The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) appointed Ryden to investigate how current and future demand for commercial property development is assessed in Scotland, and to make recommendations for improvements. The report Assessing Demand for Commercial Development provides a better understanding of Scotland’s future economic and market needs.
Key findings include:
- At national and regional levels, planning for employment land use is typically based upon policy and strategy, rather than analysis of economic demand.
- At a local level, less than half of Scotland’s planning authorities have published employment demand assessments. Local Development Plans (LDPs) using economic analysis to understand future market needs are in the minority.
- Local planning authorities would welcome access to more economic, employment and development demand forecast data, as well as published guidance on undertaking demand assessments.
The research shows that, while the role of employment land and property in sustainable economic growth is fully reflected in policy and strategy, it is much less embedded in the process of land use planning, particularly in comparison with other major land uses such as housing, retailing and education.
The risk is that general employment locations - such as industrial estates, business parks and town centres - may not properly anticipate and respond to potential future demand. There is an opportunity to develop a standardised approach through the ongoing digitisation of the planning system and related guidance.
Download the full report here.