Sunday, Jul 10, 2011

Allowing conversions of commercial property to residential use without need of planning permission

Daily Telegraph: Government has managed to mess up its own great property conversion plan

"If the proposal to be able to convert without planning permission goes through, we should see the number of conversions rise, putting upward pressure on commercial property prices and downward pressure on residential prices. Meanwhile, the money spent in doing the conversions would boost activity in the construction sector.
There is a snag, though. The Government's proposal does not apply to retail property...."

Posted by tom101 @ 10:06 PM (1851 views)
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1. general congreve said...

Converted 19th Century wool mill down by the canal? Don't mind if I do. Converted 1970's office block on bleak industrial estate, f4ck you.

Actually we should convert tonnes of those sh1tty office blocks. Need social housing, then that's what you get. Running water, electricity, basic cooking and washing facilities, job done.

Sunday, July 10, 2011 11:45PM Report Comment

2. drewster said...

It's generally a bad idea though. Purpose-built office blocks don't make good homes - the built-in air vents, the high ceilings, the awkward internal layout, the lack of doors. Besides, the demand for (and price of) new-build flats in places like Manchester or Leeds has crashed.

Worst of all though, offices are generally built in central locations which are easily accessible by public transport. This means for most people, getting to work requires just one bus or train. If you move all the offices to business "parks" in the suburbs and move all the shops to malls on the ring road, then it takes a minimum of two buses for most people - one into town and one out the other side again. The result is more people need to drive, congestion gets worse, commutes get longer, and as a nation we become more oil-dependent.

Of course LVT would sort this out in no time. The land value in city centres is high, precisely because of all that public transport. Few people would choose to live in the central business district if they had to pay for the land value.

Monday, July 11, 2011 12:28AM Report Comment

3. general congreve said...

@2 - You are Mark Wadsworth, I claim my five pounds! ;)

Monday, July 11, 2011 01:29AM Report Comment

4. drewster said...

I'm not - though we do sometimes think scarily alike! Mark has persuaded me of the benefits of LVT, and you (and others) have persuaded me of the benefits of gold :)
I must admit, a while back I did think you were a bit of a gold nut, but I've gradually come round to your way of thinking.

Monday, July 11, 2011 02:21AM Report Comment

5. uncle tom said...


You're suffering from a bad case wadsworthitis - LVT theory hinges on a set of childish notions that don't bear close scrutiny, and there are very good reasons why it will never happen - so get better and come back to the real world..

Monday, July 11, 2011 07:08AM Report Comment

6. monty032 said...

Uncle Tom, care to expand on what Mark Wadsworth's "childish notions" are? We don't usually have one-line ad hominem put-downs on HPC and I would like it to stay that way.

Monday, July 11, 2011 10:12AM Report Comment

7. uncle tom said...


It's trite little phrases like: "Of course LVT would sort this out in no time" (see above..) that are so childish.

Anyone who thinks you can re-order the UK tax collection system overnight is living in la-la land..

Monday, July 11, 2011 10:46AM Report Comment

8. mark wadsworth said...

Good for Bootle - he mentions "Indeed, even without the current huge tax privileges to owner-occupiers..." so it's only a matter of time before he wakes up to the merits of LVT.

Monty 0.32, ta for back-up.

UT: "Anyone who thinks you can re-order the UK tax collection system overnight is living in la-la land"

I never said "overnight", did I? We can make a small start by replacing Council Tax, SDLT, IHT & TV licence and then busk it from there. I'd replace or reduce VAT next, and just to keep the rich folk happy, get rid of additional rate and higher income rate as well.

Plus it appears you didn't read and understand the article - the main reason why residential land values have grown so much faster than commercial land values is because the former are subsidised and the latter are subject to Business Rates, which is pretty close to Land Value Tax. So that's yet another example of Land Value Tax working in practice. It always works, it does what it says on the tin, and wherever it has been implemented, at however modest a level, the results have been surprisingly positive.

I also refer you to Domestic Rates in Northern Ireland as an example of "Things which work".

Monday, July 11, 2011 11:10AM Report Comment

9. drewster said...


Indeed, nobody mentioned "overnight". I agree it's hard to persuade people of the merits of LVT, and I don't hold out much hope for it in the next ten years. However even just being aware of it gives me a new perspective on how these things work.

As Mark says, it works for businesses.

Monday, July 11, 2011 11:15AM Report Comment

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