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Compulsory Purchase and the State Redistribution of Land: A Study of Local Authority-Private Developer Contractual Behaviour

Mitchell, Edward (2021) 'Compulsory Purchase and the State Redistribution of Land: A Study of Local Authority-Private Developer Contractual Behaviour.' Journal of Property, Planning and Environmental Law, 13 (1). pp. 1-16. ISSN 2514-9407

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Purpose: The compulsory purchase of land forms the subject of much legal and urban regeneration research. However, there has been little examination of the contractual arrangements between local authorities and private sector property developers that often underpin the compulsory purchase process. This paper examines local authority/private developer contractual behaviour in this context. Design/methodology/approach: An empirical examination of property development contracts made for the “Silver Hill” project in Winchester, a small city in southern England, and the Brent Cross shopping centre extension in north London. Drawing on Macneil’s (1983) relational contract theory, the paper analyses key contract terms and reviews local authority documentation related to the implementation of those terms. Findings: The contracts had two purposes: to provide a development and investment opportunity through the compulsory purchase and redistribution of private land; and to grant the private developers participating in the projects freedom to choose if they wished to take up that opportunity. While the contracts look highly “relational”, the scope for flexibility and reciprocity is both carefully planned and tightly controlled. This exposes an asymmetric power imbalance that emerges in and is rearticulated by this type of contractual arrangement. Originality/value Empirical analysis of contract terms and contractual behaviour provides a rare opportunity to scrutinise the local authority-private developer relationship underpinning both property development practice and compulsory purchase.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Compulsory purchase; Property development; Private profit; Financial viability; Private to private acquisitions; Relational contract theory
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2020 10:04
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:10

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