With buy to let and traditional commercial property both under challenge thanks to government regulations and Coronavirus, the government is now asking landlords for their opinion on the potential for unused or underused public land.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has this week launched a consultation on what it calls the Right to Contest, which allows investors and others to request a disposal of unused or underused land.
This includes vacant homes, garages and some other buildings.
The current powers regarding such empty buildings and used or unused land have received little publicity but are in fact long-standing.
Since 1980, the public has been able to request that the government considers whether certain publicly owned land is unused or underused, and if so directs that it be sold.
In 2011, this power was incorporated into the portfolio of Community Rights as the Community Right to Reclaim Land, and extended to apply to land owned by the Greater London Authority, Transport for London, and the British Transport Police.
In 2014, the power was brought together with policy on the release of central government land as the Right to Contest - launched in a fanfare of publicity by the then coalition government led by David Cameron.
Now the government says it wants “to empower people to challenge the inefficient use of public sector land in their communities, and to bring it into better economic use, including to provide new homes. The government is consulting on the effectiveness of these requests as it considers reforms to make the process more efficient and more transparent.”
Once the consultation is over it will be relaunched as a new ‘Right to Regenerate’ and the government says it could provide a quicker and easier route for individuals, businesses and organisations to identify, purchase and redevelop underused or empty land in their area.
“In turn, a strengthened right would support greater regeneration of brownfield land, boost housing supply and empower people to turn blights and empty spaces in their areas into more beautiful developments.”
The consultation is short and sharp, closing on at 11.45opm March 20 - that’s Saturday evening. You can give your comments here.
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