3. Employment

Aim:

To create a diverse and competitive local economy which encourages the growth of existing businesses and attracts new investment. To increase quality employment opportunities for local people and provide a sustainable community where people can live and work.

POLICY 22 - PROTECTED EMPLO YMENT AREAS

22.1 Within the Protected Employment Areas (mixed use) planning permission will be granted for B2 development. Permission will be granted for B1 development provided this does not result in an excess of 25% of total floorspace in the Protected Area at any one time. Planning permission will be granted for B8 use provided this does not result in an excess of 10% of total floorspace in the Protected Area at any one time.

22.2 Within the Protected Employment Area (B1 only) planning permission will be granted for B1 development only.

22.3 Proposals for development other than for business or general industry (B1, B2 or B8) will be resisted. However, all developments will be considered suitable if they meet the requirements of all other Policies and where:

  1. The premises31 can be shown to be obsolete for industrial, business AND storage use,

AND

  1. Evidence demonstrates that the premises have remained vacant for over four years (continuous);

OR

  1. There would be a significant benefit to the local economy.

OR

  1. The proposal is for the sale of goods manufactured or related to the manufacture of goods on the site and would be ancillary to any B1/B2/B8 activity (Policy 25).

22.4 Any developer permitted to use the site/premises for a use other than for business or general industry (with the exception of point 4 above) must provide a relevant contribution to the Brownfield Site Development Fund.

31 In the context of Policy 22 the word ‘premises’ includes the buildings and land within the curtilage of the existing industrial site that is protected by the policy.

22.5 This policy is concerned with re-using traditional employment premises in an attempt to reduce the amount of greenfield land required for employment. The policy is structured around B1, B2 and B8 Use Classes as summarised and defined in Appendix 4. A study by the University of Cambridge (2002) concluded that there are a limited number of sites available for new employment development. Much of the land that is available is close to residential areas, thus opportunities for industrial use are limited. Problems with access and noise mean employment land does not sit comfortably in close proximity to residential areas. It is therefore important to retain existing industrial or business premises in good locations. In addition pressure to build residential development on previously developed land can result in the loss of prime employment sites. It is important to protect prime industrial and business areas from re-development for other uses.

22.6 The above study states that demand in the Borough is primarily for industrial and warehousing premises. Provision of office space can be partly met in Town Centres, local shopping centres, the B1 Protected Area and by allowing 25% on industrial parks. B8 uses are land intensive but not labour intensive and should only be permitted on 10% of a Protected Area (mixed use). The Employment Occupancy Register32 identifies the current uses on some of the Protected Areas and will be used, together with information on recent planning permissions, to apply this policy. Additional B1 and/or B8 will be permitted where premises have remained vacant for over 4 years and have been adequately marketed over that 4 year period for B2 uses. The applicant will be expected to provide evidence.

32 Borough of Pendle (20034) Occupancy Register for Protected Employment Areas (available from Regeneration Unit).

22.7 The redevelopment of protected employment sites will be resisted unless the site or premises are no longer viable for employment use. Any proposed redevelopment scheme must include a supporting statement which shows the premises are obsolete33 for modern employment. If a building is considered obsolete, it must be obsolete for B1, B2 and B8 uses before it is considered suitable for re-development or change of use. The supporting statement must also highlight the length of time the premises or site has remained vacant. Information on vacancy rates can be obtained from the Council’s Treasury Services section. During the time the premises have remained vacant they must have been adequately marketed for an employment use (B1, B2 or B8). Alternatively any proposed use must provide some benefit to the local economy. This will be permitted in exceptional cases where it can be shown that a greater economic gain benefiting the local area can be achieved through change of use or re-development to some non employment use.

33 Premises will be considered obsolete where the fabric or design of the building (including size and layout) will not suit modern industrial, storage or business use OR it can be shown that the access serving the premises/site is inadequate to support modern vehicles and/or processes (B1, B2 and B8) OR it is demonstrated that the financial viability of re-use precludes continued employment use, for example due to remediation work required to de-contaminate a site.

POLICY 23 - LOCATION OF NEW EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT

23.1 Proposals for new industrial development (B2, B8, B1 (b) or (c)) should be located in order of priority on:

  1. Protected Employment Areas (Subject to Policy 22).
  2. Vacant employment land or premises outside of Protected Employment Areas.

23.2 Proposals for new business (B1 (a)) use should be located in order of priority on:

  1. Town Centres or Local Shopping Centres (Subject to Policy 26) or at transport hubs or public transport accessibility corridors within the urban area.
  2. Protected Employment Areas (Subject to Policy 22).
  3. Vacant employment land or premises outside of Protected Employment Areas.

23.3 The Council’s Community Strategy (2003) seeks to ‘Promote the Borough as a place to live, work and relax, to increase inward investment, leading to more employment opportunities’. It also seeks to ‘ensure adequate sites and premises are available to allow the economy to grow’. This is reinforced in the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy (2002) which seeks ‘development of new industrial/commercial floorspace’ to help foster other initiatives, such as the Business Support Programme which aims to support the relocation and expansion of existing companies whilst encouraging the development of new community businesses and micro-enterprises.

