Prince's Foundation Launches New Report

The Prince’s Foundation launches 'Building A Legacy', the Landowner’s Guide to Popular Development – building houses and trust locally.

The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community (the Foundation) is delighted to announce publication of the Landowner’s Guide to Popular Development.

The prospectus makes the point that landowners ultimately have total control of how their land is developed and therefore have a choice right at the start of the development process.

The current competitive land-buying process would usually entail a developer or promoter offering the landowner an option or development agreement over the land in order to bring it forward for planning. Landowners, or most usually their agents, will then look for the best deal with little control over what is actually built. It's this approach which often leads to zoned soulless housing estates that demand more energy use, increase carbon emissions and foster sedentary lifestyles because they have been built around cars and not people.

Poundbury Square Copyright the Duchy of Cornwall

The Foundation's prospectus makes the case that in most areas of the country with reasonable resale values it is perfectly possible to make a decent profit and beautiful new homes, as part of mixed-use communities, if landowners are prepared to take a more enlightened view.

The prospectus sets out what constitutes popular development, based on previous research carried out by the Foundation, having worked with over 8,000 community members. It refers to walkable neighbourhoods with strong local identities with all the amenities that a society needs to function, such as schools, shops, public transport and green spaces. It goes on to show that if you can win over NIMBYs (Not-In-My-Back-Yard) who are opposed to poor quality housebuilding by demonstrating that you are going to build homes that are attractive and locally popular then that has greater advantage through the planning system and can also attract a greater premium in terms of sales values. For larger schemes, taking a longer term view on values and sharing in the profits, phase by phase, allows for the land values to build over time due to the fact that building a community, rather than just houses, is a far more valuable asset.

The prospectus offers practical advice on finding the right developer who has experience of different development models and valuation techniques and engaging a planning specialist and tax adviser. The prospectus in fact recognises assembling a network of like-minded developers, landowners and tax advisers who are currently engaged in good development in encouraging other landowners to follow their lead and learn from their successes and mistakes. It also shows how to build local community and local authority support for the development through engaging in a community planning process like Enquiry by Design workshops or holding design charrettes.

Building A Legacy Quote

Critically, the prospectus offers practical points for a landowner to consider when structuring a land deal with a developer including retaining title or covenant over the land while the development is taking place and to transfer the freehold only when it has been built out according to the design code.

Ben Bolgar, Senior Director, The Prince's Foundation for Building Community, said:

"There are a growing number of landowners in the UK starting to take this approach and therefore a growing body of evidence and network of advisers to help other landowners with their choices before selling out.

Getting it wrong will produce a negative impact on people's lives for generations to come. We hope to see the prospectus spawning a generation of BIMBYs (Beauty-In-My-Back-Yard), as opposed to NIMBYs, who will welcome new development which is of the right quality and locally popular. "As the momentum builds and communities realise they don’t have to settle for sub-standard development then we hope government will realise it’s not just a case of building more but one of building new places that communities actually want. Getting the built fabric right is a way to unlock the natural, social and financial capital of an area."

The Landowner’s Guide to Popular Development can be downloaded from our Reports page.

The bimby community planning toolkit can be found at: 



Notes to editors

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The Prince’s Foundation for Building Community

The Prince’s Foundation believes that sustainably planned, built and maintained communities improve the quality of life of everyone who is part of them. They help us to both live better at a local level and start dealing with the broader challenges of urbanisation and climate change. For over 20 years we have been supporting people to plan the future of their community, to learn the skills they need to build sustainably and to share the results as examples of best practice in urban design, architecture, planning and construction.