The Key Ideas

#82 Change policy in the planning process to reorientate it towards public good and away from private profit

More must be done to make sure land is used for the kind of housing which improves lives and not the kind which is mainly about trapping people in mortgages. To achieve this, there should be a more aggressive approach to planning permission. At the moment, planning permission seems often to be viewed as a means of creating 'economic growth'. This is just a way of saying 'to make big developers wealthy' by letting them use public policy to increase the value of their assets. Developers buy land and then greatly increase the value of that land by using decisions on planning which are meant to be there to protect the interests of the commons. But instead of protecting those interests, the result is generally overpriced housing on overpriced land in badly designed developments. At times, there seems to be an uncomfortable closeness between those who grant planning permission and those who benefit. Planning should be used much more aggressively in the public interest to promote more affordable housing, more access to land for self-build, andcruciallymore public rental housing. Zoning larger volumes of land exclusively for these purposes and attaching much more stringent criteria on commercial developments will thusly improve access to land.