Policy ECD1 Economic Development in Settlements
A development proposal for a Class B1 Business use will be permitted within a town centre and in other locations specified for such in the LDP.
Elsewhere within towns, such proposals will only be permitted where the applicant has demonstrated that all the following criteria are met:
there is no suitable site within the town centre, or at the edge of a town centre, or in other locations specified for such use in the LDP;
it is a firm rather than a speculative proposal; and
the proposal would make a substantial contribution to the economy of the town.
A development proposal for an Industrial use will be permitted on land zoned for such purposes in the LDP, or in an existing industrial area, provided it is of a scale, nature and form appropriate to the location. Elsewhere within towns, such proposals will be determined on their individual merits.
Villages and Small Settlements
A development proposal for either business or industry use in lower tier settlements in the settlement hierarchy will be permitted where all the following criteria are met:
the proposal is commensurate with the LDP Spatial Growth Strategy;
the nature, scale and form/design of the proposal is appropriate to the character of the settlement; and
the proposal is compatible with adjacent and nearby land uses.
All new proposals and those seeking to extend an existing economic development use or premises within settlements will also be required to meet the General Policy and accord with other provisions of the LDP.
Justification and Amplification
The LDP seeks to focus employment and services within the main towns of the Borough, as these are highlighted by the RDS and SPPS as the most sustainable locations. The objective is to capitalise on development opportunities provided by the concentration of people and goods combined with available infrastructure and the clustering of a range of business services, including the professional, technical and financial services essential to economic development.
Business uses should be located primarily within town centres, as these are hubs enabling good accessibility by various modes of transport. Business uses can also benefit the town centre through increased footfall and consumer spending, and utilising vacant properties within the town centre. Where there is no town centre boundary defined within a town, new business will be directed to within the built up footprint. For business use proposals outside the town centre, Council will require evidence to be submitted with the application showing how the proposal meets all the criteria. In relation to the requirement for a firm proposal, evidence should include tenancy arrangements. Consideration may be given to permitting part-speculative developments if the majority of the proposal is seen to be a firm proposal as this may encourage other business tenants into the area.
It is recognised that some businesses such as IT and communications are closely related to high technology knowledge-driven light industrial uses, and that there are benefits in grouping such uses in industrial areas or business parks. According, the policy provides for this option.
In towns, industry should be located on land zoned for such purposes. The reuse of land and buildings within existing or former industrial areas for appropriate economic development uses will be favourably considered, subject to meeting the General Policy. The LDP will ensure an ample supply of land is available within main towns for economic development purposes. A range and choice of suitable sites in terms of size and location will be available to promote flexibility and provide for the future demands of industrial, business, storage and distribution enterprises. The LDP may, through key site requirements, restrict or promote specific economic development uses on zoned sites or broader areas of economic development within towns where there are good planning reasons for doing so. Retailing or commercial leisure development will not be permitted on land zoned for economic development uses.
Land will not be zoned for economic development purposes in our small towns, villages or small settlements, both in the interests of flexibility and due to our small towns all being located in close proximity to main towns where we aim to focus economic development growth. In these lower tier settlements, favourable consideration will be given to small scale proposals that will not compromise the LDP Spatial Growth Strategy and provided the proposal is of a scale, nature and design appropriate to the character of the settlement.