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HOUSING 

Land reform can play an important role in ensuring that the housing land market and development approach meets Scotland's needs. Addressing these challenges and helping to deliver well-planned sustainable communities in places people want to live at prices they can afford.  

We have investigated the options to ensure that sufficient affordable land for housing is available in the right places to meet housing need. Significant reform is needed to the way land is brought forward for housing and development if Scotland is to build the houses it needs.

Our review and recommendations to Scottish Ministers about land for housing – the culmination of two years’ work on this topic – we are proposing a new model where the public sector takes a leading role in the housing land market to create places people want to live at prices they can afford.

We have made recommendations to help Scotland deliver more homes more quickly – while also delivering benefits that go well beyond that. Changing the way that we deliver land for housing can help to deliver major policy objectives – addressing rural depopulation and revitalising declining town centres by enabling quality affordable housing to be delivered. There is also an opportunity to increase the quality of places, creating walkable 20 minute neighbourhoods and providing access to quality green space.

We propose that the public sector plays a much more active role in land assembly and strategic land promotion to reduce development risk and so increase housing delivery and create better places.  With the focus of public sector activity being on better use and re-use of public sector land and then on bringing forward sites for development that would not usually be developed on their own by the private sector – particularly mixed ownership sites in regeneration areas and land in rural Scotland.

The recommendations are structured to provide a practical pathway to implementing reforms in a phased way:

  • Establish a new recyclable fund to help create a network of ‘place pioneers’ – an ambitious programme of affordable housing delivery utilising repurposed publicly owned property assets in town centres and privately owned housing stock in remote rural communities.
  • Empower local authorities to designate Regeneration Partnership Zones to speed up the redevelopment of land in fragmented or multiple ownership so that landowners and public authorities can share the long-term uplift in land values.
  • Introduce new approach(es) to land value capture to ensure that uplifts in land value arising from public investment in infrastructure and land remediation are captured effectively and invested in place-making. 
  • Create a new public land agency, with the power and resources to ensure that a steady supply of development-ready sites is brought forward at the right time and in the right places to meet Scotland’s housing needs.
  • Introduce a new transparency obligation that would require options agreements and conditional contracts over land to be disclosed on a public register that is kept updated alongside regular publication of a statistical bulletin on land sales prices.
Land for Housing Review and Recommendations

This Land Focus provides a useful summary of our research and recommendations.

Case Studies

Anderston Regeneration Project

The Anderston regeneration project demonstrates the importance of an active land policy, masterplanning, intensive community engagement, and public sector funding for site assembly and delivery.

link to Anderston Regeneration Project case study

Bertha Park - Collaboration in masterplanning

Bertha Park demonstrates the importance of collaboration and masterplanning, and upfront finance for infrastructure to unlock development land.

link to Bertha Park - Collaboration in masterplanning case study

Castle Gardens, Pencaitland

Castle Gardens demonstrates the importance of maintaining an up-to-date development plan and offers insights into the role of land promoters in place promotion and risk sharing.

link to Castle Gardens, Pencaitland case study

Glasgow Commonwealth Games Village – a lasting legacy

The Glasgow Commonwealth Games Village demonstrates how a public interest led development approach and wider regenerational activities can shape a new market and place where none existed before.

link to Glasgow Commonwealth Games Village – a lasting legacy case study

Dargavel, Renfrewshire

The Dargavel development demonstrates the importance of collaboration, masterplanning and upfront finance for infrastructure to unlock development land.

link to Dargavel, Renfrewshire case study

Anna's Hoeve, Hilversum, The Netherlands

In this case study of Anna's Hoeve, in Hilversum, the Netherlands , we explore the capacity of Dutch planning to integrate placemaking into the delivery of new housing.

link to Anna's Hoeve, Hilversum, The Netherlands case study

Bahnhof Heubruch, Wuppertal, Germany

The Bahnhof Heubruch development in Wuppertal, Germany explores how planning helps a German city develop a high-quality residential project with affordable housing in a less prosperous economic context.

