From a blog by New Economics Foundation
State agencies are selling off public land across the as they seek to raise money for other projects. So land belonging, for example, to the Ministry of Defence, NHS, Dept of Education, Ministry of Justice, etc is being released and developers are adding these sites to their land banks. The New Economics Foundation has produced a map of these sites across the UK. You can find out what is happening in your area here.
This leads to issues such as; a) how long it takes for a developer to actually develop the land, b) the pricing of houses and c) the number of affordable homes included in planning initially and reduced later by the developer.
Community groups are appearing and these are challenging land sales and/or are putting forward their own development plans and working to build community-led housing on public land.
In North London, community group StART Haringey aims to build 800 homes on a former hospital site, three quarters of which will be genuinely affordable to local residents. The campaign was prompted by anger over the original developer’s plans for the site, which contained just 14% affordable homes.
The benefits of community-led projects like theirs are not limited to affordable housing, but extend to wider social benefits. In StART Haringey’s case that includes preserving green spaces and keeping allotments that are shared with the local hospital. Putting communities in charge of local development can have positive effects even before building begins by bringing their community together.
Seb, Tony and Paula from StART Haringey explain more in this 2 min video:
There are further short videos on the NEF blog page here.
Community-led housing is a credible, people-powered alternative to speculative, private developer-driven housing development and we need to ask the question, "Shouldn't the first refusal for any public land sale be given to a community-led housing group?".
Why not investigate public land sales in your area and intervene to help solve local housing issues?
See also Self-build housing - a win, win, win? and Community-Led Development.