land had taken seven years to materialize since the designation.

“Everything has to be fair and reasonable, at this point it’s just two-way conversations,” he said.

“Right now we’re just building the business plan, we have to bring it back. We can’t say one thing or another until we have looked at all the different elements. Legality accumulates. Just look at the other sides. ”

Council documents reveal that negotiations with the current landowners are ongoing and that the CPO would form a back-up plan, if approved by the full council, if negotiations fail.

“We consider that this [CPO] will facilitate negotiations with landowners as it shows that the council is sincere in its proposal to deliver the site, ”the council documents say. “It would also be justified to use the powers of the CPO as a last resort if a real attempt and negotiation do not end in a voluntary purchase of land. ”

Mr Ward added that he believed any potential CPO would be supported by advisers.

“As I go, I think the majority of the board I think is very supportive of a traveler site in this neighborhood. I do not see that we will not agree unanimously on this, ”he said.

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