§ Mr. Sydney Chapman
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he has now considered the representations made by housebuilders and others on the proposals for a land hoarding charge and for contributions towards infrastructure costs ; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Rippon
In the changed state of the land market, and as a result of the measures for increased taxation on gains from land disposals announced on 17th December by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer there is now 375W little or no advantage in speculative hoarding of land with planning permission for housing, and there is at present no evidence that such land is currently being hoarded on any significant scale. Accordingly, following earlier consultation with the local authority associations and other bodies affected, the Government have decided not to proceed with the scheme for the charge. If hoarding comes to be identified in a particular area, the local authority can readily use its powers to acquire compulsorily land which is ripe for housing but is being unreasonably withheld from development. The Government stand prepared to support the use of compulsory purchase to prevent the hoarding of such land.
Under Section 52 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1972 and, after 1st April next, Section 111 of the Local Government Act 1972, agreements can be made between local authorities and developers about contributions towards the cost of infrastructure services. In order to strengthen the effectiveness of these arrangements and encourage their wider use by local authorities the Housing and Planning Bill contains provisions which enable the covenants involved in these agreements to be made binding on successors in title. Meanwhile the Government have decided, following consultations with the local authority associations and other bodies affected, not to proceed in present circumstances with a scheme which would require compulsory contributions to the cost of these services.