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Pressure to build housing risks seriously damaging the supply of land for logistics, new research indicates.

Research by planning consultants Turley’s shows that local councils are under-estimating how much land is needed for commercial uses in their rush to allocate sites for housing.

A study of 326 local authorities in England called The Land that Time Forgot shows that commercial development supply is being frustrated because councils base their planning decisions on out-of-date data.

Turley found that half were relying on data from the recession or earlier. The M4 corridor is the area worst affected with councils using research ranging from 6 to 8 years out of date.

The danger of this, say Turley, is that local authorities are taking decisions regarding employment land with little real idea of current and future need. Given the pressure many authorities are under to provide sites for new housing, this could lead to a shortage of land for new commercial use, against the backdrop of strong economic recovery and rapidly changing business premises needs.

David Smith, Turley’s Head of Business Space said: “It is vital that planning for offices, logistics and other commercial uses is not overlooked in the dash to build more homes.”

Senior figures in the logistics and warehousing world have spoken out about the risk that  the supply of sites for warehousing is being dangerously squeezed by political pressure to build houses. Both the British Property Federation and the UK Warehousing Association have expressed concern.

Earlier this year Peter Ward, chief executive at the UKWA, told SHD: "It's all very well building houses, but the people in them have to be fed, and that requires logistics floorspace. As the industry voice we are making government aware of these issues and hoping for balanced development. There is no point in having residential development if the people who move into the houses can't be serviced, and our members effectively feed the nation."

Ward said the UKWA was lobbing ministers and local councils.


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