Newcastle Land Value research bid

23 Nov 2010

An academic at Northumbria University is keen to progress with a research project for one of his built environment postgraduates which could be highly significant in preparation for an eventual implementation of LVT in the UK.

John Shipley (now Baron Shipley!) - former Leader of Newcastle City Council and still a councillor there - made the offer at ALTER's Conference Fringe meeting in Liverpool in September, of having Newcastle as a 'pilot' for LVT. ALTER Chair Dr Tony Vickers subsequently met Lord Shipley at Westminster to discuss how to progress the idea with the Council.

Meanwhile Dr Seraphim Alvanides, recently appointed to Northumbria University and an expert in computer mapping of socio-economic phenomena, offered to devise and manage a research project in conjunction with Newcastle City Council. Dr Alvanides has worked with Dr Vickers on the latter's PhD research, which explored the policy and technical barriers to Value Mapping in the UK.

A PhD student from Greece wishes to take the project on. However he is without funding and the University has so far not been able to approve go-ahead. £10,000 is needed to match fund a small grant from the EU that enables the student to study in England.

Dr Vickers has written to Vince Cable's Department of Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) to ask them to sponsor the research. BIS published a White Paper last month, in which the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) of infrastructure projects was announced, subject to legislation and research. The Northumbria research would help devise a methodology for calculating land value (and tax yield) uplift associated with any project - past or future. In that respect, even if the Coalition Government does not adopt LVT as policy, it is hoped BIS will secure access to the best available property value data, held by HMLR's Valuation Office Agency. In the past, researchers have been prevented from using VOA data, because it can only be used for 'tax purposes'.

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