|the £ton versus East
the simple ma££s of planning gain
lesson #1 - find some fields
North Barnes Lane, East Chiltington, Plumpton...
and for any old
field plots hereabouts...
£1.8 million / acre is the gain
from getting planning permission without having to build anything at all
here the lesson endeth
|Editor:- May 17, 2021 - today
in a new comment to the
Lewes Forum - on
the subject of housing - writing as Uiop - I said - "There's
a disconnect between houses being built and land developers putting in plans to
convert greenfield agricultural sites to build houses."|
remarkable about that - right?
But then I went on to to mention
a 2009 story-
how the land lies - by Ellen Kelleher in the
FT (June 19, 2009) - which does sound
spookily pertinent to the property reformulations in which East
Chiltington finds itself stirred up today.
Among other things that above mentioned FT article - 12 years
ago- reported... "Welbeck Land, a property development group,
is hoping to raise 100 million in new equity, part of which will fund efforts
to obtain planning consents for farmers to increase the value of each acre
from 5,000 to more than 2 million in parts of Sussex. In return, Welbeck will
receive 20% of the profits when the land is sold..."
comments:- I did talk about - "200x gain on the land alone (gov.uk
data)" - in my February 28, 2021 -
- but not everyone who saw the link will have downloaded the spreadsheet - and
new readers have been joining us - so apologies for the repetition if you
already saw that before.
North Barnes Lane? - why did I
choose that in the headline above and not
Barnes Farm - which is Eton's placeholder name for its new town? It's not
just about Eton and its land - although Eton's plans are the ones attracting
most attention from local resident activitists.
At the time of
writing this (May 2021) - North Barnes Lane - a bridleway connecting
between Novington Lane in East Chiltington and Station Road in Plumpton -
appears to be a potential hotspot for at least 3 different new community
plan developments on the fields along its full length and on either side
of the lane.
Going back to historical times - it is understood
locally that all this land was once owned by members of a family called Awbery
- which sold about 500 acres to Eton College. Local sources
planning hotspots along North Barnes Lane?
1) - At the Plumpton end
of North Barnes Lane - an application was made by land promoter Fairfax (on
behalf of various owners of the land including the 2 houses which need to be
demolished to create access) in April 2021 - LW/21/0262 - to build 89 new
houses on the fields to the East of Plumpton Lane. Objections had topped 390
when this piece was written. Read more in -
Plumpton - 1st cut to new town?
2) - At the Plumpton-Chiltingon
border along North Barnes Lane - is a chunk of land still owned* - it is
locally believed - by the Awbery family. Regardless of who owns it - this
is a different plot to the Eton land - according to Eton's recently shared
maps. Speculating on the future of this land (sandwiched between the
clearly labelled Fairfax and Eton-Welbeck plots) it is reasonable to assume
in the current planning framework that should the Fairfax site get
permission to build its 89 houses - that this precedent (with its access road
for cars) would be regarded by any serious developer as a green light and
pragmatic opportunity to offer the Chiltington side of these inbetweener
fields as a plot for some kind of housing development too.
3) - And
in the middle of North Barnes Lane and heading towards the Chiltington end to
Novington Lane - is of course the North Barnes Farm land owned by Eton - which
has been variously described by Eton in past years and various documents as
being suitable for
homes. (Final figures - ranging from none to more than any these previously
mentioned - still yet to be publicly discussed and decided by the planning
* ownership of land is hard to research and confirm. So
statements and widely held opinions as to who owns what and when - which are
made in public discourse and news articles can be made in good faith but may
still be liable to errors. The paper referenced below has an academic
perspective on this ownership topic.
|landownership structure of
England - academic paper|
of Key Trends and Issues in UK Rural Land Use - Report to The Royal Society
(157 pages pdf) (August 2020) - is a useful resource which (among
other things) also says this.
