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Honey, You Forgot The Employment Land! What The Planning White Paper Ignores


Was it deliberate or an oversight?

The British Property Federation, stung by recent rebuffs in its efforts to end the UK government’s moratorium on commercial lease evictions, has chosen this moment to point out a glaring omission in the same government’s planning white paper: It barely mentions employment land or anything apart from housing.

The government’s white paper, Planning for the Future, made no meaningful reference to the need to plan effectively for employment land, the BPF said.

Planning for new housing delivery without considering the relationship between new homes and employment land is “short-sighted,” it insisted.

The 400-strong alliance of top developers has now published an Employment Land Manifesto in an effort to put this right.

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

The manifesto answers long-standing complaints from the logistics and distribution sector that potential industrial land was being used for residential development.

The BPF argues that planning law should introduce a presumption in favour of logistics development, improve co-operation between local authorities to prevent buck-passing, and re-enforce the wording in local plans to ensure logistics property is planned for separately from more traditional industrial land uses.

The BPF also want the process to speed up. “Demand for modern logistics property is outstripping supply, yet the Local Plan process is too slow to respond, needlessly slowing down high-growth sectors when their contribution to the economy and opportunities for new employment are vital to UK recovery,” it said in a statement.

Other proposals include a logistics-friendly design code and an employment land delivery test, requiring local councils to show they had allocated land sufficient for several years' supply.

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,” BPF Chief Executive Melanie Leech said.

“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.”