Tuesday, September 12, 2006


1) Replace the Town & Country Planning Act 1947 effectively denationalising the right to develop land. Retain controls only in National Parks, Green Belts & Conservation Areas.

2) Produce a national scheme of building type approval rather than the current site by site approval which causes immense duplication of effort & prevents the mass production methods used successfully in other industries.

3) Benchmark a target of 30,000 new build homes per annum as the only way to stop house price inflation.

4) Make land hoarding uneconomic, introduce a Land Valuation Tax on empty land & property within 1/2 miles of a built up area. Such taxation not to apply to National Parks, Green Belts & Conservation Areas. To keep this revenue neutral business rates to be reduced by an equal amount.

5) Provide an interest free bridging loan of 20,000 pounds to any off site manufactured home for the period from completion of manufacture until installation & a grant of 5,000 pounds to direct purchasers of such homes, so long as they are for their personal use as first homes. This system to last only until the benchmark figure has been reached.

Much of this is taken from Why is Construction So Backward by Woodhuysen et al

The intent of the motion was to make more houses available more cheaply to everybody. Some years ago a US report said that at least 40% of housing costs were regulatory. My long term bet for the UK now would be 75%. The order & reasons for & against as the clauses were voted down were:

1) To allow people to build pretty much as they want. There are Highland towns which are being killed because young people cannot afford houses because unbuilt plots cost 40,000 each (320,000 an acre) while farmland on the other side of a fence costs 1,200 an acre - the objection was that there was no way conference would support this, which I recognise as true & was willing to cut

5) This is to kickstart the industry. Most builders have relatively little capital but any bank shown a guarantee to purchase like this would be much more willing to lend, the flat rate of loan/grant particularly helps low cost housing - the objection was that we should not interfere with the free market to help a rising industry

4) Self explanatory - the objections were that we should scrap doing this & come back with a general land tax later & that it is improper to make anything revenue neutral when taxes can be increased

3)Self explanatory - the objection was that there are other ways of damming up demand for example raising taxes

2) By producing a national approval scheme builders of prefabricated properties would be able to mass produce knowing that purchasers were automatically able use their house without piddling changes - the objection was that we have to much mass production, housing has been getting worse since the building of canals allowed the mass production & transportation of bricks, creating central planning restriction in addition to rather than instead of local would be ok

No comments: