Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud calls for ‘radical state-controlled distribution of land’

‘That sounds nuts and Stalinistic, but it’s exactly what happens in Germany,’ said the presenter

Louis Chilton
Monday 13 September 2021 10:16 BST
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Understanding the housing market

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Kevin McCloud, the host of the popular Channel 4 reality series Grand Designs, has spoken out about housing inequality in a new interview.

The presenter has fronted Grand Designs, which showcases unusual and challenging home improvement projects, since 1999.

In an interview with The Guardian, McCloud said he found it “iniquitous and hugely corrosive” that companies were allowed to accumulate large amounts of land and drip-feed it into the market, causing a rise in UK land values.

“What’s really needed is a complete radical state-controlled distribution of land and a removal of land profit from the equation,” said the presenter.

“That sounds nuts and Stalinistic, but it’s exactly what happens in Germany,” he added. “Since the war, our planning system unwittingly has worked in cahoots with capitalism to create an unsustainable development economy.”

McCloud added that for housebuilders, the only way of making a profit on a property while selling a house that “people can afford” is to “build really small ones”. “It’s awful,” he added.

The TV star also criticised the environmental sustainability of properties built by large corporate developers.

‘Grand Designs’ star Kevin McCloud
‘Grand Designs’ star Kevin McCloud (Getty Images)

“They build stuff that looks good in the brochure,” he said. “We’ve had a series of governments who have been hellbent on diluting policies and giving the market more freedom and not clamping down on performance standards.

“All that does is encourage a libertarian attitude in the market to do stuff which is competitive and looks the business and sells. But no, I don’t think we’re anywhere near achieving [net zero emissions].”

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