The Red Book on Letwin and Land Value Capture

Red Book

4.57 Accelerating housing delivery – Alongside the Budget, Sir Oliver Letwin has published his independent review of the gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned. The review found no evidence that speculative land banking is part
of the business model for major house builders, nor that this is a driver of slow build out rates.
The review concluded that greater differentiation in the types and tenures of housing delivered on large sites would increase the market absorption rates of new homes – the binding constraint on build out rates on large sites – and has set out recommendations to achieve this aim. The
government will respond to the review in full in February 2019. In order to minimise uncertainty for housebuilders, the government confirms that Help to Buy Equity Loan funding will not be made contingent on large sites with existing outline permission being developed in conformity
with any new planning policy on differentiation. The government will honour any funding commitments made to sites with existing outline planning permission, regardless of any new planning policy on differentiation.
4.58 Planning reform – The government has already revised the National Planning Policy Framework, implementing 85 of the proposals set out in the Housing White Paper and Autumn
Budget 2017, ensuring that more land in the right places is available for housing. The Budget announces that the government has launched a consultation on new permitted development rights to allow upwards extensions above commercial premises and residential properties,
including blocks of flats, and to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes.
4.59 Land value uplift – The government confirms that it will introduce a simpler system of developer contributions that provides more certainty for developers and local authorities, while enabling local areas to capture a greater share of uplift in land values for infrastructure
and affordable housing. The reforms include simplifying the process for setting a higher zonal Community Infrastructure Levy in areas of high land value uplift, and removing all restrictions on Section 106 pooling towards a single piece of infrastructure. The government will also introduce
a Strategic Infrastructure Tariff for Combined Authorities and joint planning committees with strategic planning powers.

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