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Planning policy must address equal need for housing and logistics land

Wednesday 10 April 2024

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has responded to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) consultation on strengthening local planning policy for brownfield housing development, calling on the Government to ensure that land for logistics firms is also provided as part of plans to increase housing on brownfield land.

LCCI recognises the need for a greater provision of housing in London; without access to housing, London’s economy will falter as more individuals are forced to move out of the capital. Recent polling of London’s business community, through the annual London Business 1000 report, found that three in ten London business leaders (29%) identified housing as a priority for the next UK government, and close to three fifths (58%) of firms polled said that making the capital an affordable place to live should be one of the main priorities for the next Mayor of London.

It is therefore essential that the Mayor of London and local councils – with the support of central government, through updated local planning guidance – take every possible step to deliver a high number of homes.

However, the provision of affordable housing must not come at the expense of industrial and employment use land, which is so vital to powering the capitals prosperity. Many of LCCI’s member businesses continue to raise concerns about the lack of logistics land in London which has driven prices up and forced firms to move further out of London. If this is not addressed, it could lead to higher levels of pollution and congestion on London’s roads and the loss of vital job opportunities in the capital.

In its submission to DLUHC, LCCI made clear that it is supportive of changes to the national planning policy to allow local planning authorities a more flexible approach to building on brownfield land, but maintained that that firms also need access to brownfield land to invest, improve productivity, achieve Net Zero goals and grow.

Commenting on the consultation, James Watkins, Head of Policy and Public Impact at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), said: 

“In our submission to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) we have expressed our support for proposals to update the National Planning Policy Framework and give weight to the benefits of delivering as many homes as possible.

“Tackling London’s housing crisis is of huge importance to our members, who rely both on workers with more disposable income – caused by lower housing costs – and the ability for workers to live and work in London.

“However, changes to the National Planning Policy Framework must recognise the growing issue of dwindling availability of industrial land, which is having a detrimental effect on businesses. Without access to space across London, logistics firms pay more for transport, affecting prices for both consumers and businesses alike and undermining attempts to make transporting goods more environmentally friendly by increasing distances travelled by haulage firms.

“We hope the government will recognise the need to balance the provision of housing with the need for logistics land. One must not happen at the expense of the other.”

Read LCCI’s full response to the consultation.