• Follow us on
  • rss

2018 Winners

We are delighted to announce that the 2018 Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize Grand Winner is Ben Clements, with his proposal for a Land Purchase Act, a market-based policy that centres on how swathes of public land can be made available for people to build homes according to their own choice and preference.

The essay argues that the shortage of affordable housing in the UK has been caused by strict and outdated planning laws. Government interventions to address the issues – such as Help to Buy – have, on the whole, exacerbated the problem.

The submission makes the case for releasing surplus or underused public land to help people onto the housing ladder. Such a move could deliver as many as two million new homes, the majority of which would be built in areas where there is high demand for housing.

Ben works as an analyst for an intelligence firm in London and is responsible for helping clients understand the business, political and security risks to their operations across the Asia-Pacific region. He graduated from the University of Manchester in 2016 after reading for a degree in Chinese and Japanese.

Ben was also a finalist of the IEA’s pioneering Brexit Prize competition in 2014 and the Richard Koch Breakthrough Prize in 2017.

To download the winning entry, Land Purchase Act,  please click here.


We are also pleased to announce the following winners of the Student and Highly Commended Prizes:

Student Prize Winner (and winner of one of the overall Highly Commended Awards) – Thomas Schaffner

His entry notes that there is little public appetite for reforming Green Belt legislation, thus comprehensive liberalisation of the land market is not politically viable at present. Schaffer proposes a system of “Transferable Development Rights”, which would effectively compensate those affected by development on Green Belt land and could be used by local authorities to incentivise the construction of affordable accommodation.

To download Thomas Schaffner’s entry, Planning to the People: How a system of “Transferable Development Rights” could replace the “Green Belt”, please click here.

School Student Prize Winner – A joint entry by Luke McWatters and William Watts

Their entry argued that inflated land prices, due to years of artificial restrictions on supply, are at the core of the UK’s housing woes. Their proposed Land and Liberty Act will remove the designation of Green Belt completely, freeing up land for development in areas of high value and high demand around major urban centres, while maintaining picturesque areas by extending Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

To download Luke McWatters and William Watt’s entry, Taking on Established Interests: A new approach to land to solve the housing shortage, please click here.

Highly Commended Prize Winner – Stephen Ashmead

His entry calls for a framework of permitted new builds as an extension to permitted development rights, which would allow self-builders to fast-track their planning applications. The presumption would be that people can build their own homes unless they are demonstrably inappropriate for their community. This framework would be incorporated into local plans, allowing homes to be built to vernacular styles and blend into the local environment.

To download Stephen Ashmead’s entry, Presumed Permission: A self-build framework for local development rights, please click here.

Highly Commended Prize Winner – A joint entry from Charles Shaw and Daniel Pycock

They argue that the UK’s land-use policies and fiscal incentives distort the housing market, while the planning system adversely affects housebuilding and homeownership. The pair propose a system of Simplified Planning Zones which would eliminate the need for land-use planning permission, and exclude Section 106 and other complications from planning permission for development.

To download Charles and Daniel’s entry, please click here.

Scroll to Top