link to Bahnhof Heubruch, Wuppertal, Germany case study

Applecross Community Land Use Plan

Significant local housing needs in Applecross have created a collaborative process engaging the community landowner, local authority, and public agencies to identify housing sites through a Community Land Use Plan.

link to Applecross Community Land Use Plan case study

East Lothian – An area-based study of a higher value and less affordable market

East Lothian Rural Voice was set up by rural stakeholders, including landowners and managers, to look for a partnership way forward with East Lothian Council for more investment in the countryside.

link to East Lothian – An area-based study of a higher value and less affordable market case study

Orkney & Islands – An area-based study of a diverse rural area

The challenges of housing delivery in Orkney are not necessarily unique compared to other rural areas but can be magnified by the island setting.

link to Orkney & Islands – An area-based study of a diverse rural area case study

Rothiemurchus – A cross subsidy model

The Rothiemurchus Estate has worked with four local families and the Highland Small Communities Housing Trust (HSCHT) to develop a no subsidy housing model on the brownfield site.

link to Rothiemurchus – A cross subsidy model case study

Village Farm Site, Tarland

The landowner, the MacRobert Trust, and the Tarland Community Housing project team have been working in partnership to unlock this stalled site.

link to Village Farm Site, Tarland case study

Housing publications

  • Housing & Development

Land Focus: Land for Housing and Development

This Land Focus paper explores the Commission's review of land for housing, which proposes five recommendations suggesting a new model where the public sector takes a leading role in the housing land market to create places people want to live at prices they can afford.

659.70 KB

  • Housing & Development

Land for Housing: Towards a Public Interest Led Approach to Development

The Commission's review of land for housing proposes five recommendations suggesting a new model where the public sector takes a leading role in the housing land market to create places people want to live at prices they can afford.

3.97 MB

  • Housing & Development

Housing Land Allocation, Assembly and Delivery: Lessons from Europe

2.17 MB

  • Housing & Development

CaCHE Report - Table 1

129.28 KB

  • Housing & Development

CaCHE Report - Delivering More Homes and Better Places: Lessons from policy and practice in Scotland

3.68 MB

  • Housing & Development

The Role of Land in Enabling New Housing Supply in Rural Scotland - Savills Toolkit

137.52 KB

  • Housing & Development

The Role of Land in Enabling New Housing Supply in Rural Scotland

8.95 MB

  • Good Practice
  • Housing & Development

The Value of Early Engagement in Planning Report Summary

425.45 KB

  • Good Practice
  • Housing & Development

The Value of Early Engagement in Planning

2.34 MB

  • Housing & Development

Residential development land prices and house prices

2.56 MB

  • Housing & Development

An Investigation into Land Banking in Scotland

1.65 MB

  • Housing & Development

Land Lines - The housing land market in Scotland: A discussion paper

The housing land market in Scotland: A discussion paper

744.75 KB

  • Housing & Development

Land Lines - Land Acquisition: Lessons for Scotland - A discussion paper

This, the sixth paper in the Land Lines series, Professor Tony Crook looks at examples of land acquisition in the Netherlands and Germany and the lessons that Scotland could learn.

274.34 KB

  • Housing & Development

Land Lines - The delivery of public interest led development in Scotland: A discussion paper

This, the second paper in the Land Lines series, Steven Tolson and Archie Rintoul look at the approaches adopted to achieve public interest led development in Scotland.

276.46 KB

  • Housing & Development

An assessment of historic attempts to capture land value uplift in the UK

Heriot Watt University was commissioned to review the UK’s historic experience of land value capture and identify what lessons current policy makers could take from this experience.

837.90 KB

  • Housing & Development

Land Focus: Land Value Capture

This briefing paper looks at land value capture, what it is and the Land Commission’s work.

134.57 KB

  • Housing & Development

Advice to Scottish Ministers on Options for Land Value Capture

217.28 KB

  • Housing & Development

Scottish Futures Trust - Enabling Infrastructure - Interim Report

844.49 KB