Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, last week received a letter from the Planning Minister confirming that local authorities could use existing compulsory purchase powers to protect prime greenbelt land from speculative development ? such as that at Kimpton near Harpenden and Ragged Lane near St Albans. This follows Mr. Lilley?s questioning in Parliament about the provisions of the new Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill.
Peter Lilley said:
“In December I asked the Barbara Roche, the Planning Minister, to clarify whether the compulsory purchase powers in the new Bill would enable councils to deal with the problem of speculative development. She has since written to me advising that local authorities might be able to use powers under existing legislation to prevent land becoming derelict and unsightly.
“This should deter companies like Property Spy who attempt to acquire prime greenbelt sites and sell them off for inflated prices ? claiming that they could be developed some time in the future. Buyers should now be warned that not only is speculative investment of this kind highly unlikely to receive planning permission but they could even lose their investment once such powers are invoked.?