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Review of developer contributions called for in Scotland

Words: Laura Edgar
Money / iStock-185267728

The Scottish Land Commission has asked the Scottish Government to undertake a review of developer contributions.

Providing greater clarity and certainty about the level and timing of developer contributions should result in land changing hands for lower prices. Options for Land Value Uplift Capture states that this would leave more available for contributions to infrastructure and services.

The Planning (Scotland) Bill is making its way through the Scottish Parliament and is at the third stage. It includes an infrastructure levy to address issues with contributions to strategic infrastructure. A charge would be triggered when planning consent is granted, which would be applied to most types of development. It is intended to sit alongside section 75 obligations. The land reform body says this has the potential to make an important contribution to the funding options that already exist, but further work is needed on how it would be implemented.

The recommendations, which will be put to the Scottish Government this week, form part of a call for a “fundamental rethink” of Scotland’s speculative and market-driven approach to identifying and allocating land for development.

Shona Glenn, head of policy at the Scottish Land Commission, has argued that it is perhaps time to stop talking about “land value capture” and start talking about “land value sharing”. She suggested that the masterplan consent areas (MCAs) proposed in the current planning bill could provide an opportunity to do this. They should include detailed costings for the infrastructure needed.

“The debate about how publicly created uplifts in land value should be shared between society and private landowners is one that has waxed and waned for decades.

“There is a strong public interest justification for pursuing policies that would enable more of the publicly created increases in land values to be used to help make places where people want to live.

“Our research over the last year shows there is no quick fix and whatever happens there still needs to be an adequate supply of land brought forward for development. Longer term, we need to find ways to establish a more collaborative approach to placemaking.”

The recommendations are informed by 18 months of research, the commission explained, including a joint report with Scottish Futures Trust, Funding Scotland’s Infrastructure (pdf).

Options for Land Value Uplift Capture can be found on the Scottish Land Commission website (pdf).

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