That Law Of Unintended Consequences Strikes Yet Again…

The Localism Bill, currently going through Parliament, suggests making any fields, paddocks or buildings regularly used by the public “community assets”.

This means that the community has a right to try and buy the land or property if it ever changes hands.

Note that – a right to try. But it’s enough to put the wind up potential buyers, of course.

But why to we need such a law?

The idea is to stop important places for sport or recreation being bought by private individuals who will not allow use to continue.

And, of course, it’s going to have the opposite effect; instead of engendering philanthropy in landowners, it’s going to encourage exactly the sort of attitude you’d expect if I were to announce that anyone you’d ever invited to your house for a party would have the right to move in, or tell you what colour wallpaper you should have when you redecorate:

However William Worsley, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), said the legislation is doing “exactly the opposite” of what is was intended for.

He said landowners will be discouraged from making land or private buildings available to the public as once is becomes a “community asset” any sale or transfer to family will be slowed down and even halted.

Regardless of how you feel about land ownership issues, can anyone blame them? And can anyone really not say they hadn’t seen this coming?

The Department for Communities and Local Government said the law is being put in place to stop landowners or councils selling land to owners who then refuse public use to continue.

A spokesman pointed out that the community will not have a ‘“right to buy” but only a right to bid for the property or land and this can be refused. This ‘window of opportunity’ is expected to be a few months to allow the community to raise funds.

A ‘few months’, in a volatile property market, can still make all the difference. And so, once again, the attempt to meddle has blown up in thnjeir faces.

T’was ever thus. When will they get the message?

9 comments for “That Law Of Unintended Consequences Strikes Yet Again…

  1. June 21, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I don’t get the actual idea, surely everybody has a right to buy everything at any time, he merely has to offer a high enough price? For sure, the current owner has the right not to sell, but I’d have thought that implicit.

    This is the sort of shite that Labour used to dream up, i.e. right of football fans to buy their own club.

    • June 22, 2011 at 5:42 am

      Indeed. And we thought the coalition would be different..?

  2. June 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Politicians will never accept the truth, that almost everything they do has the opposite effect than what they intended.

  3. Lord T
    June 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    I think the intent is to give time to allow the public to realise what is going on and try and raise the funds so they can buy it. As you said a delay in the sale and thus public use will be refused.

    What a bunch of plonkers labou…. Oh wait a minute. I thought the tories were on the side of the rich. My mistake.

    • June 22, 2011 at 5:42 am


  4. Andrew
    June 22, 2011 at 4:09 am

    It’d be interesting to found out how often these “unintended consequences” are genuinely “unintended”.

    Because an awful lot of them seem very “intended” to me.

    • June 22, 2011 at 5:44 am

      It’s always a possibility. Surely any ‘blue sky thinking’ would have highlighted possible drawbacks, and a cunning manipulator and scholar of human behaviour could do some forward-planning quite easily…

      • Lord T
        June 22, 2011 at 9:32 am

        Ah there you go. The use of the work scholar excludes almost all the politicians.

  5. June 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    The proposal is analagous to the Reviewing Committee on exporting works of art. Existing users would be given a period of time to raise money to match the agreed purchase price. This is fair because fund-raising takes time.

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