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Out-Law News 1 min. read

Government launches 'Right to Contest' land release scheme

Members of the public can challenge central Government departments to release land which is currently in use under a new scheme launched by the HM Treasury today. 

Under the scheme, which was announced during last year's Spending Round, communities and businesses can make an application challenging the use of land and property owned by central Government and asking for it to be released if they think they can make better use of it.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said in a statement that the sale of land and buildings through the Right to Contest will be used to paying down the deficit and to help ensure that "the country lives within its means".

Applications made under the scheme will go before a committee comprising ministers from the Treasury, Cabinet Office and the landholding department. Only if the location of the site is "vital for operational use" or there are "overriding reasons" will the land not be released to the open market, the statement said.

“The Government is the custodian of the taxpayers’ assets. We certainly should not act as some kind of compulsive hoarder of land and property that could be better used for things like housing and local economic growth,” said Alexander.

“That is why from today we are accepting applications from the public contesting the use of public land and property. I would encourage people to submit an application if they know of any government sites which could be put to better economic use. We will sell them back to the community and local businesses at a fair price,” he added.

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