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MHCLG Publishes Consultation On New “Right To Regenerate” Vacant Land And Derelict Buildings

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

On 16 January 2021, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) announced a new “Right to Regenerate” which will enable the public to require councils and the public sector to sell unused land and assets.

The MCHLG has also published a consultation seeking views on the government’s proposals in respect of the new right.

Under the proposals, the public will be able to convert vacant plots of land and derelict buildings into new homes or community spaces. Public bodies will be required to have clear plans for use of land “in the near future” (which includes for temporary use before later development); if the land is kept vacant or unused, the public body would be required to sell it.

The new right will also apply to unused publicly owned social housing and garages, thereby providing opportunities to transform the local housing stock. A person making the request for the sale of such land would potentially have first right of refusal to purchase it, enabling them to extend their existing property (for example where a member of the public has an unused plot of land at the back of their house owned by the council), or for the community to come together to use the land in a beneficial way.

The proposals, which build on the government’s drive to encourage development on brownfield land with more attractive buildings in line with local preferences, new homes, businesses and community assets, will also make it easier to challenge councils and other public organisations to release land for redevelopment so that communities can make better use of public land.

The consultation seeks views on (among other matters) whether:

  • A definition of land that is “unused” or “underused” should be published to help guide people in making applications.
  • Extending the right to include unused and underused land owned by town and parish councils would increase the effectiveness of the right in optimising land usage across England.
  • A presumption in favour of disposal of land or empty homes or garages, where requests are made under the right, should be introduced.

The consultation also seeks views as to whether the government should impose conditions on the disposal of land and, if so, what conditions would be appropriate.

Responses to the consultation should be submitted via the consultation’s online survey by 13 March 2021. The survey can be found here

Tom Warrender


Tom Warrender


Tom is a Solicitor and Partner with 15 years + experience advising clients in relation to commercial property matters. A Legal 500 recognised lawyer, Tom is a member of SHLA and CRELA, sits on our Board of Management & Heads our Social Housing Team.