Solutions

Create a Public Land Bank

Create a Public Land Bank

End the fire sale public land and instead use surplus land to form the basis for a Public Land Bank.

Excessive land prices, driven by speculation, are making a significant contribution to the housing crisis, and putting up significant barriers to any attempts to solve it. Despite this affordability crisis, the government is rapidly selling off publicly owned land to the highest bidder.

New Economics Foundation research shows that the programme of sell-offs is only delivering 20% affordable homes and 6% socially rented homes on former public land. Moreover, the public land being sold is often in places with high land prices with the greatest housing need; in some London boroughs public bodies own over 20% of land. Instead of being sold off, surplus public land should be put to the service of long-term public good.

We should end the fire sale public land, instead using surplus land to form the basis for a Public Land Bank. This should be used in partnership with communities to meet local need, primarily affordable housing. The freehold for public land should remain in the public sector, with long leases provided to local authorities, housing associations and community land trusts, increasing affordable housing and providing a long term income stream for the public sector. This would enable governments to begin to break the link between economic growth and housing unaffordability

Policy in practice

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

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