Last edited 15 Jan 2016

Landbanking and other animals

Rebekah Paczek profile image.jpg

Following on nicely from our ideas competition, Rebekah Paczek from Snapdragon Consulting takes a wry look at the Labour Party consultation on housing


Roll up roll up, it's the land banking carousel in action again!

This time it's Ed Miliband making the claims, who appears to have conveniently forgotten the Labour Government commissioned Barker Review (commissioned by HMT of which Miliband was probably a part being Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors responsible for long-term economic planning). However, it does prove that if you don't get the answer you want just keep asking the questions again and again and you never know, people may change their minds.

Yes, as an extra little Christmas present the Labour Party published their consultation on housing. Well, it's officially an independent review headed up by Michael Lyons who hasn't reviewed anything for a couple of years so was probably getting withdrawal symptoms.

There is nothing like a document full of polemic sweeping statements to encourage the industry to respond warmly. One of my favourite questions starts 'Given the consensus that our current development industry is not capable of delivering the homes we need…' Is it just me or did you also miss the statistically representative poll of a minimum of 1,000 relevant respondents which established this consensus? The document doesn't refer to where this can be substantiated so I can only assume it can't be. Obviously panning the entire development industry as being not only duplicitous in actually carrying out land banking (so subtly that no evidence exists to prove it) but also accusing them of being incompetent when they actually do develop something is the way to win friends and influence people.

The key points for consultation are:

Interestingly there is nothing in the consultation about the issues faced by developers trying to get planning consent from potentially intransigent local authorities, or local authorities without an up-to-date local plan, or local communities who simply don't want development regardless of incentives and benefits. Perhaps that angle would be less of a vote-winner.

The one good thing is that the expert panel genuinely appears to be made up of experts so perhaps there is hope yet…

Responses to the consultation should be submitted by 28th February.

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