In a panicky response to the dreaded credit crunch, Glasgow City Council has decided to fast track sale of publicly owned land on an ‘off market’ basis.
Its Executive committee meeting of 23rd January 2009 was informed that the formerly all powerful private developer interests have been abandoning the deals they had already made, leaving the old neo-liberal demolish-and-privatise strategy in disarray.
Examples of collapsed development deals include:
- Residential development at Crookston (Miller Developments);
- Residential development at Robroyston (Taylor Wimpey);
- Proposed disposal of Nye Bevan 1 and 2 (Elphinstone Developments)
- Park Circus Place (Stewart Milne Homes)
Instead of accepting reality and moving to social housing and government run construction programs, the City Council intends to up the ante in desperation and give away land at fire sale prices to any private developer available. Neither bidding for land, nor market prices, will now be required.
Fortunately few private developers can afford to buy even at knock down prices, so heavily are they being squeezed by their banks, which are themselves virtually bankrupt.
But those developers and land speculators with access to cash of their own, could stand to make a killing in the long run when land prices and the economy eventually pick up again, and all at public expense.
Land sales still must be agreed by the Executive committee, so there remains some public scrutiny over the process.