"Landownership data is notoriously difficult to obtain in
the UK and even today information on who owns rural land in the country
remains clouded in secrecy and difficulties. Church and Ravenscroft point
towards - the problems of identifying owners, especially in areas where land
registration is incomplete (many areas of rural England) and land is rarely
bought and sold (registration only taking place as a result of such a
The current landownership structure of England is
outlined in Table 4.2"
money making investment schemes come to an end. The "invest in UK land
schemes" is no exception.
When the primary sources of the money read the runes and understand
what's likely to happen when democratic forces take back control of the planning
colleges in England the taps will start to close. And most of the speculative,
hostile developments will go the same way as the vampires when poked with
Buffy's pointy stick. We won't miss them.
|Zsolt Kerekes -
- commenting on the FT article -
loom as housing developers eye rural England (June 25, 2021).|
|"Recent decades have brought us to a
position where the money valuation of land and buildings is now about 80%
of all tangible assets in the UK: totally dominant. |
widespread agreement that the UK economy is over-dependent on the maintenance
and pursuit of asset values: it is a source of instability and a key mechanism
in reproducing and amplifying the inequality of wealth between social classes
(and among generations within the property-owning classes).
housing absolutely unaffordable to working class people in most regions and
relatively hard to afford for many middle-income households.
Land values grow as population expands, as (at least many peoples)
incomes rise, prompting a desire for more space, as public infrastructure
improves and environmental quality goes up.
A distinct and
special uplift in value can be realised when permission is given for land to
Professor Michael Edwards in his essay - How
much land value should be captured for collective purposes?
wrong answers to the wrong questions - 11 essays - countering the
misconceptions driving the Governments planning reform agenda - a report by
an independent group of planning academics (August 2020)|
|Follow the money. |
housing - it's the land beneath - where the assetization is minted
addition to zero rate inheritance tax for working farms, they also qualify for
an Entrepreneurs Relief (ER) on capital gains tax, which reduces the normal rate
This tax break applies even when the farmland is being
sold for development, which can result in eye-watering windfalls, since land
for development can be worth 250x more than farmland
Rollover Relief is an alternative to ER for avoiding taxation on
development land profits and is available when the proceeds from the disposal of
land are reinvested into the replacement asset....
It is no wonder,
therefore, that estate agents promote farmland as a safe shelter for wealth and
a tax-efficient means of transferring wealth from one generation to the next.
In 2017 only 40% of farm purchases were by farmers."
the Many, Not the Few: a fair price for land - A report to the Labour
Party (June 2019)|
Editor's comments:- These lightweight taxation
scheme are the primary fuel which stokes up aggressive land promoter activity.
Land owners can easily afford to pay 20% commissions to play a spin in the
planning game roulette on a "no-win no fee" basis - because they
still get to keep so much of the gain afterwards.
In the case of Eton
and any windfall profit it might make in East Chiltington... as a registered
charity its investment arm is not liable to pay any capital gains tax at all.
If there were in place a higher tax on planning windfalls - such as a
65% rate on greenfield sites - then land promoters would realistically
get a very much much smaller slice of the windfall cake. The financial logic
would be that most of the speculative "no-win no fee" plans of the
type erupting all over Southern England in 2020, 2021 - would never get started
The rush to cash in land now - is because the legislative
framework is being redrafted - and there's a distinct possibility that the
windfall market will not be as generous to empty suit speculation in future.
|"In 1947 a 100%
development charge was set on value accruing because of the granting of planning
permission. It was repealed in 1954. In 1967 a betterment levy of 40% was
introduced. That levy was repealed in 1970. A third effort took place in the
1970s. A Development Gains Tax was introduced in 1973, followed by a Development
Land Tax introduced in 1976 and levied at 66.6% to 80% of development value.
This tax was abolished in 1985." |
capture and the funding of infrastructure - chapter 8 footnote491 - The
future of the planning system in England - Parliamentary Report (June 10, 2021)|
|The villain of the
story -in Rachel Carson's book - is the agro chemical industry and its
indoctrination of farmers by scientific and economic sophistry to kill
nature which got in the way of business. What's that got to do with
Eton-Welbeck's new town plan for East Chiltington?|
|Final Spring in