Saturday, February 3, 2018

Land value capture may be illusury

Responses to the consultation on DHCLG Select Committee

"The effectiveness of current land value capture methods" must be sent to the select committee by 2 March 2018 at

Not that I am in a position to tell anybody what to say,  but I think that the following points might be of relevance and helpful to the committee members.

As with any changes to the planning system it would be helpful to simplify matters. The basic principle should be that any introduction of capturing land value supersedes either the existing use of CIL or s106.  

Any belief that there are huge windfalls to be captured from the uplift in land values attributed to the grant of development permissions should be tempered by the fact that this is a classic zero sum game.  Inflated land values are simply a function of inflated house prices. Maintain the former and the latter will follow suit. Reduce house prices and there will be little land value left to be captured
The Government has been largely responsible for house price inflation. If the demand side stimuli of funding for landing, Help to Buy and intermediate housing  (allowing the purchase of only part of the equity) were removed the price of new houses prices would fall.  Government should be severely embarrassed by the profits being declared by the major builders that are largely created by Government subsidies (a Persimmon Director taking over £100m in share options). Similarly unacceptable profits are being made my land owners and traders. A number of Tories (including Nick Boles but not Lynn Truss) realise that very few votes would be lost were the value of development land to be decided by the DV (subject to appeal).  The beneficiaries would be all the purchasers of realistically priced homes.  S.106 should be used to secure the provision of necessary infrastructure.  This should be interpreted more loosely (Written Ministerial Statement required) to allow for new development to make a contribution towards existing infrastructure (ie wear and tear and a direct benefit to the developers new customers).  Permitted development rights to convert rural buildings and offices into dwellings without permissions of CIL/s.106 payments should be repealed.


Remove all government demand side stimuli which currently fuel house price inflation and go straight into the profits of developers and landowners. Remove all the CIL regulations.  Allow LPAs to secure the funding of all ‘necessary infrastructure’ by dismissing appeals where developers are seeking permissions to develop ‘on the cheap’ and placing the infrastructure burden on the new and existing residents and businesses.  Remove all permitted development rights which allow dwellings to be created without paying for necessary infrastructure.  Where land with permission is not being developed, CPO powers should be used to secure this for self-custom building, or social housing.  There should be reinstated requirements for self/custom builders and social housing providers to pay for necessary infrastructure (costs that would be reflected in the land price.


The need is to reduce housing subsidies rather than introduce any more mechanisms  to capture increases in land value.  In most if not all parts of the country house prices will be high enough to create sufficient value to pay for necessary infrastructure.  It is unlikely that 300,000 would be built (and sold) at the proper values when demand side subsidies have been removed.  The Government should be prepared to bear the electoral costs of any decreases in house prices ie increases in affordability, that should arise from removing the subsidies.

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