Half of all English councils are using out-of-date information to make planning decisions about employment land use, according to new research.
An investigation by planning consultants Turley found that half of local authorities are using employment land evidence that pre-dates the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published in 2012 - rising to 60% for those local authorities that have published a Local Plan.
This could mean local authorities are taking decisions regarding employment land with ‘little real idea’ of current and future needs, Turley warned.
David Smith, Turley’s head of business space, said: ‘Given the pace of change in the commercial sector we dispute the PPG advice that local authorities only need to undertake comprehensive reviews every five years.
‘Further, we suggest that employment land evidence that pre-dates the NPPF of 2012 is not "fit for purpose" and fails to respond to investor, developer and occupier requirements as they currently exist.'
He added: ‘Many local authorities are effectively competing with “one hand tied behind their back” by using outdated information of very limited use.’
The research showed that the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP has the oldest average age of published local authority employment evidence, with its data predating the recession.