Enterprise Zones

News, analysis and discussion of the new generation of enterprise zones. First introduced in the 1980s, enterprise zones are now being reintroduced with the aim of reducing perceived barriers to business, such as the planning system.

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Enterprise Zone News

Housing minister Stuart Andrew (Picture: Gov.uk)

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.

Sheffield city centre (Credit: Joe Daniel Price c/o Getty Images)

Live reaction: Levelling up white paper (updated)

The government yesterday published its long-awaited levelling up white paper, a 330-page document that aims to tackle the UK's regional inequalities. Below we summarise the key reaction to its planning-related measures from the built environment and local government sectors.

Artist's impression of the £2.5bn gigafactory at Coventry Airport (Credit: Coventry City Council)

Council backs massive 80-hectare battery plant on green belt

A council has approved plans for a huge new “gigafactory” at Coventry Airport - said to be the largest facility of its kind in the UK - after planning officers found that “an urgent and real need“ for the facility justified its harm to green belt land.

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.

Town centres: Report warns over impact of PD rights changes on regeneration efforts

PD and use class changes risk undermining regeneration efforts, ‘levelling up’ report warns

The government’s recent relaxation of use class order and permitted development (PD) rules for commercial properties should be “kept under review" and easier exemptions from the eased planning rules allowed for town centres if evidence emerges that they are "undermining regeneration efforts”, a report on boosting economic development in "left behind places" has recommended.

Enterprise Zones Comment

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.

Strategic planning has been key to Chinese economic development, by Cliff Hague

Governments in the UK have fretted for four decades about ways to deregulate planning so as to speed development and economic growth. If they had looked through the other end of the telescope, and asked how they could strengthen the planning system to deliver growth, the results would have been more impressive.

Local planners can help companies boost Brexit Britain, by David Marlow

With all local leadership teams desperate to attract and retain high growth companies in their area, the May publications of the London Stock Exchange Group's (LSEG) "1000 companies to inspire Britain", and the "EY UK Attractiveness Survey 2017" are well worth a read.

Planning for globalisation in the Brexit era, by David Marlow

How will globalisation affect local planners in the Trump and Brexit era? On the one hand, there have been suggestions that we will see lower economic growth and reduced demand for housing if government seeks to restrict immigration numbers.

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Enterprise Zones  In Depth

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.

Need to Know: Planning changes in pipeline to support freeport status

Why is the government proposing to set up freeports in the UK and what changes to planning rules are envisaged to help them function effectively? By Robbie Owen.

How local industrial strategies will impact on planning

Local industrial strategies can provide the basis for councils to go for ambitious levels of housing and employment growth, but development plans will need to allocate land to reflect their priorities, say commentators.