Policy ECD2 Retention of Economic Development Land
A development proposal that would result in the loss of land zoned for economic development to other uses will not be permitted, unless the land has been substantially developed for alternative uses.
Unless otherwise specified through Key Site Requirements in the adopted Local Policies Plan, an exception will be permitted for the development of a sui generis employment use where the applicant has demonstrated that all the following criteria are met:
the proposal is compatible with the predominant economic development use;
it is of a scale, nature and form appropriate to the location; and
the proposal will not lead to a significant diminution of the economic development land resource in the town or the Borough generally.
Retailing or commercial leisure development will not be permitted except where justified as acceptable ancillary development.
Unzoned land in Settlements
A development proposal that would result in the loss of land currently or last used for economic development to other uses will only be permitted where the applicant can demonstrate that one or more of the following criteria are met:
the proposal is a specific mixed-use regeneration initiative which will bring substantial community, environmental or economic benefits that outweigh the loss of land for economic development use; or
the proposal is for a compatible sui generis use of a scale, nature and form appropriate to the location; or
the site is unsuitable for modern economic development purposes and there is no market interest in the site following one year of continuous active marketing.
Justification and Amplification
It is important that economic development land which is in sustainable locations and suited to such purposes is safeguarded from being lost to other forms of development. Therefore, only exceptionally will the Council consider the loss of such land and buildings to other uses.
This policy seeks to protect such land in our main towns so that there is an ample supply of suitable land available to meet economic development needs in the Borough over the Plan period and beyond. The retention of economic development land in our main towns not only makes a substantial contribution to the renewal and revitalisation of those towns, but can also provide employment opportunities accessible to large sections of the urban population and the rural hinterland.
The existence of redundant business premises and derelict industrial land can be an important resource for the creation of new job opportunities particularly small businesses. This also can help reduce the demand for greenfield sites. The Council will therefore seek to promote the re-use of such land and buildings for economic development uses.
Unless otherwise specified through Key Site Requirements for specific zonings in the adopted Local Policies Plan, planning permission will not be granted for proposals that would result in the loss of land zoned for economic development use to other uses. An exception may be made for a proposal for a sui generis employment use compatible with the existing or proposed economic development use e.g. a builders’ supplies merchant or a waste management facility, provided a sufficient supply of land for economic development use remains in that locality and across the Borough generally.
In addition, the retention of unzoned sites or premises within settlements currently or last used for economic development purposes will help to support the diversity of the local economy. Therefore, planning permission will not normally be granted for the change of use, or the redevelopment for other uses, except in the circumstances outlined in the policy above. The onus will be on the applicant to submit sufficient information with the application to demonstrate that the proposal meets one or more of the three specified criteria.