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Business task group tackles ‘serious threat’





Larry Coltman, chairman of the South Warwickshire branch of the Chamber of Commerce, Adrian Williams, managing director of Pashley Cycles, and Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi. (Submitted photo)
Larry Coltman, chairman of the South Warwickshire branch of the Chamber of Commerce, Adrian Williams, managing director of Pashley Cycles, and Stratford-on-Avon MP Nadhim Zahawi. (Submitted photo)

A TASK group of local businesspeople has been set up to look at what they see as a lack of employment land across the county.

The group has been established by the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce. And the issue was top of the agenda at the South Warwickshire branch’s last meeting at Pashley Cycles in Stratford, which was attended by MP Nadhim Zahawi.

In this part of the county, Stratford District Council has allocated 86 acres for employment land in its recently-adopted core strategy, in which the council predicts a net growth of 12,100 up until 2031.

Warwick District Council is still some way off adopting its own planning strategy, but the draft document does propose to earmark 163 acres of land — almost double Stratford’s allocation despite predicting a small increase in jobs, of 10,200.

Larry Coltman, chairman of the chamber’s south Warwickshire branch, pointed to the recent relocation to Banbury of the DCS Group, which was a result of a lack of available freehold land, and the need to keep JLR in Gaydon.

He said: “We have formed a working party to look at the issue, which is the single biggest impediment to growth in our area.

“We have assembled a team of experts who are investigating the problem across our area and looking to work to help resolve what we believe is a serious threat to on-going investment.

“Local plans across our authorities are at different stages of gestation, and while there has been a massive focus on housing numbers, employment land has been gobbled up at an increasing rate.

“As a region, we have everything going for us, but if there is not the potential for our local companies to grow and sites available for inward investors then we will stagnate and we simply cannot afford to let that happen.

“There are a great many factors in our favour at the moment, many of which may not reoccur, and we need to be in a position to make the most of them.”

The shortage of skilled labour in some areas and a lack of power capacity to new sites were also discussed, as was a delaying in getting planning applications considered.

Mr Coltman said he hoped to use the branch’s close links with Mr Zahawi to help ensure that the issue of land supply was at the top of the local authorities’ agendas.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce has a new president. CLICK HERE for the full story.



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