Business leaders want employment land to be prioritised like housing
Business leaders in Coventry and Warwickshire are calling on Government to give economic development the same priority as housing.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce’s Property and Land Group met Jane Gratton of the British Chambers of Commerce to discuss the Government’s updated National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The group, which is made up of professionals working within the property sector, heard that the new document still puts greater emphasis on homes than it does on the development of land for future jobs and key services.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said it was a short-sighted approach.
She said: “We were delighted to be joined by Jane Gratton from the British Chambers of Commerce both to update us on the changes in policy but also to hear from the group on the issues the region is facing.
“Because of a failure to build enough new homes over many, many years, the country is playing catch-up but the need for housing means that the requirement for land for jobs is being made less of a priority.
“The Chamber has been calling for more land for economic development to be earmarked in the local plans across the city and the county to ensure that we can satisfy the needs of businesses already in the region who want to grow and to attract those inward investors we all want to see in Coventry and Warwickshire.
“The question of where will the next generation of new jobs be situated is one we have to ask and keep asking. There needs to be a good supply of land for development in order to ensure that businesses are able to grow and employ more people – it needs to be a national priority, like housing.
“And we have to think more broadly. Land is not only required for bigger businesses who want massive new properties that are well located close to major roads, there are other types of businesses that need land who need to be catered for.
“Businesses, such as coach companies, that keep people moving need space and those kinds of essential services are, again, not always considered when development plans are drawn up.
“Further to that, we are calling for a new affordable commercial property system in the same way that you have affordable housing, which would ensure that small and medium sized enterprises would be able to grow into new premises to meet their needs.
“Jane took on board all that the group put forward and will be feeding that into decision makers such as the Planning Minister and Chief Planner.”