Sharing land value with communities: An open letter

This open letter was republished on 26 November 2018, signed by a cross party group of MPs, Mayors, Council Leaders and campaign organisations. It was sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP. For press queries, please contact Will Tanner on [email protected]

Update: At Onward and Create Streets’ recent Creating Communities conference we polled the audience and found that 91% of attendees agreed that “The Government should change the law to allow local authorities to capture more of the gains from planning permissions to invest in local infrastructure”.

Sharing land value with communities: An open letter

The root of England’s housing crisis lies in how we buy and sell land. When agricultural land is granted planning permission for housing to be built, the land typically becomes at least 100 times more valuable.

We, the undersigned, believe that more of this huge uplift in value should be captured to provide benefits to the community. If there was more confidence that more of the gains from development would certainly be invested in better places and better landscaping; in attractive green spaces; and in affordable housing and public services like new doctors surgeries and schools, then there would be less opposition to new development and much better infrastructure.

The Government should think radically about reforming the way we capture planning gain for the community. First, they should monitor the implementation of their welcome changes to Section 106 to ensure that councils deliver and developers do not continue to wriggle out of their commitments. Next, they could give local government a stronger role in buying and assembling land for housing, allowing them to plan new developments more effectively, share the benefits for the community and approve developments in places local people accept. Most importantly, they should reform the 1961 Land Compensation Act to clarify that local authorities should be able to compulsorily purchase land at fair market value that does not include prospective planning permission, rather than speculative “hope” value.

Too often in Britain new housing is not good enough and comes without the infrastructure and public services required to support it. Other countries do a better job of making attractive new places to live, by making sure that development profits the community as a whole. Unless we learn from them, Britain’s housing crisis will remain.


Please add your signature to the letter by filling in the form below. A full list of organisations and individuals who have signed the letter is published beneath the form.

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Tom Tugendhat, MP for Tonbridge and Malling

Ben Bradley, MP for Mansfield

Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall

Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East

Matt Western, MP for Warwick & Leamington

Karen Buck, MP for Westminster North

Emma Reynolds, MP for Wolverhampton North East

Hilary Benn, MP for Leeds Central

Neil O’Brien, MP for Harborough

Nick Boles MP, Former Planning Minister


Local government

Cllr Paul Carter, Chairman of the County Councils Network (CCN)

Cllr Martin Tett, Chairman of the Local Government Association (LGA) Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board

Ben Houchen, Mayor of Tees Valley Combined Authority

James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets | Phil Glanville, Mayor of Hackney

Tom Copley, Deputy Chair, London Assembly Housing Committee

Cllr Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council

Cllr Gagan Mohindra, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Essex County Council

Cllr James Jamieson, Leader of Central Bedfordshire Unitary Council

Cllr David Williams, Leader, Hertfordshire County Council

Cllr Charles Roberts, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council

Cllr Chris Seaton, Leader of Fenland District Council

John Holdich, Leader of Peterborough City Council

Cllr Graham Bull, Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council

Sara Bedford, Leader of Three Rivers District Council

Leo Pollack, Cabinet Member for Social Regeneration, Great Estates & New Council Homes, Southwark Borough Council


Campaign organisations

Will Tanner, Director

Daniel Bentley, Director, Civitas

Polly Neate, Chief Executive, Shelter

Crispin Truman, CEO, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

John Myers, Founder, London YIMBY

Jon Sparkes, CEO, Crisis

Dan Wilson Craw, Director, Generation Rent

Nicholas Boys Smith, Director, Create Streets

Tom Kibasi, Chief Executive, Institute for Public Policy Research

Joe Beswick, Head of Housing and Land, New Economics Foundation

Hugh Ellis, Interim Chair, Town and Country Planning Association

Kate Henderson, Chief Executive, National Housing Federation

Richard Lambert, CEO, National Landlords Association

Campbell Robb, CEO, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Charlotte Alldritt, Director, Centre for Progressive Policy

Reuben Young, Director, PricedOut

Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London


Online Signatories

Lord Lucas, House of Lords

Terrie Alafat, CEO, Chartered Institute of Housing

Tom Chance, Director, National Community Land Trust Network

Thomas-Emanuel Hoepfner, Director, New Garden Cities Alliance

Kia Trainor, Director, CPRE Sussex

Christopher Lewis, Chairmen, CPRE Somerset

Mark Walton, Director, Shared Assets

Leo Pollak, Cabinet Member for Social Regeneration, Great Estates and New Council Homes, London Borough of Southwark

Peter Eversden, Chairman, London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Councillor Sean Fitzsimons, Chair of Scrutiny, Croydon Council

Laurie Heykoop, Economist, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Chris Harris, Director, UK YIMBY

