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03/05/2018

2018 RTPI Convention: Land value capture debate

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Planning Convention

Richard Blyth explains the RTPI's thinking around land value culture.

Land value capture is a key topic being addressed at this year’s RTPI convention. Here, Richard Blyth, head of policy, explains the institute’s emerging thinking

Q: What is the institute’s current position on land value capture?

Improving the land value capture mechanism is the single most useful instrument to channel value generated by development towards infrastructure and social housing without incurring more public debt.

Infrastructure needs to be prioritised in locations where the largest area of land ready for development can be ‘unlocked’ rather than just in places where there is an existing need.

“Free and transparent land ownership data is key to addressing the issue of land owners holding on to land and selling for high prices. Strategic planning, local and national policymaking, and development in general, would all benefit. We’d also like to see more explicit connections between the government’s housing and industrial strategies and the way infrastructure is connected to development.”

What is the RTPI’s take on the current Letwin review?

“The RTPI is pleased to be involved in the work on build out that Sir Oliver is undertaking. We have supplied the review with the findings of our work on large site delivery sponsored by RTPI South West. We are pleased the government is working to get to the bottom of this issue and we look forward to seeing the results.”

Could the sheer volume of permissions have a positive effect on land value?

“Issuing many more permissions might lead to more houses being built, but they would not necessarily be located and developed built in a strategic way, or be affordable. Our report, Better Planning for Housing Affordability, discusses these problems. More should be done to explore ways that policy can force more efficient use of existing permissions.

“A key part of our policy agenda is ensuring that the public benefits from development. This obviously includes the value of the development itself – new houses or improved infrastructure. But it also includes trying to see how we could see the community receiving more of the uplift in land values that comes from public investment and/or the granting of planning permission.”

How can communities get their fair share from uplifts in land value?

“There is a long history of attempts to ensure this. From our perspective, however, there seems to be a bit of a wind of change in the country at large regarding  exploring once again an appropriate way of doing this that doesn’t lead to land being withheld from development.”

Richard Blyth is head of policy at the RTPI.

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