The Campaign for the Protection (CPRE) of only some parts of Rural England and certainly not the green belt or Waverley’s countryside – claims the root of England’s housing crisis lies in how land is bought and sold. When agricultural land receives planning consent the land typically becomes at least 100 times more valuable.
It believes that more of this huge uplift in value should be captured to provide benefits to the community. If there was more confidence that more of the gains from development was invested in improved landscaping and attractive green spaces; in affordable housing and public services like new doctors surgeries and schools, then there would be less opposition to new development and much better infrastructure.
Now there’s a coincidence! CPRE takes Dunsfold Park to Judicial Review in the Autumn actually preventing everything it cites as good planning above from taking place! Limits its costs for taking US – the ratepayers to the High Court at £10,000, and lands us, with a £300,000+ bill!
The CPRE windbags claim the Government should think radically about reforming the way we capture planning gain for the community. Saying first, they should monitor the implementation of their welcome changes to Section 106 to ensure that councils deliver and developers do not continue to wriggle out of their commitments.
Or in Waverley’s case lets developers off the hook, either because they can’t get their act together with the education authority, or allow 106 contributions to fund expensive leisure facilities for private schools; or are duped by developers who convince them that they can’t make enough money, on some schemes if they build affordable homes!!!
CPRE (who will soon have a borough councillor from the local organisation in its midst after the 2019 elections- you heard it here first) say Government could give local planners a stronger role in buying and assembling land for housing. Thus, allowing them to plan new developments more effectively, share the benefits for the community and approve developments in places local people accept.
They should reform the 1961 Land Compensation Act to clarify that local authorities are able to compulsorily purchase land at a fair market value that does not include prospective planning permission, rather than speculative “hope” value.
Too often in Britain, new housing is not good enough and comes without the infrastructure and public services required to support it. Other countries do a better job of making attractive new places to live, by making sure that development profits the community as a whole. Unless we learn from them, Britain’s housing crisis will remain.
WW can’t help thinking that if the national organisations followed the Waverley CPRE’s branch’s rhetoric no homes would be built anywhere – near anyone?