Published: Thursday, 3rd December 2015
Islington Council in north London has welcomed confirmation from the Government that the value of land should reflect planning requirements.
It comes amid growing concern that developers and landowners are manipulating the development viability process to build fewer affordable homes.
Islington and other London councils have found that developers sometimes disregard planning policies about building affordable homes when bidding for land. They later claim they cannot afford to build affordable homes because they have paid so much for the land.
However, in a recent letter to Islington Council the Government Legal Department said it is the Secretary of State’s “unambiguous policy position” that “land or site value… should reflect policy requirements”.
Councillor James Murray, the council’s executive member for housing and development, said: “Londoners desperately need more affordable housing, and we need to make sure developers are making a fair contribution.
“However we, and many other types of council across London, are concerned that developers are using the viability process to argue they can’t afford to provide much or any affordable housing because they paid too much for land.
“We are therefore pleased to have a clear confirmation from the Government’s legal department that the value of land should reflect policy requirements, which of course includes affordable housing.”