Is “Land referencing [...] a key part of the DCO process and [...] strictly governed by statute and regulation”?
Where a Development Consent Order (DCO) would seek powers of Compulsory Acquisition and/ or Temporary Possession, sections 44, 57 and 59 of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) establish that in seeking to identify all land interests and persons who may be entitled to make a relevant claim an applicant must make diligent inquiry. Paragraph 50 of the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Planning Act 2008: Guidance on the pre-application process explains:
“It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate at submission of the application that due diligence has been undertaken in identifying all land interests and applicants should make every reasonable effort to ensure that the Book of Reference (which records and categorises those land interests) is up to date at the time of submission.”
Issuing land referencing questionnaires in the format provided by RiverOak Strategic Partners is one of a number of approaches routinely applied by DCO applicants in seeking to identify all land interests and therefore satisfy the due diligence test set out in the PA2008. In consideration of this test, the land referencing process, from an applicant’s perspective, has an important role in the preparation of an application for a DCO which would seek powers of Compulsory Acquisition and/ or Temporary Possession. From the perspective of a person with an interest in the land, volunteering details about their interest(s) in land to a DCO applicant will help to ensure that their interest(s) are reflected accurately in any application, and ensure that their ability to engage in the examination of that application is not compromised.
Notwithstanding this, questionnaire recipients are not mandated to volunteer information about their interest(s) in land to a DCO applicant, if they do not wish to do so. Importantly choosing not to volunteer land interest information to a DCO applicant would have no implications for a person’s status and ability to take part in the examination of an application for a DCO, or for any future claims by a person for compensation under the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965; the Land Compensation Act 1973; and/ or s152 of the PA2008.