Summit Themes and Context - Land Assembly Summit 2020

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Summit Theme - Background and Context
Land Assembly

The Effect of Schemes
  • Fundamental issues of fairness, efficiency and transparency
  • Compulsory acquisition fundamentally disrupts peoples’ lives, businesses, assets and/or investments - through no action or inaction on their part - their mere presence being the only criteria for such inclusion.  People find themselves in an alien and litigious process, with the State, big business and professionals speaking what for many is a foreign language, fighting over claimant land and rights, where the claimant have only a bit part to play.
  • In the UK, far too often, compensation is not agreed and paid until well after the promoter takes possession; and in some cases, after the scheme is completed.
  • Many ‘claimants’ are subjected to undue levels of stress – financial and psychological with businesses being threatened and sometimes extinguished.  It becomes very personal and disenfranchises individuals and communities.
  • Consequently, there is significant opposition by land owners.
Delayed Schemes
  • On the basis a scheme is being promoted having a compelling public benefit, delayed schemes represent a failure to deliver the benefit at the earliest opportunity.  In the same context, abandoned schemes are failed promises; where the ingredients requiring action for the compelling public benefit remain.
  • How can we minimise delay and avoid delayed schemes?

The Need - The Commitment
  • Across the globe demands for new and replacement infrastructure (roads, railways, airports, water treatment, energy generation and transmission, electronic communication) is at an all-time high; a situation that will continue for some decades.
  • Changes in retail, industrial and office usage create obsolescence creating the need for regeneration and renewal schemes.
  • Dilapidated or substandard housing is no longer fit for purpose, and along with population growth and demand, creates a need to build more and renew existing housing stock
  • Changing land use and new infrastructure provides the prospect of freeing up new tranches of land that can be used for delivery of all of the above.

The Role of the State as Enablers
  • All projects must pass through the planning system. Planning policy creates the terms of engagement between developers, local and state authorities; and is used to manipulate social, economic objectives; all of which affect viability.
  • But over and above that, there is an increasing realisation of the need for statutory acquisition powers for land assembly to speed up or release land where landowners fail to engage for major projects.
  • In the UK, there has always been the test of "compelling public benefit " that releases such powers.
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