Supply at 31 March 2005Requirement
Figure 3a – Industrial and Business Land Requirement in Pendle 2001-201634
Employment requirement of the Structure Plan 2001-2016
40.00 Ha
Industrial take up 2001-2005 (completions) (source PBC Employment Land Study 2005)
-10.92 Ha
Under construction at 31 March 2005 (source PBC Employment Land Study 2005)
-1.66 Ha
Land available at March 2005
 
Outline, full or reserved matters permission, with no discounting (source PBC Employment Land Study 2005, as corrected)
-19.03 Ha
Vacant sites in Protected Employment Areas
-11.26 Ha
1999 adopted Local Plan allocations (still vacant)
-4.00 Ha
Sites >0.5 Ha outside of Protected Employment Areas where previous employment consents have lapsed but still remains vacant
-0.82 Ha
Requirement (Surplus)
+7.69 HA

23.4 The Regional Spatial Strategy for the North West requires Development Plans to provide sites for employment which meet the needs of the traditional manufacturing industry as well as new and emerging activities. The Joint Lancashire Structure Plan requirement of 40 hectares (Figure 3a) includes an additional 25% of employment land in Pendle to encourage inward investment and expansion of existing firms as part of the Regeneration Priority Area status assigned to parts of the North West.

23.5 Figure 3a indicates the total supply of employment land as at 31 March 2005 having regard to employment land supply as defined in paragraph 6.3.36 of the Joint Lancashire Structure Plan. It includes land with planning permission for Class B use, land or vacant premises available for employment purposes within Protected Employment Areas, land or vacant buildings previously in employment use which have not been allocated for alternative land use, and which remain available for employment development. It excludes windfall sites, i.e. those not identified for employment purposes or those which the Council are not currently aware of as being available for development.

23.6 This policy states that requirements for new employment land are to be met within the existing stock of land and premises.

23.7 In an attempt to reduce the amount of greenfield land lost for employment this policy seeks a sequential approach to new industrial or business development. For B1 (a) uses, town centre, local shopping centre sites, transport hubs or public transport accessibility corridors within the urban area should be considered first. For all other employment uses land and buildings within Protected Employment Areas should be used in the first instance. The applicant must show that there are no vacancies within the Protected Area of their chosen town. Vacant employment land and premises outside of Protected Areas should then be considered. This is land or buildings currently registered as vacant and being marketed though the Council’s Property Register. Vacant land and buildings not currently marketed in the Property Register will not be assessed. However, the change of use of one employment use to another on non-protected employment land/premises or on those not contained in the register will be acceptable in principle. The applicant must show that no land or premises in the register are suitable35. Only land or premises within the applicants choice of town need be considered.

35 In this instance suitable can be taken to mean land or premises of an appropriate size and with appropriate accessibility for the proposed function.

POLICY 24 - EMPLOYMENT IN RURAL AREAS

24.1 Within rural areas, a wide range of economic activity36 will be supported provided that proposals for development meet the following criteria:-

  1. The development is small scale for B1, B2, B8 or recreational uses.

    AND

    1. A. would re-use an appropriately located and suitably constructed existing building in the countryside which was;
      1. in scale and design in keeping with its surroundings,

    OR,

    1. is a replacement building in the open countryside (excluding the Green Belt), which is suitably located and of permanent design and construction which would bring about an environmental improvement in terms of the impact of the current development on its surroundings and landscape and which was;
      1. on the footprint of the existing building,
      2. not proposing any large scale extensions37,

    OR,

    1. C. is within the settlement boundary of an existing village. 

24.2 In addition, the proposal must be suitably and safely accessed and parking must be provided in line with the car and cycle parking standards in a location and for a use which does not adversely affect residential amenity. In addition Policies 28, 32 and 40 apply. 

  1. Proposals for new build (with the exception of the Green Belt) and the conversion or re-use of existing buildings for farm diversification projects for B1, B2, B8, recreational, or other relevant uses will be supported so long as the following criteria are met:-
    1. either the form, bulk and general design of the building is in keeping with its surroundings, or where a building currently detracts from the rural character and appearance of the locality, its appearance can be satisfactorily improved,
    2. the proposal does not have a materially greater impact than the present use on the openness and function of the Green Belt, or the character of the AONB, or that of the surrounding countryside having regard to the scale, size, intensity and type of use proposed,
    3. the development must be suitably and safely accessed and parking must be provided in line with the car and cycling parking standards,
    4. and in the case of touring caravans or tent sites, the proposal is within easy access, by walking, cycling or public transport, of an existing settlement which can provide necessary facilities without detriment to the local economy.

24.3 New build in the Open Countryside, (excluding the Green Belt) and AONB areas may be permitted provided that sustainable development objectives are met, and they are of a design and scale appropriate to their rural surroundings.