Theodore Roos, Management Consultant, The Boston Consulting Group

Willard J Freeman | David Elton, Retired

David Leathers, Retired | Richard Scrase, Self employed

John Davies-Mourby, Self-employed

Steve Hilditch, Editor, RedBrickBlog

John Walker, Chairman, Kent Federation of Amenity Societies

David Martin, Chief Executive, Corsham Town Council

Ann Kolodziejski, Senior Lecturer, University of Bolton

Jonathan Warner, Head of Research, Kelstedge Consultants

Yvonne Jeffery, Campaigns Officer, Save the Children

Brett Garner, Retired | John Goodman, Chair, UK Cohousing Trust

Mike Roberts, Team Leader, Labour Business Local Government Group

Stephen Hill, Chair, UK Cohousing Network

Mariam Lolavar, Marketing, FT

Kate Willshaw, Policy Officer, Friends of the Lake District

Duncan Hayes, Editor, Freelance

Hugo McCloud, Architect, 1200 WORKS

Lorayne Woodend Wall

Desmond Brennan, Retired

Dr Peter John Hirst, Peter Hirst Coaching

Flora Walker, Caseworker, Southwark Law Centre

Andy Yuille, Planning and environment consultant

Annie Haslam, Domestic Engineer

Alban Thurston, Member, Merton Citizens Housing

Andrew Goldring, Chief Executive, Permaculture Association

Michael John Carr, Retired

Chris Brown, Chair, igloo Regeneration

Julia Wakelam, Retired

Barbara Telford, Retired

Natalie Pearson, Digital Communications Officer, Equality and Diversity Forum

Andrew Purves, Tutor, School of Economic Science

Christopher Napier, CPRE Hampshire

Richard Shaw, Planning Policy Officer, London Borough, Ealing

Christina Emmett, Post Graduate Planning Student, University of Birmingham

Charlie Watson, Retired | Catherine Le Grice-Mack, Environment and Transport Campaigner

James Ferguson, Marketing Executive, The Outward Bound Trust

Steven Orner, Chartered Accountant | Mike Adams, Web Designer

Peter Walters, Self Employed

Stephen B Fry, Founder,

Alban Thurston, Sales Manager, Merton Power

Stewart Andrew Simpson, Solicitor

Jack Mulligan, Communications officer, TCPA

Holly Denny, Editor, WING

David Treanor, Retired, M3 Houding Ltd

Tricia Lennie, Clerk to Parish Council, Bedford Borough Council

Sid Bennett, Ministry of Defence

Jackie Surtees

Warren Whyte, County Councillor, Buckinghamshire County Council

Karen Hewlett, Administration, Devon County Counci

l Alastair Parvin, CEO, Open Systems Lab

Alexander Curtis, Councillor, Ware Town Council

Chris Haycock, Operations Director, Deepdale Backpackers & Camping

Neil Stanley, Retired

Robert Felstead, Managing Director

Vanessa d’Esterre

Roger Gambba-Jones, Councillor, South Holland District Council

Steve Bridger, Candidate for Yatton ward, North Somerset, Independent

Christina O’Neill, Director

Roger Philip Daniels, Principal, RP Daniels Ltd

Beth Stratford, Economist, University of Leeds

Dr Wei Yang, Chairmen, Wei Yang & Partners

Alin-Claudiu Luca, Student, King’s College London

Barbara Ann Haley, Retired

Craig Melcher, Editorial Lead, Shelter

Benjamin Brind, Student, KCL

Rebecca Collier, Manager

Thomas Hall, Leader, Young People’s Party UK

Patrick Herring, Councillor, South Swindon Parish Council

Henry Cumbers, Planner

Dominic Griffiths, Teacher, Bishops Hatfield School

Terence Michael Frostick, Retired

Joel Cassells, Student

Jacqueline Annette Thompson, Retired (Public sector), Wharfedale Alliance for Sound Planning

Hamish McCallum, Councillor, Southwark Council

David Oppenheim, Manager

Philip Gowenlock, Lattepapa Policy

Chris Barrington, Owner, Higher Adventure

Jonathan Mallinson, Inclusive Growth Strategy Advisor, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Mark Burlison, Consultant

Guy Shrubsole, Founder, Who Owns England

Afzal Hussain, Chief Officer, Witton Lodge Community Association

Craig Barton, Web officer, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Jack Minchella, Co-Founder, In-Between Economies

Jay Mistry, Development Project Manager, RHP

Matt Clifford, Co-founder and Chief Executive, Entrepreneur First

Josh Broadway, Community Relations, NHS

Ian Solley, Property developer , Mount Ephraim projects

Miles Holder, Student

Benedict Murphy, Strategy Analyst, Landor