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London mayor ‘should have greater CPO powers’

Words: Laura Edgar
London / Shutterstock_587766545

A new report has suggested that the Mayor of London and local authorities should be granted greater powers in order to get more land developed into new homes and solve the capital’s housing crisis.

The report, commissioned by Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority (GLA), is co-authored by law firm Dentons, Urbanism Environment and Design Ltd (URBED) and Gerald Eve and Housing Futures Ltd. It investigates how land is brought together for development in various places around the world.

The organisations considered the Netherlands, France, Germany and the USA as they looked for ways to speed up the assembly of land in the capital.

Capital Gains: A Better Land Assembly Model for London calls for the Mayor of London to be given greater powers over Compulsory Purchase Orders in London, particularly if there is a risk of delay. New mechanisms for “curbing” land value speculation in areas due for development are put forward, something that “could enable more social rented and other genuinely affordable homes to be built”.

The report also recommends creating special Land Assembly Zones that promote land assembly through negotiation with the landowners or through compulsory purchase, where required. In time this could see land pooling being promoted and values frozen at market value on the date of designating the zones.

Additionally, a team should be established at City Hall to identify and bring forward land for housing. The government should provide “significant extra resources” to support land assembly in London, as is the case in other countries around the world.

Stephen Ashworth, planning partner at Dentons, said, "It's clear from the research that local authorities and the London mayor need greater powers to bring forward land for development quickly. Land assembly – the process of forming a single developable site from a number of individually owned pieces of land – can be complex and time-consuming, and this complexity is hindering the construction of new homes in London. Fundamentally reforming compulsory purchase powers and introducing new land assembly mechanisms and resources will help ensure that this can be done more efficiently, resulting in more homes being built, more quickly. But there is also much more that could be done using present powers more imaginatively."

Capital Gains: A Better Land Assembly Model for London can be found on the GLA website.

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