24.4 Any noise or light pollution from a development must be kept to a minimum.

24.5 The loss of employment (B1, B2 or B8) uses from villages or rural areas will be resisted in the LRRAP priority area (see proposals map). Any proposal to re-develop sites/buildings for an alternative use must show that no employment use can be accommodated on the site. Tourist facilities will be permitted in line with Policy 40.

36 Economic activity refers to Use Classes A1, A2, A3, A4, A5, B1, B2, B8, D1, D2 and some Sui Generis. Additional Criteria apply to certain of these Use Classes within Policies 28 and 40.
37 Any proposed extension in the Open Countryside should not increase the size of the original building (as at 1st July 1948 or as originally constructed if it was after this date) by more than 25%. Proposed extensions in the AONB or Green Belt must also comply with the criteria set out in Policies 2 and 3 respectively.

24.6 The Countryside Agency (2001) state that the health of the rural economy is essential to the well-being of rural people and rural areas. This Policy seeks to support employment in the villages and rural areas of Pendle in an attempt to make them sustainable places in which to live and work. PPS7 sets a number of objectives for rural sustainability, including ‘to raise the quality of life and the environment in rural areas through the promotion of … thriving, inclusive and sustainable rural communities … sustainable economic growth and diversification … good quality, sustainable development … and continued protection of the open countryside’. Whilst supporting new economic activity there is recognition that in Pendle new development for employment should be small in scale and respect the size and character of the village or be accommodated within an existing building in the countryside (with the exception of the Green Belt) without the need for large scale extension. Alternatively new employment uses can be catered for by building on the site of a previous building. New build should utilise the footprint of the existing building where possible without the need for large scale extension. New build will be permitted in the AONB provided that sustainable development objectives are met and they are of a design and scale appropriate to their rural surroundings. In particular PPS7 ‘encourages suitably located and designed development necessary to facilitate the economic and social well-being of these designated areas and their communities’.

24.7 Any development should be appropriately served for parking (as per the adopted parking standards) and should ideally be accessible by a number of means of transport modes, although it is hoped that employment in rural areas, in particular villages, will serve local people who can travel to work on foot. The design of the development is particularly important and any development should be in line with the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on Development in the Open Countryside38. Noise pollution is a particular problem with employment uses and means to limit such noise will be sought, particularly where the proposed development is in close proximity to residential properties or tourist spots. In addition, any proposal for employment in rural areas that will include outdoor lighting should be accompanied by a statement detailing the levels of potential pollution and any remedial action. For the purposes of this policy, a village is defined as any settlement with a defined boundary outside of Nelson, Colne, Barnoldswick, Earby, Brierfield and Barrowford.

38 Borough of Pendle (2002) Development in the Open Countryside. BoP 

24.8 The LRRAP39 area is a designated area to improve economic progress and opportunities. In line with this Policy new employment opportunities will be considered favourably in both the villages and rural areas. The loss of employment sites or premises is considered detrimental to the objectives of the LRRAP and will be resisted in the LRRAP Priority Area (see Proposals Map). Any proposal for a change of use from an employment use (B1, B2 or B8) to a non-employment use (with the exception of tourism) in the villages or rural areas of the LRRAP Priority Area must be accompanied by a statement which shows that the site or premises are unsuitable for modern employment and that the premises have been adequately marketed for employment use.

39 Lancashire Rural Recovery Action Plan 

24.9 New employment for offices or industry goes only part way to assisting the rural economy. Indeed agriculture is still a major source of income in the rural areas, but recent trends suggest a move towards fewer, larger farms and a diversification in the sources of income (Countryside Agency, 2001). This trend has been exacerbated in the aftermath of foot and mouth. PPS7 recognises that farmers increasingly look to diversify beyond the agricultural industry in order to supplement their income.

24.10 For the purpose of this Policy farm diversification is defined as the diversification of an ongoing farm enterprise. Farm diversification includes; farm shops, equestrian activity, nature conservation, sports facilities, woodland planting, craft facilities, holiday accommodation or tourist centres. All these uses are appropriate forms of diversification in Pendle, subject to the criteria above and Policy applicable to Green Belt areas (Policy 3), and Environmental Protection (Policies 2, 4A, 4B, 4C and 4D). Farm diversification to woodland, sports facilities or equestrian development will be subject to Policies14, 34 and 39 respectively.

24.11 Farm diversification for tourist accommodation should utilise existing farm buildings wherever possible. New build will only be permitted where the required facilities are justified in conjunction with a particular countryside attraction and no suitable alternative exists. However, appropriate facilities for small scale touring caravans or tents will normally be permitted subject to Policy 1 and acceptable infrastructure. All forms of diversification should be in keeping with the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on Development in the Open Countryside and the Forest of Bowland AONB40.

Figure 4 – Employment Sustainability Balance

 

40 Borough of Pendle (2003) Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. BoP

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