Introduce an NHS land community-lock

Introduce an NHS land community-lock

Any land asset sold by the NHS through choice, necessity or obligation should be used for community benefit.

The NHS is selling off land as part of the Government’s Public Land for Housing Programme, which has the dual aim of releasing enough land for 160,000 homes by 2020, and raising £5 billion in capital receipts. The National Audit Office found that the government is currently expected to fall almost 100,000 homes short of this target by 2020.

The average sale prices of many houses built on NHS land is 9.6 times the average annual salary of a nurse at £306,434. At present 5% of the homes built on sold-off NHS land will be for genuinely affordable social rent with 30% of sites having no plans for affordable housing at all. Meanwhile there are currently 1.2 million English households on the waiting list for social housing, but the majority of homes built on NHS land will be out of reach to those who most need them.

We need an NHS Land community-lock’ where any land asset sold by the NHS through choice, necessity or obligation can only be used for community benefit. This will mean that the community served by an NHS Trust will benefit from the sale of its asset and those working for the trust will be able to purchase or rent homes on the land. This is part of a wider recommendation to create a Public Land Bank which would hold surplus public sites to be used strategically in partnership with communities to meet their needs for affordable housing.

Policy in practice

Projects that demonstrate the benefits or may be helped by polices like this.

  • Granby 4 Streets
    A determined group of residents saved their streets by taking them over.
  • Save Druids Heath
    Residents fight council plans to rebuild their homes that ignore their community.
  • London Renters Union
    Tenants are taking action against rip-off landlords to win lower rents and longer tenancies.
  • Goldsmith Street
    Winner of the 2019 RIBA Stirling prize, these eco-friendly homes are one of the first new council housing projects in a generation.
  • Lilac – Low Impact Living Affordable Community
    Lilac is a environmentally-friendly housing co-op with an innovative funding model.
  • Start Haringey
    Residents and workers aim to turn former hospital site into affordable housing.
  • Walterton and Elgin Community Homes
    Tenant-controlled housing estate emerged from the struggle of residents against the sale of their homes to private developers.
  • Fossetts for the People
    Campaigners want to ensure former NHS land is used for publicly owned social housing.