A round-up of rural news
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