A round-up of ru­ral news

Country Smallholding - - Inside this Month -

De­vel­op­ers could be forced to sell land to the state more cheaply un­der rad­i­cal plans be­ing con­sid­ered by Labour.

The party is ex­am­in­ing pro­pos­als to ban hous­ing firms from hik­ing the price of land once it has plan­ning per­mis­sion.

A Labour gov­ern­ment could cre­ate an English Sov­er­eign Land Trust, which would have the power to is­sue com­pul­sory pur­chase or­ders that force own­ers of larger, un­de­vel­oped agri­cul­tural and in­dus­trial land to sell sites at their pre­plan­ning per­mis­sion value.

The party looked at re­search show­ing the price of land can soar from £ 21,000 to £ 2.1mil­lion a hectare if it switched from farm­ing to res­i­den­tial use.

Labour says the scheme could pour funds into cheaper hous­ing, “rather than let­ting pri­vate landown­ers ben­e­fit from this wind­fall gain – and mak­ing ev­ery­one else pay for it”.

The Coun­try Land and Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion said: “The best way to tackle the hous­ing cri­sis is to re­move the mas­sive bar­ri­ers that still stand in the way of pri­vate landown­ers who want to in­vest in pro­vid­ing, usu­ally small, hous­ing schemes in ru­ral ar­eas. Th­ese in­clude un­cer­tain­ties of nav­i­gat­ing the chaotic and un­der­re­sourced plan­ning sys­tem and a pe­nal tax sys­tem that too of­ten dis­in­cen­tives pos­i­tive in­vest­ment. Com­pul­sory pur­chase of land should only ever be a last re­sort and in prac­tice it is far more likely to be small fam­ily farms that suf­fer.” * The Eco­log­i­cal Land Co-op has ap­pealed for land dona­tions: see page 90


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