This article was taken from Coast to Capital Newsletter
In an open letter to Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Small Businesses, Coast to Capital Chief Executive Ron Crank, has underlined the damage being done to the viability of some local businesses because of permitted developments, particularly in the Crawley and Shoreham area and has urged policy reform.
The Permitted Development (PD) rights are part of a government policy which enables change of use of certain buildings without usual planning permission, such as business premises into residential housing.
Coast to Capital Chief Executive Ron Crank said: “The loss of crucial employment space in Crawley is so rapid and at such a scale that business growth is being prevented. 500,000sq ft, of employment space the equivalent to nine football pitches will have disappeared by the end of 2015.
“That means hundreds of job opportunities lost. The loss of employment space is equivalent to nearly 2,000 office jobs or over 500 manufacturing jobs. There is also a growing threat to the town centre economy. Over 60 per cent of employment land is being lost in Crawley town centre preventing new jobs and business investment.”
In the letter Mr Crank also wrote about the threat to Manor Royal, one of the largest business districts in the South East. Around 30 companies have been evicted from their offices to make way for residential via PDR.
He stressed that policy reform is essential to head off the threat to Crawley, Manor Royal Business District and other areas in the Coast to Capital region.
Mr Crank added: “This is a major issue across the Coast to Capital region and, I would imagine across the South East. The Government needs to reconsider this policy particularly in the south of the UK.”