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The housing crisis has been in the news again with the government promising a crack down on 'landbanking' developers who "just sit on land and watch its value rise".

Given that, where land has planning permission, it is far more lucrative for developers to build and sell than to sit tight, this may all seem like a distraction from a more obvious reason for our housing shortage: the bewildering complexity of the planning system and the huge upfront costs that must be risked in pursuit of planning permission.

The current government is once more enacting measures to help achieve its annual housing targets. At the same time, the Labour Party is discussing more radical policies of compulsory purchase for compensation which excludes the 'uplift' value that planning permission confers. With the possibility of such policies coming forward after the next General Election, alongside the likelihood of a less benign tax environment generally, there is no better time than the present for schools to be pushing forward their plans for land they have earmarked for future development. There will be no hiding from the difficulties, nor the need for experienced professionals to help schools identify and deal with suitable development partners, but the window of opportunity may be a narrow one.

If you require further information please contact James Maxwell or your usual contact at the firm on 020 3375 7000.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, March 2018

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