Secret Scotland

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Still not getting the logic of CSOs (Compulsory Sales Orders)

Other than a means of forcing the sale of property in a way which allows councils to escape having to pay for them, as it currently has to if a CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) is enacted, I’m still not convinced that CSOs have anything to do with bringing abandoned or derelict property back into use.

I remain to be convinced.

If forcing the sale of a property is going bing it back into use, which presumably means it is worth something, or can be used profitably, then why would the owner have to be FORCED to sell it?

If it’s so good, then they should be investing in it, and reaping the profit themselves.

Unless the CPO also invokes… magic!

Papers for the committee state homes can become empty for various reasons including bereavement and inheritance.

The Glasgow City Council submission stated: “The introduction of Compulsory Sales Orders should be implemented as soon as possible as these would enable local authorities to force the sale of a derelict or abandoned property if it has been lying empty for more than 12 months.”

Fife Council said the orders could be an “easier and less complicated tool” than the current Compulsory Purchase Orders, which tie the council in to purchasing the empty property, a view echoed by Angus Council.

West Dunbartonshire Council said: “The introduction of Compulsory Sale Orders could play a role in assisting Empty Homes Officers to encourage home owners to either rent, sell or move into the empty home.”

Rural Housing Scotland also backs CSOs, as does housing and homelessness charity Shelter Scotland and the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership.

The latter two organisations said in a joint submission that CSOs, as with all enforcement options, “should never be a first choice approach for bringing empty homes back to use”.

Glasgow City Council backs plans to introduce compulsory sales orders for empty homes

Thought for the day

Could a CSO be served on the council that brought the system into existence?

Or, will it write immunity for itself into such legislation, to avoid being caught by its own enforcement system?

Tollcross Winter Garden and Visitor Centre, derelict since 2011.

Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre January 2017

Tollcross Winter Gardens Visitor Centre January 2017


17/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Lost, photography | , , , , | Leave a comment

Two stories and the problem of derelicts – no easy answer

I noticed the proposal to introduce CSOs (Compulsory Sales Orders) a while ago…

Proposed Compulsory Sales Order seems less than helpful

Compulsory Sales Orders – Solving a problem, or just moving it along?

And had that little pair of rambles, hoping to gain a better understanding of the idea, but don’t really think it helped a lot.

I keep having the same reservation – if the places described are so good that either a compulsory sale (or maybe even purchase) was the easy answer, then the current owner would have taken advantage of what they had.

In reality, I suspect many of the properties concerned are money pits, either from the point of view of just owning them (with crippling maintenance, or cost of ownership), or would cost so much to restore or convert to repurpose that the whole thing is just uneconomic.

There is probably another option, where they could be successful or profitably repurposed, but the owner doesn’t have, or can’t raise, the capital needed to carry out the work.

Compulsory Sales Orders

Radical new powers allowing councils to order the sale of “eyesore” derelict sites and vacant land across Scotland are to be introduced, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

Empty homes, abandoned shops, derelict hotels and gap sites could be among those targeted by the introduction of compulsory sale orders (CSOs) after planning minister Kevin Stewart said they would be introduced in the course of this Parliament.

The move to bring in CSOs by 2021 would allow councils to force owners to sell such sites at auction instead of allowing them to lie empty where they are seen to be causing “harm” to local communities by attracting problems such as anti-social behaviour.

However, there are concerns about whether councils will have the funding or expertise to bring forward such measures.

The CSO proposal was a key recommendation of the 2014 Land Reform Review Group.

Stewart has confirmed in a parliamentary answer the Scottish Government will introduce the orders by 2021 after proposals drawn up by the Land Commission.

Councils already have powers to buy land through CPOs, but this would involve the authority making the purchase itself, which it may not always have the funds to do. There is also a community “right to buy” for sustainable development, but it may not be appropriate for the smaller scale development envisioned for CSOs.

New powers will allow councils to order sale of Scotland’s derelict sites

It will be interesting to see how this works in reality.

I wonder if it would be appropriate for the following case?

I’m not suggesting a CSO would/should be applied, merely placing the two stories together here.

Historic house is a ‘rotten tooth waiting to be pulled’

Fears have been raised over the future of one of Aberdeen’s historic buildings.

Westburn House, an A-listed building designed by renowned architect Archibald Simpson, was built in 1839 but has lain empty for nearly two decades.

During that time it has fallen into a state of disrepair and is repeatedly attacked by vandals.

Local councillor Bill Cormie branded it a “rotten tooth waiting to be pulled”.

He told STV News: “Westburn House is in a dreadful state, it’s almost in a state of collapse.

“There has been nothing really done to this building for over the last 20 years now.

“I managed to get into it four years ago and it was pretty horrific at that time.

