Planning: Small Businesses

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 5th March 2007.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Chair, Education & Skills Committee, Chair, Education & Skills Committee

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

(1) what steps she is taking to encourage a sufficient supply of industrial land for use by small and medium-sized enterprises;

(2) what steps she is taking to ensure there is sufficient (a) land and (b) premises available for the use of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Minister of State (Department of Communities and Local Government) (Housing and Planning)

National planning policy set out in Planning policy guidance note 4: "Industrial and Commercial Development and Small Firms" asks planning authorities to ensure that there is a sufficient quantity and variety of land available to meet the differing needs of businesses. Planning authorities should also ensure that there is sufficient land available which is readily capable of development and well-served by infrastructure.

Regional planning bodies and local planning authorities, in preparing and reviewing their development plans, should make a realistic assessment of the quantity of land likely to be needed in their areas to meet the needs of business and developers. They should ensure that suitable locations are available for industrial and commercial development as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises.

To assist planning authorities in assessing the overall demand for and supply of employment land, we have published "Employment Land Reviews: Guidance Note" (December 2004). This guidance seeks to help planning authorities assess the suitability of sites to accommodate employment development, to help protect the best sites in the face of competition from higher value uses and to help them identify those sites which are no longer needed for employment development and which can be released for other uses, including for housing.

Kate Barker's "Review of Land Use Planning" (December 2006) looked at how planning might better deliver economic growth and prosperity, alongside important social and environmental objectives. The Government have welcomed the report, and are carefully considering the recommendations. We will set out our response to the report's recommendations in a White Paper this spring.

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