There is a decent interview with Baroness Ford, the formidable chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company, in this week’s Regeneration & Renewal.
A couple of very interesting elements. In particular, Ford is looking at adopting a form of the Milton Keynes roof tax that she and others at English Partnerships introduced midway through the last decade.
I remember interviewing MK Partnership COO Jane Hamilton about the tariff five years ago when the BPF was backing it as a sensible, developer-backed alternative to development land tax, planning gain supplement, section 106 et al.
Essentially the tariff funded infrastructure by stipulating that developers contributed a universally agreed figure – £18,500 per home and £105,300 per acre of employment space.
The developers I remember speaking to, such as Gazeley, didn’t particularly love it but grudgingly welcomed it as a straightforward guideline that helped them to get their finances in order before committing to a project. And you rarely get more of a thumbs up for land taxes from developers than that.
The OPLC has long promised to use the Olympic Park as a test-base for innovative methods of encouraging development and perhaps this is an area where they will live up to this. However, R&R plays down the idea that we are likely to see Community Land Trusts, an option Ford has definitely been flirting with.
“We’ll put [the freehold] into whichever ownership structure makes most sense,” she says of the housing at the Park, “and I’m kind of agnostic about whether that’s in the ownership of the city or whether that is gifted in perpetuity in some way to a group.”
The feature has a lot more to say about other key elements.