Self Planning

There was quite a good programme of the history of planning by Will Self whose father, I hadn’t realised, was a leading light in planning policy and practice in the post-war period.  It’s clear that the theme of “sharing land values” has come up repeatedly in planning history.  As someone says, we now have the legacy of development control from the 1947 Act without

…the idea of recouping the benefits of rising land values for the wider community. That actually has been thrown out of the window. Which means that this constrained land market is now leading to a situation of enormously high land prices and a speculative market in housebuilding which has led us to the situation we are in today in terms of the housing crisis and entirely unaffordable housing…We have to find a way to get those rises in land values to contribute to the housing that we need.” 

I’d quibble with some of this analysis in terms of the causal contribution of the planning system.  There are problems of affordability and supply across many global markets.   It’s not just a London/south-east English problem.  Also, there’s lots of other factors contributing to the shift.  The system of housing finance, the withdrawal of the state from housing provision, population growth, changing household structure etc.  It’s not just a planning issue.  And another thing…there actually has been quite a lot of land value capture in the form of planning obligations – particularly affordable housing contributions.  I’d concede that there’s increasingly less land value capture going on through planning obligations.

Anyway, it’s a very good primer on the evolution of the planning system.

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