Editor: It is not unprecedented for planning reforms to be part
of the government’s economic stimulus package, but these have tended to focus
on housing. Meanwhile, logistics, which last year contributed £124bn (gross
value added) to the economy, and directly supported almost one million jobs,
often gets sidelined.
has highlighted the sector’s importance as the country relied on online retail
while most shops were closed. But logistics is also integral to manufacturing
and construction and, unlike housing, it creates substantial employment
There is a prime opportunity to get the sector the support it
needs as part of our national infrastructure. The sector needs
well-located land and quicker planning to support businesses and feed the
economy. Planning can take three to five years – a timeframe that does not fit
with maximising economic recovery and capitalising on a strong sector now.
The British Property Federation, backed by Tritax Symmetry and
other industry leaders, has been campaigning to make developing logistics space
easier and we all await with interest the Planning Policy Paper later this
In the meantime, a ministerial statement outlining the
importance of logistics and need for councils to adequately plan for it
would provide a clear message to inform planning decisions and show the
government’s commitment to supporting the sector to play its full part in the
We need granular, zonal planning that supports wider planning
reforms and uses a criteria-based policy giving a ‘presumption in favour’
of logistics development where key criteria are met.
Finally, we need a holistic approach to infrastructure planning,
looking at a broad range of factors including funding and longer-term benefits
to communities, rather than simply mitigating site-specific impacts.
Jonathan Dawes, planning director, Tritax Symmetry