Land ownership, control, public benefit and delivery.

Major redevelopment areas should be transferred into the control of the local authority. After many interesting presentations by Scottish Government officials about significant regeneration projects across Europe the one consistent theme would appear to be public control of the land. In this way the public can benefit from investing in infrastructure and the speed of delivery can be controlled. 

Why the contribution is important

The use of masterplans and development briefs has failed to deliver quality places. More often than not they simply serve to raise land values, make someone rich, and they are then undermined by someone who cannot afford to implement the original vision. Only through one delivery body, perhaps the local authority, can these visions be delivered in a coordinated efficient way to meet their objectives. 

by Redfox on January 30, 2016 at 11:33AM

Current Rating

Average score : 3.8
Based on : 6 votes


  • Posted by DJJ February 01, 2016 at 10:17

    There needs to be a real discussion about whether the market is actually delivering what we want or whether the planning system is being pressured into facilitating something that we don't want as a society. Intervention would need to be well targeted but could make rather than cost money in the medium-term.

    The issue of what we actually want a planning system to deliver looks to have been assumed by the review rather than an opportunity opened up to debate it. If the review is a root and branch review there is a need to examine where the tree has been planted in the first place...have we got that right? If a goal is to build enough new homes, the market has no incentive to deliver - reducing decision times on planning applications will not change that...a perfectly worthwhile activity but tinkering around the edges.

    Land is vital to these discussions...and the link to land reform is critical.
  • Posted by jmwalls February 05, 2016 at 11:14

    While land ownership is crucial to the delivery of housing, development and regeneration, it does not, and should not, be seen as being permanently held in the public sector except where there is a long term public sector role; eg infrastructure and public facilities. Local authorities should be expected to sell on the land or property once it is delivered so that the resources released can be recycled into further housing, development and regeneration. (In essence the funding should represent a rolling fund and not a long term strain on resources) In this way the scale and speed of development can be increased to the advantage of the economy as well as employment and people's wellbeing through better housing.

    Local authorities should be encouraged to be entrepreneurial in their approaches working in collaboration with the private sector; eg not just simply acquiring land, servicing and disposing for development but also, when beneficial, forming joint ventures and participating in the development. The advantage is that this gives the private sector confidence, reduces their risk and speeds up development delivery.

    As noted in the previous comment, there is a key link to land reform. Crucially, statutory powers and resources are a corollary to successful land reform to overcome current barriers to development. Given that the Scottish Government have matched the UK government's City Deals for Glasgow and Aberdeen, it demonstrates that resources can, and should, be found for a development fund. This, if intelligently crafted in legislation, would result in development opportunities across Scotland.
  • Posted by BKerrSmith February 13, 2016 at 17:17

    The current model of development in Scotland (and the UK) ensures that all the profit from selling a house comes from the increase in value of the land. There is no incentive to build better quality houses as this would erode profits. We need a system where land is either used or returned to public ownership within a short period, rather than the current system which encourages the proliferation of wastelands sitting idle for years while landowners hope for speculative gains.
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