Government moves to axe a key planning guideline aimed at supporting Britain’s tourism businesses have been criticised by sector experts Colliers International.

The Good Practice Guide on Planning for Tourism has provided crucial assistance to owners and operators of tourism businesses in seeking planning consent to grow their businesses and adapt to market demand since it was first published in 2006. But the Government is planning to scrap the guide from March this year.

Colliers International sector specialist Ben Jones is advising businesses who are currently or expecting to be involved in planning applications to voice their objections through the consultation process - which closes on February 15.

He said: “This is a potential threat to an important sector that contributed £101 billion in 2011, or 6.7 per cent of total GDP, with 2.3 million direct, indirect and induced sustained jobs. The potential impact will be acutely felt across the South West of England and Wales where tourism is a major contributor to the regional economy.
“As national advisors to the tourist sector we operate across the country and often witness first-hand inconsistencies in approach by individual local authorities when assessing planning applications for new developments and uses.  

“Rather than being scrapped, the guide should be updated so that planning officers understand the national context and are consistent in their application. Taking it away will only lead to greater uncertainty and cost for those who are looking to invest in tourism and their local economies. More worryingly it could result in a failure to capitalise on opportunities to develop and grow businesses and boost employment.”

The government consultation runs until 15 February 2013 and Colliers International will be making representations in support of the guide.

People wishing to comment on the proposals can do so at