Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Labour plans to allow local authorities to buy land cheaply for development - The Guardian

Labour is planning to give local officials sweeping new powers to buy land cheaply and develop on it, as part of the party’s new “pro-building” agenda.

Party sources say that if elected next year, they will pass a law to allow local development authorities in England the power to buy up land at a fraction of its potential cost if they want to build on it.

The new law will allow officials to buy land under compulsory purchase orders without having to factor in the “hope value” – a massive price premium granted to any land on which developers hope to secure planning permission.

Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, is already under fire for his promise to make it easier to build on the green belt. But the details of the party’s latest pro-development policy show he is willing to risk the wrath of existing land and property owners in his attempt to jump-start new building across the country.

One party source said: “We want to rebalance the power between landowners and local communities. We want local areas to capture a lot more of the value that is created when you build on land nearby. The principal is to tilt the balance of power, which right now is tilted towards landowners and not communities.”

Homeownership in England has been falling for years, as prices have risen and banks have asked for increasingly large deposits. In 2003, 71% of all homes were owned by the people who live there, but by 2021-22, that had fallen to 64%.

The Conservatives have attempted to tackle this by...

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