VII. The market in land does not work in the public interest, with
large builders getting unearned rewards for hoarding land and
restricting supply with house prices forced upwards thus making
homes unaffordable for most first-time buyers, and the present
system of viability assessments for affordable housing being
too weighted in favour of the developer leading to inflated land
prices at the expense of infrastructure, affordable housing, and
VIII. One and a half million council homes have been sold under the
Right to Buy with only one replacement for every five sold.
Conference believes that:
a) Government housing policies have increased social, financial and
b) There are still too many long-term empty homes which are seen
as financial investments rather than places to live.
c) Local government can play a critical role in achieving the number
of homes required by directing the use of publicly owned land
before disposal for affordable and social housing and by being
able to borrow both to buy land for housing and to build it.
d) In the private rented sector there should be:
i) A system of mandatory licensing with a publicly available
database of rogue landlords.
ii) Promotion of longer private tenancies with inflation or wagelinked rents.
iii) A right to buy (or first refusal) for sitting tenants when a
iv) A cap on upfront tenant deposits.
v) A ban letting agents' fees.
e) Green space in towns and urban areas and green field between
towns are vital components of our quality of life and provide
essential protection for neighbourhoods against urban sprawl.
f) Poor quality or disused land (for example, former petrol stations
and warehouses) defined as green belt may be suitable for
development as part of local or neighbourhood planning.
Monday 17 September