“I think last winter, when we had a hard snow, really killed the roof off with the snow lying on top of it and I believe most of the back end of it now has collapsed into the building itself.”

The building, in Westburn Park, has seen many uses over the years, serving as a home, a clinic, tearoom and a nursery.

In 2016, councillors approved plans by Elgin-based company Liberty Kids to turn it into a modern nursery, where youngsters would enjoy plenty of space to roam around outdoors. However, the project failed to move forward.

Historic house is a ‘rotten tooth waiting to be pulled’

I don’t really know enough of the details to suggest anything as regards this building.

But what does make me wonder is how the ability to impose any sort of compulsory order on it would help.

If owners/developers are skint, then forcing something to be done with no cash behind it seems unproductive.

It might make some work for somebody, but doesn’t do much for the building(s).

Maybe I’m just being too ‘simple’.

Westburn House, Westburn Park, Aberdeen

Westburn House, Westburn Park, Aberdeen

09/01/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Compulsory Sales Orders – Solving a problem, or just moving it along?

I spotted earlier news about Compulsory Sales Orders (CSOs) recently.

Wasn’t particularly impressed then, still not.

Forcing someone to sell a property (assuming it even sells at such a forced auction) could just shuffle an empty property from one owner to another, unless the CSO is made complex and has many requirements to be met. And I note the proposal even suggested returning it to the original owner if it is still empty after 3 years.

Sounds like another scheme to make lawyers/solicitors/agents/auctioneers rich – but not really tackle property/housing issues.

Maybe making it easier/cheaper to sell property would be a better idea, perhaps along the lines of…

Shaheena Din: How to get empty homes onto the housing market

More ‘carrot’, and less ‘stick’?

Edinburgh would seem to be getting ready to make a pre-emptive strike against vacant properties before this arrives (if it ever does) and serve Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) on owners of empty houses.

Sounds better, at least they’d be obliged to pay a decent market price.

And then the council would own the derelict, and have to find the money to make it habitable or worth renting, AND be responsible for its upkeep.

That should be fun, since most councils are cash-strapped these days – or does Edinburgh have a magic money-pot?

I’m always impressed by the people who jump up and down and whine about empty properties and demand someone do something.

But they never do anything else other than make a noise, threaten others do something ‘or else’, nor do they turn up with the bottomless purse that most empty property owners wish they had.

Oh well.

Owners to be forced to sell empty homes in Edinburgh

One to watch.

Council set to seize empty homes from owners to tackle Edinburgh’s housing crisis

Derelict House

Derelict House

01/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , | Leave a comment

Proposed Compulsory Sales Order seems less than helpful

While many moan and whine about abandoned and derelict land and buildings, few seem to be able to come up with anything that might actually help deal with them.

The situation is not helped by the righteous morons who simply say that the owners (if known, alive, or maybe even if dead) should be fined, or even the land or property taken from them.

A CSO, or compulsory sales order, is proposed in order to move things along.

This can be summarised by:

Local authorities already have a number of policy instruments – including compulsory purchase orders – that can be used to help regeneration.

But the commission found these policies required a clear plan in place as to how the land or building in question would be used.

In many cases, public authorities and communities do not have a specific end use in mind for problematic sites but simply wish to see them used for some productive purpose.

In some ways it’s hard to see how the CSO helps.

It forces the owner to put the land/property up for sale by auction, if it has been derelict/abandoned for three years. Three years seems to be a typical period accepted in such things, but it could vary.

But then the buyer (as opposed to the current owner) has to have a plan in order to be a valid bidder – and it may also be that the they are speculators (wanting to sit on the property or land, in which case there may be a compulsory time period (of three years) after which another CSO kicks in.

I’ve read some of the documents (they are online) arising from this idea, but get the feeling this idea is one which is more like ‘passing the buck and keeping it moving’, rather than actually solving the problem.

I’ll be interested to see how this develops, if it ever moves from being anything more than a proposal, and if does eventually become an option, an analysis of how effective it is.

New power could tackle blight of abandoned buildings in Scotland

I’m genuinely curious to see if this ‘power’ would make any difference.

This building has lain empty for years.

It’s swallowed a ton of money being made secure and sealed against the weather.

But it still lies unused.

How would forcing the owner to sell it change that?

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

British Linen Bank Gorbals Street

I could easily wander around Glasgow and find more of these, many in poorer condition.

Forcing the current owner to sell to a new one is fine if the new owner has funds and a plan, and they’re sustainable.

But if it was so easy, why doesn’t the current owner just do whatever that may be – and change the place from a money pit into something useful.

I await developments.

But this CSO just seems to be a compulsory purchase order by another name, or the back door.

I’d like to proven wrong – and see load of CSO subjects blooming around the city in a few years.

Will I?

17/08/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , | Leave a comment


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