In our previous blog on the then issued CPO COVID-19 guidance, we highlighted that the lack of specific guidance on how to deal with the publicity requirements around CPOs created the opportunity for greater opposition and challenge to CPOs around procedural irregularities.
The Government has issued additional guidance (Making documents available for inspection) which contains helpful confirmation on what is considered to be acceptable publicity and consultation as part of the CPO process; this includes:
- confirmation that publication of the Order and map online fulfils requirements to identify a “place” where they can be inspected;
- ensure notices identify contact details for individuals to request a hard copy of the Order and map;
- as and when local offices re-open to allow for inspection of the documents in person; and
- consider increasing deadlines for objections.
The approach for notification requirements for the making and confirmation of CPOs also applies to requirements associated with the written representation and public inquiry processes for CPO.
The Guidance also highlights that acquiring authorities, where possible, look at serving documentation via e-mail or other alternative addresses if there are likely to be difficulties with documentation being received (for example businesses being closed). Acquiring authorities should therefore now undertake a review of contact information held so that multiple notices can be served where appropriate.
Whilst many acquiring authorities already adopt these measures as part of the usual CPO process, it is helpful for the Guidance to confirm that in these COVID-19 times, they will satisfy the CPO procedural requirements.