Leading figures in construction have responded to the Queen’s Speech, given yesterday.
Property consultancy, Daniel Watney LLP has responded to the government’s intention to privatise the Land Registry, as part of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, revealed in the Queen’s Speech.
Richard Close, head of lease advisory at Daniel Watney, said the sell off threatens the Registry’s impartiality and introducing a profit motive would limit the organisation’s wider strategy. There’s also concerns over the market monopoly that privatisation would lead to, says Close.
Richard Close, head of lease advisory at Daniel Watney LLP, said:
“The Land Registry is a respected institution largely because of its impartiality – a sell off may put this under threat. It will only be through public ownership that the Land Registry can continue to take a strategic view on things which might not at first seem commercially appealing, like integrating blockchain technology and distributed ledgers to boost trust. Private owners are less likely to adopt a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ policy when shareholders have to be appeased.”
Meanwhile, over at RICS, Jeremy Blackburn, Head of UK Policy, had this to say:
“Nobody is in any doubt that we are in the grip of a housing crisis, and it will take some radical reforms to ensure that we are delivering the housing and infrastructure that this country needs. To that end, there is much merit in the proposed Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill.
“We have long argued that local communities and councils should be able to play a greater role in delivering housing supply. At the zenith of England’s national housebuilding efforts under Harold McMillan in 1968, 40 per cent of all homes were developed by councils. We would like to see Government use this bill to seize on Britain’s historic sense of community, and put practical plans in place to encourage neighbourhood groups to come together on self-build projects and tackle the growing housing shortage.
“The Government’s commitment to deliver new homes and infrastructure has been hindered by blocks in the planning system. We know that local authority planning departments are often under-resourced, which results in delays to building projects. This would be fixed through the regional introduction of teams of trouble-shooting planners known as the ‘Planning Flying Squad’, who would be parachuted in to support struggling authorities and speed up planning processes.
“A momentous change is the Government’s proposed plans for the compulsory purchase of homes and land. The current system is slow and cumbersome and does much to delay the delivery of much needed new homes and infrastructure. A new framework that defines compensation across all schemes, would be a seismic shift.
“Together, these changes will address delays in planning, give power to local communities and will accelerate the construction of new homes and infrastructure once planning permission has been granted. This will go some way to addressing the long standing housing crisis and building the infrastructure that our country needs.”