Legal expert on Labour plans to force landowners to sell to the state

It his been reported that the Labour party plans to force landowners to sell their land to the state for a fraction of its value, in order to reduce the cost of constructing additional council houses.

Nick Leavey, Partner and Head of the Commercial Property team at Coffin Mew Solicitors, said in response to this news:

“While Labour’s proposed intervention may be well-meaning, it is ill-conceived and misguided.

“Will the party defend judicial review cases brought by landowners to block a compulsory purchase or increase the compensation payable? Will it take over the role of private sector promoters, no longer incentivised to invest large amounts of time and money getting planning permissions and other consents?

“How will Labour encourage private sector developers to continue building houses? Would a Labour government want the public sector to take this on?

“Whilst there is a desperate need to address the housing crisis, and the likes of time limited planning permissions and compulsory purchase may have a place in future measures, the current mood music is all about big, bad landowners, promoters and developers. They also just happen to be some of the organisations who look after our pensions, employ our workers and build, not just houses, but public infrastructure and facilities.

“Reform of the sector is urgently needed, but this needs to be done in partnership between government, public and private stakeholders, rather than in conflict.”