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the £ton versus East Chiltington chronicles

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

and 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."

Nothing remarkable about that - right?

But then I went on to to mention a 2009 story- See 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..."

Editor's comments:- I did talk about - "200x gain on the land alone (gov.uk data)" - in my February 28, 2021 - hello Etongrad! - 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 North 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

3 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 - Nolands 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 3,000, 3,250 or 5,000 homes. (Final figures - ranging from none to more than any these previously mentioned - still yet to be publicly discussed and decided by the planning system.)

* 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
Editor:- Review 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 transaction).

The current landownership structure of England is outlined in Table 4.2"
land ownership in the UK - click to see the full report by University of Reading
read the report

All "guaranteed" 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 - editor wrongthingwrongplace - commenting on the FT article - Battles loom as housing developers eye rural England (June 25, 2021).

click to see this reportby TCPA
"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.

There is 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).

It makes 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 be developed."

Professor Michael Edwards in his essay - How much land value should be captured for collective purposes?
The 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)

Eton Greed - the Eton vs East Chiltington chronicles - protest artwork #6

see also:- "Eton Greed" on Google

Follow the money.

In housing - it's the land beneath - where the assetization is minted

"In 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 to 10%.

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."
For 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 at all.

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."
Land 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 Novington Lane?
silent spring and concrETON image wrongthingwrongplacedotcom

Another load of stuff which you'd rather not spend the rest of your life trying to understand Captain Feary reads the scrolls
planning??? - 3 new guides