Community Land Auctions not a practical solution
31st Jan 2023
Letter published in Property Week on 20.01.2023
Editor: The levelling-up bill with all of its guises and amends has certainly kept the planning and residential sectors debating. Comments in the media are plentiful every time there’s a revision, and the Community Land Auctions amendment is no different, having been originally tabled in July last year and now back on the agenda.
There is much to be said about circling back to a good idea that had been struck off the list during a time of political heave-ho, but Community Land Auctions are not that idea and have no place in a bill that needs practicality, commitment and delivery while there is still time to get it off the ground pending any further changes at the top.
The idea behind Community Land Auctions is to see councils benefit financially from land allocations by allowing landowners to grant a Community Land Auction option with a view to the land being allocated in the Local Plan and then the option sold on to a developer or developed themselves.
While innovative ideas are needed to address development and housing challenges such a land values, construction materials and affordability, Community Land Auctions are not a practical solution and we doubt they will have legs.
Local authorities have plenty to do to foster better engagement with planning and development opportunities between players but this will be unpopular with all parties and disrupt the typical demand/supply relationship.
Attention would be much better placed on ensuring planning decisions are protected from local politics and that brownfield sites are fast-tracked through planning for the right sort of development.
Finally, having a committed agenda for housing delivery and planning reforms is crucial after such a protracted period of to-ing and fro-ing, in which affordable housing and delivery of inclusive sustainable communities have undoubtedly been among the ‘loser’. Hence the housing world we are in now.
Nick Fell, head of residential, Rapleys
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