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The Annual Strategic Land Debate: Are Garden Cities the Answer to the Housing Crisis?

On 4 November 2014 Hogan Lovells, in partnership with International Building Press, hosted its popular Annual Strategic Land Debate. Peter Bill of the London Evening Standard chaired an animated discussion on topics focusing on the chronic housing shortage in Britain.

On the panel were: Bill Hughes, Managing Director at Legal & General Property; Emma Cariaga, Head of Residential Development at British Land; Nick Taylor, UK Head of Planning at Carter Jonas LLP; and Waheed Nazir, Director of Regeneration at Birmingham City Council.

One of the main issues raised during the debate was whether garden cities are the answer to the housing shortage. The panel displayed the full spectrum of views on the merits of garden cities as a method of addressing the housing crisis. Nick Taylor advocated a return to regional planning, while Bill Hughes suggested that investors may be reluctant to focus their funds on a comparatively high-risk, ‘new settlement’, garden city project with little existing infrastructure.  Investors may well prefer urban extensions – the ‘safer’ option. Emma Cariaga took a stand for garden cities but made the point that garden cities alone will not solve the housing crisis. Our panellists all agreed on one point – for the first time the lack of housing in Britain is high on the political agenda and has at last become a cross-party issue.

The debate was followed by a lively networking evening and Hogan Lovells looks forward to the fifth Annual Strategic Land Debate in 2015.