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Premature Land Value Capture amendment to Planning Bill unlikely to swell Council funds

Today the Local Government & Communities Committee approved an opposition amendment to include a 'Land Value Capture' measure in the Planning (Scotland) Bill.  Responding to the vote, Homes for Scotland Director of Planning Tammy Swift-Adams said:

“Land Value Capture is a topical subject with broad political support but, unfortunately, this amendment is a premature and poorly thought through way of trying to achieve it.

“Whilst it has been clear since Stage 1 of the Bill that the opposition parties were keen to use the Planning Bill  to get the words ‘land value capture’ into legislation, it is disappointing they’ve done it in a way which seeks to disadvantage one set of landowners over others - as the proposed approach will only affect people whose land will, at some stage in the future, be designated by a council as a ‘Masterplan Consent Area’. 

"It is also somewhat misleading since the compensation landowners get when land is compulsorily purchased is usually much lower than the full market value they’d have got from developing it or securing planning permission themselves. So the additional cash being anticipated for affordable housing etc isn’t likely to add up to as much as supporters might be hoping. In fact, the amendment could mean some people getting more compensation than would otherwise have been the case.

"There is every chance that the Scottish Land Commission, which is currently exploring options for Land Value Capture will, in time, conclude that changing compensation arrangements would be counterproductive.  This amendment is blind to that possibility and undermines the evidence-based, inclusive approach being undertaken by the Commission, which itself is clear that Land Value Capture is a concept rather than a specific policy measure and is probably going to be best achieved in different ways in different locations and circumstances. 

"In any case, a form of Land Value Capture is already in place in Scotland. The country’s home builders alone contribute over £80 million pounds worth of “planning obligations” each year in relation to affordable housing, school places and other infrastructure – all of which already comes off the value of land.”

“Furthermore, councils already have access to compulsory purchase powers, which they have successfully used to help deliver development, including social housing. Making those powers more complex won’t encourage their further and more widespread use.

“Today’s amendment has the unfortunate hallmarks of making law for the sake of it, not because it is genuinely expected to help deliver more homes for the people of Scotland."  

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