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Letter to the Daily Telegraph

07 August 2014

Letter to the Daily Telegraph on financial compensation.

 

Sir

The RTPI has reservations about the Deputy Prime Minister’s recent announcement that home-owners will be offered financial compensation to encourage acceptance of new Garden City developments.

Compensating individuals to accept development has a number of drawbacks. Proposals that extend a compensation-led approach to individuals may lead to developing areas with fewer objections, rather than identifying the optimum location for communities. This approach also  sends a signal out from Government that new homes are something which requires compensation, rather than something which addresses need. Therefore it could incentivise more objections in the initial phase of development in the hope that residents will receive more compensation. Furthermore it is not clear how such compensation would work with other mechanisms to mitigate impact such as section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Another potential problem with using compensation to convince residents to accept new development could be that it bypasses the need – and opportunity – to inform communities of the benefits associated with development, such as the generation of additional local transport and infrastructure services, which may well in fact lead to significant increases in value for existing homes. The Deputy Prime Minister is therefore failing to take into account the full benefits resulting from proactive, strategic and ambitious planning, in favour of an approach that could result in a weak, grudging ‘agreement’ arrived at by inducement rather than reason.

Ultimately, we need to give the public more information and therefore the opportunity to make ‘right decisions’ when properly informed about the benefits of housing development to their communities, and to the country.

Cath Ranson

RTPI President