This blog is reproduced with permission from the University of Glasgow’s Policy Scotland blog.
In May 2014, the Land Reform Review Group submitted its final report to the ScottishGovernment. The First Minister announced in November 2014 that the Government would consequently bring forward a Land Reform Bill, which was published in June 2015 and is currently under consideration by the Scottish Parliament.
The Land Reform Bill concentrates mainly, but not exclusively, on rural aspects of land reform. Alongside this, the Scottish Government is currently undertaking a consultation programme on the recommendations made by the LRRG for urban land reform. These have potential fundamentally to change the operation of urban land markets in Scotland. If adopted, they could have significant impact on planning, housebuilding and real estate development across Scotland.
To help people better understand the LRRG’s proposals for urban land reform, Policy Scotland is publishing six briefing papers summarising their key elements. These papers have been prepared by Professor David Adams who acted as an independent adviser to the LRRG. For more information, please contact Professor Adams at email@example.com
Briefing Paper No. 1: Compulsory Sale Orders
Briefing Paper No. 2: Housing Land Corporation
Briefing Paper No. 3: Majority Land Assembly
Briefing Paper No. 4: Public Interest Led Development
Briefing Paper No. 5: Statutory Rights of Pre-Emption
A briefing paper is just a statement of facts, isn’t it? Someone else is making the decision and is allegedly being advised. And historically in Scotland the decision makers seem to be agents for the landowners. So is there anything to suggest things will be different this time around?
Is this really that difficult? After all, they managed to deliver entire new towns back in the 50s and 60s. And on a smaller scale, did they not used to have “housing action areas” in run down areas of cities where property was compulsorily bought up for redevelopment? Can the dust not be blown off these processes and freshened up a bit?
Back in the rural context (I know! off topic!), every village in Scotland used to have a clutch of council houses. To replace those lost by right to buy to provide affordable rural housing, the authorities just have to restart the processes which delivered these houses in the 1940s to 1970s. Except that involves the uncomfortable truth of having to fund housing associations and local authorities to do it. Much cheaper to demonise landowners for refusing to release land and fart around with gesture politics of capping this and banning that while nothing actually changes …
We now have a lot of history on the impact of regeneration plans; see the bleak conclusion of this Douglas Robertson paper –
;Looking back over 80 years regeneration in Scotland exudes a distinctive
‘Groundhog Day’ quality, given the many communities subjected to almost cyclical
renewal practices ever since the original slum clearance programme brought them
into existence back in the
1930s. It is also evident that Glasgow, in particular, has
long dominated the various programmes and initiatives over these years, but despite
this focus, still finds itself consistently at the bottom of socioeconomic indicators for
Scotland, the UK and Europe.
. . .Finally, it is ironic, that the rhetoric of regeneration has long proffered an extensive
lexicon extolling the importance of involving local people: community consultation,
involvement, engagement, participation and
empowerment. Glasgow’s community-based housing associations offered one long-established and successful mode of such working, but although
regularly name checked when promoting other initiatives,
most notably the Glasgow housing stock transfer, this approach was
not acted upon,
nor utilised by those exercising the power within the field of regeneration. Rather the
language of community found itself hijacked, so much so that the entire strategic
planning system is now the responsibility of Community Plan Partners, bodies that
have been continually criticised for failing to engage with, let alone embrace local
communities in their work (ODS, 2006; Fy
fe, 2009; Audit Scotland, 2013). Those withpower capture the discourse, and Scottish regeneration bears witness to that reality.’
Mr Robertson notes Heath’s shock at seeing Possilpark in 1974. We also have along history now of politicians of all brands expressing a dismay that leads to plans that evaporate