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News | 22nd June 2020
 

More rural housing options are needed

More houses and more affordable homes will benefit everyone

 
 
The planning permission for the housing development on the former Ford Mill site in Langholm will run out in March Rachel Norris Mar 2010
 

SCOTLAND’S reliance on the speculative private development model will not help to achieve the level of new homes needed or help build more affordable homes.

The whole system needs fundamental reform, according to the Scottish Land Commission.

The commission has published a new Land Focus paper and a series of reports about land for housing.

It argues that land must be used more effectively to benefit every resident.

The paper outlines the pivotal role of land in delivering new homes and better communities and touches on issues such as the relationship between land prices and house prices, land banking and speculative housebuilding.

It is published concurrently with three research reports that examine in-depth, different aspects of the system.

The first examined the relationship between residential development land prices and house prices.

The second was an investigation by Chamberlain Walker Economics into land banking which found no evidence of developers land-banking sites with planning permission.

The most significant finding of the commission’s research was that the speculative private development model was not well suited to increasing the supply of new homes, especially in rural Scotland where development costs tended to be higher.

While housing supply had gradually increased since a low point after the 2007/8 recession, the number of new homes built was not yet back to pre-recession levels.

Since that recession, there had been a growing intergenerational gulf between housing ‘haves’ (older homeowners) and ‘have nots’ (younger people living in private rented housing).

Shona Glenn, the commission’s head of policy, said: “Market forces alone cannot and will not deliver the high-quality places which are so fundamental to human well-being because what is economically rational does not necessarily best serve the public interest.

“This is not to imply a reduced role for private enterprise, which is experiencing the impact of the pandemic, but rather the need for the public sector to adopt a more pro-active approach and a greater willingness to share the risks and rewards of development.”

Professor Russel Griggs, chairman of South of Scotland Enterprise, said: “Working as Team South of Scotland in response to COVID-19, it is crucial to look not only at the immediate response but also to our future prosperity.

“We’re committed to being ambitious, think differently and harness opportunities to build our economy and attract people to live, work and invest in and visit the area.

“We want to build on the findings of the Good Economy report and the consultation we did with our communities to have a range of housing options available to attract people to live in and work here.

“We’ll work in partnership to do all we can to make sure that happens in the best interest of our population and economy.”

 
 
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