The BCC report says that five years after the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was designed to make the system less complex and more accessible, businesses are experiencing too many delays and barriers to investment. 

The report finds that the government’s focus on new homes is leading to increased pressure on the availability of employment land and premises. A BCC survey of over 900 businesses across the country revealed that one in five firms are struggling to find the land and premises they need. 

The report says the government’s pre-occupation with housing at the expense of other land uses is also leading to localised tensions. New homes are being build adjacent to long-established businesses in towns and cities and causing serious problems, both for new residents and businesses. 

The report urges the government to review the NPPF to ensure that the needs of business are on an equal footing with other stakeholders.

Key recommendations include:

• Employment land and uses should be given equal priority to housing, so that people can access jobs and businesses have the space they need to grow and compete. 

• Where shops and offices have been converted to homes, councils should ensure there is an alternative supply of quality commercial office space available elsewhere.

• Where there is high demand for new housing and jobs, there should be intelligent use of the green belt to ensure local communities benefit from the delivery of new homes and infrastructure.