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Houses, Houses Everywhere and Not A Business In Sight

A community of commuters and dormitory development is the forecast for the near future if the Government does not make more allowances for business sites, warned the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) today.

The CLA is increasingly concerned that housing development plans by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) are persistently ignoring the need for land where businesses can be built - particularly in rural areas.

CLA President Mark Hudson explained, "There is a housing crisis in this country and it needs to be tackled but development plans that include only houses with a few retail parks and leisure centres thrown in do not meet the Government's own definition of sustainable development. When housing development in rural areas is limited to brown-field sites, and the higher value that entails, how can any entrepreneur afford to set up business in the countryside and provide much-needed jobs there?

"The ODPM housing policy (PPG3) doesn't relate to the central aim of the planning system: integrated land use with a mix of housing, employment, services and access to them. More worryingly, the recently-announced £200m worth of grants earmarked for housing and community projects across the South East, again ignores the need for local employment sites to provide jobs for all these people.

"Such a blinkered approach is likely to lead to business being banished to the periphery of conurbations and pricing locally-needed businesses out of towns and rural areas. With such a lack of local business sites, people will be forced to commute long distances to where industry is permitted to locate.

"We would like to see the Government acknowledge this problem in future housing planning guidance and to ensure that housing policy is not developed in isolation from policies for locating business and jobs."

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