‘Land grab’ powers could be used for massive road scheme in Leeds

Leeds Civic Hall.
Leeds Civic Hall.

Council bosses in Leeds could force through the sale of large amounts of privately-owned land as part of work on a major new transport project.

Leeds City Council yesterday confirmed it has put in place a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for about 60 sites that it needs for the proposed East Leeds Orbital Road.

The sites cover a combined total of nearly 200 acres along the route chosen for the 4.6-mile dual carriageway, which will run from the A6120 Leeds Outer Ring Road at Red Hall down as far as Thorpe Park, close to junction 46 of the M1.

Talks are already under way between the council and affected landowners, with civic leaders saying they anticipate agreements being reached without any need to fall back on the powers that come with the CPO.

Coun Richard Lewis, the council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said: “Leeds City Council doesn’t make the decision to use compulsory purchase powers lightly.

“This is one of the biggest infrastructure schemes Leeds has seen for several decades, supporting development of a significant area of housing and employment growth.

“That is why it is important the council takes the necessary and appropriate steps to ensure progress is made, as well as making sure all statutory procedures are followed.”

Compulsory purchase powers allow local authorities, health service bodies and executive agencies such as Homes England to acquire land even if the owner does not wish to sell it.

According to official Government guidance, the powers are an “important tool” that help organisations like councils deliver “social, environmental and economic change”.

Compensation is normally available to anyone whose land has been the subject of a compulsory purchase.

Some of the sites covered by the CPO are already wholly or partly owned by the council.

Preparations for the East Leeds Orbital Road scheme also include the issuing of a Side Roads Order, which relates to planned junction closures and other changes to the existing highways network.

The scheme will provide a key element of the infrastructure required for the East Leeds Extension, a development of 5,000 homes around the edge of Swarcliffe, Whinmoor and Crossgates.

As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, construction giant Carillion was the council’s preferred bidder to carry out the work on the new road.

Carillion’s collapse means the council is now looking at options to secure an alternative contractor.

Objections to the CPO should be made by March 28. Hard copies of all the relevant documentation are available at libraries in Seacroft, Whinmoor, Crossgates and other places in east Leeds.

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