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NPPF: Balance Between Business and Housing Needs Vital To ‘Levelling Up’

Monday 13 March 2023

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) is calling on the Government to make amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), to make sure businesses do not lose employment opportunities at the expense of achieving housing needs.

LCCI responded to the ‘Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill reforms to national planning policy’ consultation from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

London businesses could be adversely affected if too much emphasis is placed on housing developments without adequate considerations for businesses, particularly in the logistics sector. It is vital that the NPPF ensures there is a balance between the needs of housing, the economy, and infrastructure. This is in line with the Government’s objective to regenerate communities, boost people’s skills and support local businesses.

Head of Policy and Public Impact at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, James Watkins, said:

“We need changes to the NPPF to ensure that planners consider the needs of businesses in designing local plans. New housing developments must not negatively impact the availability of employment land. This is why, we are calling for a balance between the needs of businesses and housing. It will also be crucial that individual local authorities work together to consider the spatial planning needs for all communities.

“A requirement to understand and proactively plan for economic development is nationally important. However, it can be particularly significant in areas such as the City of London, which needs to continue to excel as a globally competitive economic powerhouse, while also needing to diversify to accommodate more residential, mixed commercial, cultural and creative uses."

In the most recent update to the London Plan, LCCI worked with the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to ensure that provisions related to no net loss of industrial land were included. This is necessary to safeguard vital sites for businesses in London. However, these provisions were removed by the then Secretary of State.

LCCI along with the members of the City of London Chamber has also proposed changes to Section Six of the NPPF: ‘Building a strong competitive economy’. This is essential to ensure that local authorities work collaboratively with business and across relevant local and sub regional geographies, to identify the needs for new commercial floorspace and then make provision for such needs within local plans.

LCCI’s full response to the NPPF can be read here.