IGP Stories

'Land for Good': Southwark Land Commission report outlines plan to unlock more social value from land

Rayhaan Lorgat

28 September 2023

On Tuesday 12th September, I attended the launch of the Southwark Land Commission‘s landmark report, ‘Land for Good’ in Peckham, London.

The report is the culmination of six months of collaboration between landowners, a group of experts and community members, who worked collectively on how to maximise the best use of land, a finite resource that is essential to everything that we do.

The report represents the first step towards unlocking more value and potential of land for the public good. It seeks to put people before profit and empower communities to influence and make decisions around the use of land around them.

At the IGP, we believe that social value drives economic value and thereby focusing land use towards social purpose is a step in the right direction. We advocate and champion collaborative approaches to co-creating and sharing knowledge with people, who should have a say in the use of land in the places where they live and in general, any policies that will impact their daily lives.

We were pleased to be able to provide our expertise and convey our views through the guidance of our Director Professor Henrietta L. Moore who was invited to be a member of the Commission, shaping the response particularly on alternative finance models, biodiversity corridors, food and agriculture, affordable housing, community power and drawing on IGP’s work on improving quality of life and creating shared prosperity for both people and planet.

Throughout a series of meetings and conversations the group discussed ideas, suggestions, reviewed existing evidence and participated in community workshops to understand the perspectives from local people living in and around Southwark. I had the pleasure of joining some of these community workshops and it was great to hear valuable contributions from community members and hear directly from them what their priorities were and what actions they wanted to see, such as greater transparency in the planning process and being able to access information on who owns land which links with recommendation two below.

The report is inspired by the recommendations on ‘Making the most out of England’s Land’ by the House of Lords Land Use in England Committee to consider a multifunctional approach to the land, and achieve multiple benefits for nature, biodiversity, food production, housing needs and the push for net-zero.

Seven key recommendations are ultimately being proposed by the Commission to maximise the use of the land for the benefit of the people and the environment, and these include:

  1. Put social purpose at the heart of land use
  2. Map what’s there and what isn’t
  3. Take control of our land and assets
  4. Defend and extend affordable accommodation for all
  5. Cherish our natural capital and decarbonise our land
  6. Give the community real power and voice
  7. Disrupt the status quo to unlock bigger changes

We look forward to support Southwark Council in the coming months to ensure that the recommendations are implemented, and I am excited to see how these come into fruition in the next few years and hopeful that the Commission serves as a blueprint for other land commissions in London or across the UK and will impact future land use policies including at the national or regional level.

Rayhaan Lorgat is a Research Assistant at the IGP’s PROCOL UK.

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