As mentioned in my last blog, last week Brodies sponsored a debate arranged by the Compulsory Purchase Association Scotland on the topic of land value capture.

Landowners will be aware that politicians and policy makers are increasingly looking to land value capture as a solution to the shortage of affordable housing.

The event considered the Scottish Land Commission report which reviewed historic attempts to capture land value uplift in the UK. The proposal that compulsory purchase legislation be amended so that compensation for land acquired for housing be based on Existing Use Value was discussed.

Brodies' Christine O'Neill chaired the debate and Colin Cottage, Former Chair of CPA, presented the key note speech. He explained some of the problems which might arise if CPO legislation was amended to allow acquisition for housing at existing use value rather than open market value. He mentioned the risk of breach of ECHR rights; concerns as to fairness to landowners if rules were different for housing land from land being acquired for other purposes; and the likelihood of an increase in the number of objectors which would arise if landowners were facing compensation at Existing Use Value. He also mentioned the different compensation regimes in Germany and the Netherlands.

Although there was considerable support from panellists and attendees with the view that the public should benefit from land value increases, most of those present did not consider that compulsory purchase should be used as a means of capturing that value with many supporting the use of Section 75 Agreements as a means of helping to deliver new housing and development.