Back to Urban Regeneration

Manage the Land Supply

Previously developed land should be recycled for housing wherever this represents the most sustainable option.  A 'sequential' approach to the release of land for new housing should be implemented so that undeveloped greenfield sites are not released when alternative brownfield land is available.  However, this approach will only work if there is consistency across local planning authorities and clear procedures for tackling an under-supply or over-supply of housing. Local authorities should co-operate across their boundaries in producing urban capacity studies to determine how much additional development each area can absorb.

Other measures are needed to ensure there is not too much greenfield land within the planning system at any one time. This will include requiring planning authorities to remove allocations of greenfield land from development plans where those allocations are no longer consistent with national and regional policy objectives. The general presumption against development on specially designated green belt areas should remain, and designating valuable urban green space should be considered in a similar way.

Instead of a tax on greenfield development, there is a scope for a more general planning charge on developers, in the form of environmental impact fees to compensate for environmental damage.

Partnerships between the public sector and private landowners and developers would facilitate the process of land assembly for area regeneration purposes. A scheme for taxing ownership of vacant previously developed land should be explored as an incentive to bring it into productive use. Local authorities should also have more powers to use enforced sale and foreclosure powers to ensure that wasted land does not atrophy the urban environment.

Compulsory purchase orders will, on occasions, be the best option for bringing land into productive use. Local authorities in new should have the right to use Compulsory purchase orders without having to prove the economic viability of a particular redevelopment scheme. Allowing commercial property owners to be compensated for disturbance as well as the market value of their properties would remove one of the major existing causes of opposition and delay. Applying a time-related taper to the additional payment would encourage early settlement.

bulletFormally adopt a sequential approach to the release of land and buildings for housing, supported by a system of regional and sub-regional reconciliation of housing needs and demand.
bulletOblige all local planning authorities to carry out regular urban capacity studies on a consistent basis, where necessary, working together across borough boundaries.
bulletRequire local authorities to remove allocations of greenfield land for housing from development plans where the allocations are no longer consistent with planning policy objectives.
bulletIntroduce a statutory duty for public bodies and utilities with significant urban landholdings to release redundant land and buildings for regeneration.
bulletAssist the land assembly process in urban priority areas by removing the obligation for authorities to prove a specific and economically viable scheme when making compulsory purchase orders.