[diggers350] URGENT - Responses needed to planning gain consultation

Bob Young bbbyoung at btinternet.com
Mon Feb 26 11:07:07 GMT 2007

I just sent this off - please use it as you want. Bob


Responses to Paul Martin, planning.obligation
<mailto:planning.obligations at communities.gsi.gov.uk>
s at communities.gsi.gov.uk and julie.dufty@
<mailto:julie.dufty at hmrc.gsi.gov.uk> hmrc.gsi.gov.uk 

Deadline 28 February.   PDF - RESPONSE ATTACHED

I am responding to the current consultation on the following documents:

Changes to Planning Obligations (DCLG);http://www.communit

Valuing Planning Gain (HMRC) http://www.hmrc.

Paying PGS (HMRC)http://www.hmrc.


Response to UK Government consultation on Planning Gain


As you have suggested that this tax will be implemented only if there is
sufficient support for it, I would like to raise what I consider is a
crucial point against it.


For the last few years I have been pursuing the path of engaged conversation
with the various authorities in Wales to do with social housing, social
planning and the devolved assembly departments dealing with justice and
regeneration of communities. On this basis I have been party to various
consultation processes and have also contributed to the wider movement in
Wales to move forward proposals for implementation of what Labour has termed
its Third Way. Briefly this consists in drafting legislation to encompass
new theories of devolution, community participation and a fresh
understanding on the dynamics of market forces in the context of social


On a more specific note, my particular project has been one to promulgate
the popular resurgence of the Community Land Trust movement, which has
arisen in reaction to the alarming increases, not only in property prices in
Wales, but more specifically, of the  effect of property prices on the
availability of development land for the purpose of a scheme known as
Community Self Build. This is a group which was initially set up as an
offshoot of the government in England [can't remember which dept. - they
change its name so often], and which has enjoyed considerable success
combining the various factors of social exclusion with innovative building
technology and group support processes. 


Needless to say, this has been promoted in close collaboration with the
local drive to stem the appalling shortfall in social provision of decent
accommodation, not to mention the urgent crisis of climate change which
necessitates the kind of high thermal efficiency of the Segal Method of
design which has been adapted specifically for this type of scheme.
Unfortunately it seems that enthusiasm for the Community Self Build Agency,
no less than the Segal Self-build Trust, has been decimated by the same
blight which has given us the runaway inflation of house prices. Therefore
it is a matter of principle no less than a question of practical urgency,
that these issues are given the scope and perspective they require.


I can only assume that this principle of equality of opportunity is what
underlies both the Barker Review of Planning [which unfortunately I have not
yet managed to fully digest], and the current draft proposals for the SPG,
and it is to be commended for attempting to staunch the exodus of the
lifeblood of our common heritage at the point of transgression - namely the
arbitrary allocation of windfall gains bestowed by the Planning process.
However, in this attempt it fails to consider the devastating impact of such
a policy on the fully fledged and emerging process of the third sector in
relation to the supply of affordable housing. 


Community Land Trusts, as you must be aware, come into their own as a means
of galvanising the strength of local communities to provide for this basic
requirement of accommodation. To this end they have sought recognition of
the right to self-determination and the practical implementation of their
democratic rights in collusion with the planning authorities. There is
nothing in the Town and Country Planning Acts which contradicts this
essential notion of policies aimed at maximising the social gain of planning
procedures; so the SPG stands as a valuable extension of that process of
foresight which further restricts the contrasting process of random or
sprawling development which is encouraged by the existing legislation.


So to the point - there is a significant discrepancy between the aims of
this process to re-evaluate the efficiency of the Planning Laws in relation
to the development of industrial and domestic infrastructure, and the need,
ever more pressing, to formulate policies which best express the modern
drive to greater accountability and regional self-determination. This
discrepancy is brought out by the confusion of what constitutes 'GAIN' in
conjunction with the recovery of public wealth creation at the point of
granting planning permission, rather than it being tied to the more familiar
idea that wealth should be taxed as a financial commodity as part of the
overall concept of supply and demand. Therefore the idea of 'Gaining'
planning permission is not contiguous with that of 'capital gain' which has
traditionally been taxed at the point of sale, although the innovative
suggestion that this value can be determined independently of the
fluctuations of the market pricing mechanism are potentially fruitful.


The effect, obvious as it may be to anyone who is actually involved in the
process of seeking planning permission for more radical proposals for
innovative design and social regeneration, is to lump the need for social
enterprise and self-interested and socially destructive development
practices in the same basket. It is fair and laudable to ask for
compensation to the public purse for the accidental gains flowing to the
property developer, BUT only if the consequence of that development results
in actual financial gain to the developer. It is a mistake to confuse the
commendable social or community gain to be had by dedicated groups wishing
to improve their own conditions in the context of well researched and
farsighted ecological developments, with the impersonal and profit-driven
consequences of pure market speculation.  


What I am suggesting is either that significant thought goes into
re-drafting this process to stipulate that community gain in terms of the
creation of legal constitutions which guarantee social provision, cannot be
subject to a tax on  non-realisable assests; or, more radically that this
legislation is reconstructed to shift the emphasis onto the financial gain
at the point of sale. Indeed there are, to my mind significant advantages in
this latter suggestion, not the least being that it would be possible to tax
any gains in the value of land due to changing social patterns of
infrastructure investment, gains which are not dependent on the granting of
planning permission. Notably in the London Green belt where land has been
sold by greedy speculators, counting on the expansion of future development
boundaries [such as implied by Barker] , for in excess of a million pounds
per acre.


In anticipation of your respectful attention to this process, I look forward
to hearing from you.


Bob Young

Quarter Cefn 






-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20070226/da7a85ca/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 238 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://mailman.gn.apc.org/mailman/private/diggers350/attachments/20070226/da7a85ca/attachment.bin>

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list