Landowners could be forced to sell their land to make way for the new Langarth Garden Village – although the council insists that the powers will only be used as a “last resort”.

Cornwall Council’s Cabinet has unanimously agreed to apply for a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for the land needed for the development, which will include 3,550 new homes on the outskirts of Truro. This would give them the power to force through sales.

The council has said that it has managed to secure the majority of land needed for the “new town", but says that it has struggled to reach agreement with all landowners across the site. As a result they will ask the Secretary of State to grant a CPO, which if given could force the sale of land if negotiations fail.

This week lawyers acting on behalf of one of the landowners – Richard Walker – contacted the council and asked that they defer any decision on a CPO until negotiations were complete. They claimed that the council had failed to undertake sufficient talks in order to secure the land.

Aerial plan showing the potential layout of the Langarth Garden Village

Aerial plan showing the potential layout of the Langarth Garden Village

At the Cabinet meeting this week Olly Monk, Cabinet member for housing and planning, said that negotiations would continue even if the CPO was granted and said that it would only be used if there was a danger that the timetable for the project could slip. Councillors were warned that if they did not secure the land in time then Government funding of £47.5million for the scheme could be at risk.

Cllr Monk said: “Although we own a large proportion of the land, including the majority of land for the key infrastructure, there is some we have been unable to reach agreement on. Compulsory purchase and the use of other related powers are on top of the work we are doing to secure delivery of the land where agreement cannot otherwise be reached.”

Image of the proposed Langarth Garden Village

Image of the proposed Langarth Garden Village

Cllr Monk explained that some of the land which was included in the CPO was required for the building of the Northern Access Road (NAR) which will run through the Langarth Garden Village and is a key part of the development.

He added: “While we will continue to try and resolve this through negotiation we may need to use our statutory powers to ensure that the scheme is delivered in accordance with the agreed timetable.”

Cllr Monk said that the council would have to submit the draft CPO to the Secretary of State to consider and there would also be statutory consultation on the order which would have to be completed before the Secretary of State can grant the CPO.

He told the Cabinet: “This is very much a last resort. Negotiations will not stop if the Cabinet agrees to make the order. However, in order to deliver the scheme on schedule we need to have the flexibility to use the order if required.”

David Harris, deputy leader of the council, said: “The key is to negotiate so we don’t use the CPO but if we can’t get a successful outcome we will have it available to use.”

Cllr Harris also warned that if the council did not acquire the required land in time “we will be in danger of losing very precious Government funding to deliver the Northern Access Road”.