Green MSP: '˜Sell land to people who want to live there, not builders'

The 'rapacious' behaviour of the speculative house builders should be curbed to help tackle Scotland's growing housing crisis, an MSP has said.
Wightman - inspired by Berlin. Picture: TSPLWightman - inspired by Berlin. Picture: TSPL
Wightman - inspired by Berlin. Picture: TSPL

Scottish Green MSP Andy Wightman says more people could afford to buy or rent a home of their own if the Government tackled planning legislation allowing land to be sold to individuals, public housing bodies, or groups of people banding together, at current use rather than market value.

He said this would eliminate a major factor in escalating house prices – the cost of land, especially when its financial value has rocketed after planning consent has been obtained.

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Recent figures from the ONS House Price Index showed that by 2027 first-time buyers in Edinburgh will need a deposit of £58,000, while those in Glasgow will have to pay £32,000.

“The speculative house building industry is based on inflated land prices, what they think people want. But this doesn’t meet the needs of many groups of people including the young, the old and the disabled,” said Wightman. “We need to have reasonably priced land available for mixed developments near where people live and have their communities and where the future occupiers are in control of the process of building it rather than speculative builders.”

He cited examples of self-procurement, also known as self-organised housing, in Berlin where one in ten of all new homes are organised by groups who obtain cheaper land and then hire an architect and a builder.

More than 100 such projects have been completed in Berlin, the majority in the last five years, creating thousands of new homes. Costs are kept low because there are no developer overheads.