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Sadiq Khan is ‘squeezing out business’ by focusing on affordable homes, business leaders say

Business leaders have attacked Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s focus on affordable homes, arguing that a lack of industrial land will squeeze out manufacturers and send international companies elsewhere.
Mark Jenkinson, City director at Siemens, told a planning committee at the London Assembly that London faced problems in attracting companies if land previously earmarked for factories was given over for new homes.
“We’re at risk of missing the boat if we don’t sort out the issues,” he said, adding that the city “needs to act quickly” if it is to continue to function as a business hub, as more industrial sites are being turned into housing.
The comments came days after Mr Khan unveiled a ?250m pot for buying and preparing land for affordable homes. Businesses are urging City Hall to allocate land to factories and workshops. Andrew Dakers, chief executive of business group West London Business, said: “Attracting talent is incredibly important, and many companies don’t want to relocate to sites further out – they might have a local customer base or have local suppliers.”
Research from property advisory firm Colliers International earlier this year found that London had just eight months’ worth of industrial property left if the current rate of take-up ­continues.
Sadiq Khan is ‘squeezing out business’ by focusing on affordable homes, business leaders say

Sadiq Khan has been attacked for focusing on affordable housing
Neil Impiazzi, from developer Segro, said he thought planners should stop seeing industrial buildings as “second tier real estate” and instead see it as ­vital for the city’s economy.
“We need to ask how do we keep the city thriving, and what’s the role that industrial occupiers play in helping that happen,” he said.
Later this month, planning rules will be changed to allow industrial buildings to be turned into homes more easily, which Mr Impiazzi warned could compound the problem. Jules Pipe, London’s deputy mayor for planning and regeneration, said planning policy needed to be looked at in order to stem the flow of industrial land being built on, to maintain a pipeline for future years.
“We are on the cusp of a real problem as we get down to low single-figure ­vacancy rates, and that has come about by the release of industrial land over the last few years that has outstripped the amount specified in the current London Plan,” he said.
He suggested that the amount of ­industrial land allowed to be released each year should be lowered from its current rate of 37 hectares (91 acres) to just nine hectares.
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