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Government told to consider employment land in planning reforms

Words: Laura Edgar
Warehouse / iStock

The British Property Federation (BPF) has urged the government to improve cross-boundary planning to deliver strategic employment sites as part of its planning reforms.

The call is part of the BPF's Employment Land Manifesto.

The membership organisation for the real estate industry notes that the government’s planning white, Planning for the Future, published in August 2020, “made no meaningful reference to the need to plan effectively for employment land”.

It explains that not considering the relationship between new homes and employment land when planning for housing delivery is “short-sighted”.

Instead, new homes should be built alongside creating new jobs and social infrastructure. The body adds that more investment is required in town centres to help them adapt to an increasing population and changing consumer behaviours.

The government must ensure enough warehouse space is built to sufficiently service new and growing communities.

Melanie Leech, chief executive at the BPF, said: “The recommendations in this manifesto are about ensuring the government’s planning system reforms work better to support communities, productivity and employment. The government must not waste untapped potential for our planning system to unlock considerable economic and social value, supporting its own agenda to level up the UK’s regions and build back better.

“Planning reforms with a linear focus on housing will not be enough to create new, thriving and sustainable communities – the role of employment land in supporting new housing delivery must be better understood.”

Proposals in the manifesto include:

  • Improve cross-boundary planning to deliver strategic employment sites – the BPF sees a role for mayoral combined authorities and/or Local Enterprise Partnerships in delivering strategic employment site allocations, which cross one or more boundaries between different local authorities, through new spatial planning powers.
  • Reinforce logistics in local plans – the requirement set out in the Planning Practice Guidance for logistics to be assessed and planned for separately, from more traditional industrial uses, needs to be enforced more robustly.
  • Establish industrial and logistics-friendly design codes – the National Model Design Code and Building Better Building Beautiful agenda are fundamental aspects of residential development but must not prejudice important industrial and logistics development that play a fundamental and growing role in meeting societal needs.

Read the manifesto on the BPF website (pdf).

Image credit | iStock