While building communities was a positive theme at TVPropFest last Thursday, a more negative subject became hard to ignore.

Land supply for industrial development is becoming such an acute problem that developer Andy Jansons referred to the consequent rise in industrial land values – and the fact they are now outstripping those of residential land – as ‘unbelievable’.

He has long argued that there should be a review of Green Belt land to serve the industrial shortage, yet governments have always feared doing anything meaningful.

But the issue won’t go away. People are ordering more and more online but, at the same time, opposing development on Green Belt that could serve that online demand.

It’s a debate that has come up at many conferences but there’s rarely a satisfactory solution.

Delegates at Thursday’s event heard there are few employment-led schemes coming through in the region, although it could be argued that working from home means any major residential scheme comes with a certain amount of employment space of sorts.

But warehouse jobs can’t be done at home and, while everyone wants deliveries to their door, no-one wants warehouses near them.

Sooner or later a politician will have to be brave. Royal Borough leader Cllr Andrew Johnson said he could see industrial security becoming an issue in the same way that energy security has.

To create renewable energy, wind turbines have sprung up in many scenic places. It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to allow warehouses to be built on certain Green Belt areas, some of which are far from scenic.

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