It is not always possible for development to take place on greenfield sites owing to restrictions such as greenbelt designations and often developers prefer to be in established residential areas. Developers often therefore look to develop on brownfield sites which have been previously utilised for employment purposes, whether that be for industrial, retail or offices uses. Given their established use these sites are usually restricted to employment type uses.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that “In order to provide a range of employment sites, particularly for inward investment and limit the need for development on greenfield land, it is vital that existing employment sites, premises and allocation that are viable for continued employment use are safeguarded.” In these instances council policy often dictates a set of tests that must be undertaken to demonstrate that the release of the land from employment use should be permitted.
The National Planning Policy Framework in these instances requires that council policies “should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose”. Council’s will often therefore require a report to justify the release of this land from employment use.