CONCERNS have been raised businesses are not investing in Worcester after it was revealed none of the land in the city available for employment use had been developed in the past year.
A report presented at a meeting of Worcester City Council’s planning committee showed, although there are 23 hectares of land in the city available for employment use, none of it was taken up between April 2013 and March this year.
The council’s economic development and planning policy manager David Blake described the figures as “a very disappointing outcome”.
“(This) does not help the city in reaching our aspirations,” he said.
He added he was concerned 50.11 hectares of employment land in the city had been lost to alternative development such as housing since 1996.
“This is something that has been taking place for perhaps the last 10 years,” he said.
“It’s not something that’s suddenly happened over the last 12 months – it’s a longterm issue for the city.”
Cllr Paul Denham described the figures as “a real concern”.
“Is it that Worcester is not as attractive for investment as other places up and down the M5 corridor?” he said.
“Are we not marketing it adequately?
“It seems rather futile to continue to market this land if it’s not going to be taken up.”
But after the meeting, Worcester MP Robin Walker said he was surprised by the revelation.
“Businesses I speak to often talk about the lack of available employment land,” he said.
“There is quite a lot going on in Worcester and the idea there is not enough employment land is quite worrying.
“It may be an illustration that the employment land needs to be made more attractive.
“It is something the council would be right to be concerned about, but there are some quite exciting opportunities such as the old Russell and Dorrell building, which is being opened as a new skills centre next month.”
Although a large warehouse and office development is currently under construction in Wainwright Road, this was not included in this year’s figures and instead will affect next year’s report.
Members at Thursday’s meeting agreed to look into ways to encourage investment in the city.
No one from the Hereford and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce was available for comment as the Worcester News went to press.