Mayor James Palmer calls for land value cap to unlock housing growth in Cambridgeshire - but it needs Government approval he says

PUBLISHED: 13:01 31 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:55 31 July 2017

Mayor James Palmer

Mayor James Palmer

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Mayor James Palmer has called for a price cap on land values in parts of Cambridgeshire to get more homes built and at prices people can afford.

In an article for Conservative Home – an on line party news forum – he writes that “a land value cap would involve placing a cap on the extent to which land adjacent to a significant infrastructure project (the M11 extension) could go up in value.

“For example, the increase could be limited to ten times the original value. The landowner would still benefit financially but house builders would be able to secure the land at a far lower price than would have been the case without the cap.

House builders would sign an agreement, agreeing to pay a charge (say £30,000 per house, payable on the sale of the house) to the organisation funding the road construction project which made the housing development possible.

“This would have the potential of making the project (in this case the M11 extension) a viable proposition,” he said.

Mayor Palmer says one of the threats to the concept of Greater Cambridge that may prevent it from achieving its true potential is its overheated property market.

He writes: “Whereas in the north of the combined authority area a three-bedroom house would cost you approximately £160,000, in Cambridge City it would cost you closer to £600,000.

“Not only are the lower-paid workers who are needed to fulfil vital roles in the Greater Cambridge economy shut out, but even some of the highly skilled and more affluent workers that the University and the science park need to attract are struggling to find affordable places to live in the city.”

Mayor Palmer said that an extension of the M11 to the A47 “would mean journey times from the north into Cambridge would fall from over an hour to approximately 30 minutes”.

The mayor says he hasn’t the power to impose a land value cap and it would need Parliamentary legislation.

He says that such a cap could be a major step to unlock disparities in wealth and opportunities in Cambridgeshire and it requires “bold and imaginative thinking” to challenge and to change that.


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