Economic Development

News and in-depth coverage of economic development for town planners, including employment land and simplified planning areas.

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Economic Development News

Poor public transport is a barrier to productivity, according to the report (Credit: Education Images c/o Getty Images)

Parliamentary report calls for policy change to back rural economic growth

Planning policy changes to promote economic growth in rural areas and extra funding for local authority planning departments are needed to improve a planning system that is “failing those living and working in the countryside”, according to a parliamentary report.

Wigan Council (Pic: Rept0n1x CC BY-SA 3.0)

Plans for 58,000 sqm industrial scheme on part-green belt site refused against officer advice

A council has refused plans for a 58,000 square metre industrial scheme on a greenfield site that is partly on green belt against the advice of officers, after members argued that the development would cause unacceptable harm to the road network.

Housing minister Stuart Andrew (Picture:

Government rejects central London boroughs' bid to block permitted development rights

The housing minister has blocked an attempt by several London boroughs to restrict permitted development rights in central London.

Podcast graphic

Room 106, Ep10: Chilterns decision-making frozen, areas where housebuilding is limited by water pollution double, plus other key news

In this fortnight's podcast the Planning team investigates why decision-making on housing applications has been frozen in a large part of the Chilterns, the implications of 42 more councils being subject to water pollution prevention measures, and the acquisition of one of the UK’s largest planning consultancies by a North American firm

Latest economic development comment

Why we still await the first Development Consent Order for a business project, by Angus Walker

The development consent order regime was extended almost a decade ago to range of non-infrastructure projects, but despite the possibilities it offers for getting big commercial developments off the ground, none have yet come to fruition

Freeports provide a fresh opportunity for planners to make a difference, by Graeme Bell

With eight new freeports set to come forward in England, the potential to boost regional economies – and level up more deprived parts of the country – is there. Planners must be on hand to ensure the effects are reaped by the many.

What football programmes tell us about the history of planning, by Cliff Hague

The notices in my collection of post-war football programmes, from Sheffield Wednesday's promises of secure jobs to Accrington Stanley's farm-bottled milk, reveals a story of development, deindustrialisation and regeneration – and the planning system holding it all together.

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Economic Development In Depth

(From left): David Lock, Jane Hamilton, John Walker and Lee Shostak

How we drove Milton Keynes' sixfold population growth in 50 years

As part of our celebration of Planning's 50th anniversary, we examine how planners led the growth of Milton Keynes from 40,000 people in the late 1960s to more than 260,000' today.

A visualisation of the proposed Parkside Colliery scheme (Image: Parkside Regeneration)

The circumstances 'special' enough to make green belt employment schemes acceptable

Recent ministerial decisions on major employment schemes in the Merseyside green belt indicate that strong economic benefits in deprived areas can contribute to the "very special circumstances" required to make such projects acceptable, experts suggest, but only where the environmental impact is limited.

CGI of the Gateway 14 scheme (Pic: Avison Young)

23-hectare 'freeport' business park approved on greenfield site in Suffolk

A Suffolk council has given the go-ahead for a 23-hectare business and logistics park on a greenfield site that would form part of a prospective freeport, after officers advised that the scheme's “significant” economic benefits outweighed the heritage impacts on nearby listed buildings.

The implications of relaxed planning rules in prospective freeports

Newly selected freeport areas could be used by local authorities and Whitehall to test “unique” planning freedoms, suggest commentators, but they highlight several key challenges for councils in making effective use of the proposed relaxation of planning rules.

Economic Development Comment

The perils of prioritising tourism, by Cliff Hague

Venice, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Edinburgh. These are places identified by the website CNN Travel as hotspots for "overtourism". Last year the Oxford English Dictionary made overtourism one of its words of the year. So what does it mean for planning, placemaking and urban conservation?

How to tackle deindustrialisation, by Cliff Hague

Three years after the 2016 Brexit referendum revealed to government that there were "places left behind", there has been no fundamental debate, let alone vision, about what future can be forged for Britain's medium-sized deindustrialised towns.

City growth will always magnify inequality without civic action, by Cliff Hague

Over the last 20 years, two fundamental facts have emerged about cities.

EU and UK need a radical reinvention of regional policy and planning, by Cliff Hague

Brexit has dominated the UK news agenda, but scant attention has been paid to its impact on the EU, and the EU's capacity to address the kind of regional disparities that decided the 2016 referendum.