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Land-Grab Lib Dem Peer Caught in Conflict of Interest over Plans to Pave Britain’s Fields

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A Liberal Democrat peer and director of a developer which has been seeking, unsuccessfully, to build a new market town of 10,000 homes in rural Sussex, is now lobbying the government for developers to be given the right to buy agricultural land at 1.5 times the market rate and construct new market towns. (h/t Guido Fawkes)

Lord Taylor of Goss Moor has authored a pamphlet for the think tank Policy Exchange, in which he proposes that local development corporations should be granted the right to confiscate agricultural land and pay compensation at 150 percent the market rate in order to build new “garden villages” of up to 5,000 homes.

“Over one million new homes could be built over the next decade if each of the 353 councils in England built just one garden village of 3,000 new houses,” his synopsis reads, although in a catastrophic failure of maths he goes on to criticise the previous Labour government for allowing “a situation where between 1997 and 2007 – ‘the boom years’ – we built on average just 148,000 new homes a year”, or nearly 1.5 million homes in a decade.

What Lord Taylor does not mention in his pamphlet is his directorship of Mayfield Market Towns Ltd, which recently failed in its bid to build 10,000 houses within the picturesque constituency of Arundel and South Downs, in West Sussex. Nick Herbert, the Member of Parliament for that constituency has blogged on Lord Taylor’s lobbying attempt.

“Mayfield’s strategy has been to upset two local plans being prepared by Mid Sussex and Horsham District Councils, both of which have rejected the new town and allocated housing elsewhere,” he writes.

The Planning Inspector also rejected the proposals for the town, ruling that “The deliverability of the preferred 10,000 dwelling option, with employment development, within two local authority areas without their support, and in the face of strong opposition from two local MPs, parish councils and local people, including land owners, is also an issue of concern.”

Herbert concludes “So, unable to persuade two local authorities or the Planning Inspector to back his scheme, and unable to persuade all of the local landowners to agree to sell, Taylor falls back on trying to persuade the Government that compulsory purchase is the way forward. This is what he means by “empowering localism”.”

Speaking to Guido, Herbert added: “It stinks more than the manure he wants to concrete over for profit.”


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