With reference to Pubs in the UK, a “Compulsory Purchase Order”, (CPO )is where the local Council orders the purchase of a disputed pub on behalf of a local community group.

This is in the situation where the owner is not selling or developing the Pub and it becomes a visual detriment to the village or town and stops a community building from being used. (Sound familiar?)

The community group then purchases it back from the council.

Up until recently there had been not been a CPO placed on a Pub in the UK. Now two have been placed and more applying for them. (see below)

This procedure, a solution for the exact situation that the Henry Jenkins is in, is UK law (see below). To date, the Harrogate Borough Cuncil (HBC) has had a negative attitude to a CPO on the Henry Jenkis and says “it is unlikely that a CPO would be supported” (see letter from third planning application

However, the UK law says otherwise,, and now that precedent has been set by another UK local Council, the Henry Jenkins Community Cooperative believe that a CPO in this case is the best avenue for resolving the dispute and will be pursuing it with vigour in the future.

A Asset of Community Value status would appear to assist in the CPO, but, from our reading, the law does not say specifically that a ACV is required, just that the property “may” have been designated an ACV.


Assets of community value (18 December 2015)
(House of Commons Library)

This paper outlines the Asset of Community Value provisions, so is interesting in that respect. With respect to compulsory Purchase it does initially say that having a ACV listed, does not mean that the owner can be forced to sell it within that legislation.

However it appears that there is other legislation for compulsory purchase – in section – 4.3 Compulsory purchase order requests (page 13) of the paper it states:

“3.4 Compulsory purchase order requests In 2015, the Government issued revised guidance covering the right of community organisations to call on local authorities to issue compulsory purchase orders on land or buildings which are unused and have been, or could be, of benefit to the community. This can be found on page 90 of the revised ‘Crichel Down regulations’. The guidance states:

183. What requests can be made to a local authority?
Authorities can receive requests from the community or local bodies to use their compulsory purchase powers to acquire community assets, which may have been designated as Assets of Community Value, that are in danger of being lost where the owner of the asset is unwilling to sell, or vacant commercial properties that are detracting from the vitality of an area.

184. What considerations need to be made when receiving a request?
Local authorities should consider all requests from third parties, but particularly voluntary and community organisations, and commercial groupings like Business Improvement District bodies, which put forward a scheme for a particular asset which would require compulsory purchase to take forward, and provide a formal response.
Local authorities must be able to finance the cost of the scheme (including the compensation to the owner) and the compulsory purchase order process either from their own resources, or with a partial or full contribution from those making the request.
Local authorities should, for example, ascertain the value of the asset to the community, or the effect of bringing it back into use; the perceived threat to the asset; the future use of the asset and who would manage it (including a business plan where appropriate); any planning issues; and how the acquisition would
be financed.”

Empowering communities: making the most of local assets An officer companion guide

On page 22 of this brochure it states;
“If communities want to bring a valued local asset back to use – for example, turning a boarded up building into a community centre – they are now encouraged to contact their council and ask them to use a compulsory purchase order to buy the asset.”

It also states the mechanism (‘back-to-back’ transfer) for transfer of ownership to a community group ;
“Once a compulsory purchase is underway it can be combined with other mechanisms covered in this guide to subsequently transfer the asset into community control, known as ‘back-to-back’ transfer.”

Further details are contained in an amendment to Planning Circular 06/04
– Appendix KA:

The circular referred to that document “Circular 06/04: Compulsory Purchase and The Crichel Down Rules” has been superceded by the following;

“Compulsory purchase process and the Crichel Down Rules” which can be found at



In a landmark case, setting precedent for many Pubs facing deterioration and non development, the Calderdale Council used the CPO powers available to them to purchase the Holywell Inn on behalf of the community.

Why are villagers delighted that Calderdale Council has bought this pub

“Calderdale Council’s Cabinet agreed to the council using powers under section 226 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make a Compulsorily Purchase Order to acquire the Holywell Inn at Holywell Green. They also authorised the council’s Director of Regeneration and Strategy, Mark Thompson, to negotiate to enter into a back-to-back agreement to transfer the freehold ownership of the inn to Holywell Community Pub Ltd so that it may be used as a community pub and wider social hub for the village.


The Rising sun has also become another recent Pub that has had a CPO placed on it by the local Council.

Woodcroft residents celebrate saving their local pub from developers

“The deteriorated Rising Sun pub in Woodcroft has been empty for six years, but last week the planning committee at the Forest of Dean District Council took six seconds to unanimously approve a compulsory purchase order on the property.”

Forest of Dean’s Rising Sun pub to be bought by council
Some more information about the CPO prior to it occuring.


The Unicorn was disused and faced a CPO. We are unsure of the results at this stage and will investigate and report back here in the future.

Great Rollright Unicorn pub faces compulsory purchase order after owner fails to submit promised application

Disused pub could be saved from ruin by compulsory purchase



Save the Chesham campaign urges Hackney Council to make compulsory purchase order

Council could step in to purchase pub to save it for community

The campaign to save the Pub and threat of CPO has revived the Pub with a 15 year lase by a local publican.


Responding to Assets of Community Value left vacant
Local Government Lawyer
This is a great article outlining the powers of the government and the steps the community groups should take to pursue a CPO request

More support for voluntary and community groups campaigning to save local assets
An article about using the powers that local authorities have to pursue CPO’s on behalf of community groups.