Councils should be allowed to buy land at prices closer to its existing use value in order to unlock new social housing and generate extra income, a new report has argued.
The report from Civitas argues that recent reforms to the housing market have focused too much on the amount of land that is approved for development, rather than ensuring it is used for the best interests of the community.
The Land Question: Fixing the dysfunction at the root of the housing crisis argues that a review of the Land Compensation Act would enable local authorities to enforce development priorities that are in the interests of the community.
It states: ‘Reforming the land compensation rules, and enabling local authorities to purchase land at prices that do not reflect prospective planning permission, would loosen up the land market, prevent hoarding and douse speculation.
‘By rewiring incentives for landowners, it would help private-sector developers obtain land at prices that would enable them to build the kind of homes in the kind of timeframes desired by local planning authorities.’
In response, cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said: ‘An effective land market is critical to delivering more genuinely affordable homes with the infrastructure and services that communities need.
‘Councils have long called for the powers to purchase land at a price which is close to its existing use, and to be able to capture increases in land value in order to fund further delivery of affordable homes and infrastructure, and for greater transparency on land ownership.’