Part 1 - Initial Draft (February 2015)

Ended on the 26th March 2015
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7. WORKING AND LEARNING COMMUNITIES

(1) Economic Growth and Employment Land Provision

7.1 The Local Plan must set out the quantity and the type of employment land that would meet the needs of the District. This should be identified through analysis of housing, population and economic growth, in line with the Spatial Strategy.

7.2 North East Derbyshire is part of the Sheffield City Region which has strong links with the north of the District, and the D2N2 economic area covering Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, which has a close economic relationship with the south of the District. The Strategic Growth Plans of the LEPs (submitted to Government in 2014) provide the strategic context for the Council’s own Growth Strategy, and for the Local Plan.

7.3 The District’s Growth Strategy & Action Plan sets out to unlock the capacity of major employment sites, maintaining an appropriate supply of suitably located employment land and premises and working with partners to develop, manage and enhance key strategic employment areas. The Local Plan will therefore provide for economic development that meets the objectives of the Growth Plan by identifying sufficient land for anticipated growth, in attractive, sustainable locations, and protect sites in order to improve the attractiveness of the Council’s portfolio of employment land.

7.4 Work commissioned by the Council has informed the level and location of employment land provision9. The 2013 Employment Land Update highlighted as influences the need to revitalise much of the current poor quality stock; the imbalance of the portfolio, with further sites needed in areas of stronger demand (such as in closer proximity to the M1 junction); continued demand for B2 floorspace (particularly from indigenous companies) and emerging digital and creative business service sectors; and the distribution of housing. It also factored in the continued economic uncertainty and the practicalities of the physical constraints of the District which would preclude a step-change in delivery.

7.5 The conclusions in the 2013 Employment Land Update were that the District has a reasonable supply of available employment land, but that potential losses may require the provision of employment land elsewhere in the District to cater for retained and future job growth. It recommended that the Council should adopt a proactive approach to managing and improving the existing portfolio of employment sites to facilitate future growth.

7.6 The spatial aspects of employment land provision remain as they were for the previous Local Plan. The south eastern areas of the District are seen as the major location for new investment; where there is the greatest need for new employment, there are fewer Green Belt/environmental constraints and there are good opportunities to capitalise on access to the road and rail network, including the M1 Motorway. The Clay Cross/Holmewood Corridor is the main location for industrial and commercial development land.

7.7 There is a need to safeguard and improve both existing employment sites and the employment land supply within the District. The Local Plan will allocate land for employment use within the District based on the recommendations of the Employment Sites Report of 2014. This report includes assessments of the sites in the District in terms of their suitability and attractiveness to the current market. It presented a three-fold assessment of what the employment land portfolio can provide and assist with:

  • A number of brownfield sites providing major opportunities for employment investment focused on mixed use regeneration schemes and strategic employment sites.
  • Diversifying the business base to reduce risk should the legacy manufacturing sectors experience a sudden decline.
  • Meeting the needs of indigenous businesses, providing for demand in some locations predominantly generated by local businesses.

7.8 While most of the sites identified in the plan are principally for B1, B2 and B8 uses, some are expected to also provide for the wider definition of employment opportunities introduced into planning legislation. Employment opportunities are not strictly confined to B1, B2 and B8 uses, but are increasingly provided by other commercial and public sectors such as retail, leisure and the health service. Town centre employment will be encouraged, to support the objective of improving and enhancing their economic, community, and social role, and town centre uses will still be restricted to those locations.

7.9 In rural areas a proportion of employment need is satisfied by neighbouring employment centres. However, as in most rural areas, there is a need to consider diversification of the economy in the face of the decline of agriculture.

7.10 The 2013 Employment Land Update recommended that employment land provision for North East Derbyshire should be between 35 & 75ha, with a figure of 45 hectares (gross) for the 20 year plan period being indicated by the moist appropriate forecasts10. New employment development for manufacturing and distribution on sites already committed in the current Local Plan would provide for around 54ha. The 2014 ELU figure allows for significant losses of existing employment land but provides for a net gain in employment land in line with economic forecasts. It also would allow for the removal of some unsuitable allocations in the current Local Plan. However, any losses must be subject to careful consideration of the contribution the sites make to the aims of the Plan, the District’s Growth Strategy and the market benefits indicated in the 2014 Report. Consequently specific new sites or de-allocations will be identified in Part 2 of the Plan, taking into account existing and allocated employment land and employment land supply at that time.

Provision & protection of employment land to accommodate growth

7.11 The employment land target for North East Derbyshire, by allowing for significant potential losses of employment land over the 20 year plan period, provides scope to improve the quality of employment sites in the District. The Plan nevertheless recognises that many sites provide an important contribution to the local and strategic portfolio of sites and should be retained.

7.12 Provision of land for employment use within the District will aim to achieve a balanced local employment land portfolio, reflecting the recommendations of the Employment Sites Report of 2014. The report indicates how best to provide for employment land, based on an understanding of the national and sub-regional employment land market and job/floorspace/land relationships. The report assesses the quality, suitability and viability of individual sites, and identifies those sites which are less likely to be favoured by the market or are now unsuitable for employment development, within the overall context of the District’s employment land requirements.

(1) Employment Land allocations, protection and de-allocations:

7.13 Policy LP16 seeks to secure and retain the sites identified for employment use. These areas, which are either existing employment sites, or current Local Plan allocations, have been identified as the most appropriate employment locations by the 2014 Employment Sites Report (ESR) and will be safeguarded from potential redevelopment or change of use to a non-employment use. Some sites are identified as being particularly important for the retention of the District’s employment base or local employment opportunities.

7.14 Whilst identifying a number of employment sites which were considered to be important to protect for employment use (listed in Policy LP16), the 2014 ESR also identified that there are existing employment sites that are currently in use (either in full or in part) that are considered less viable or attractive. This is due to factors such as low demand giving high vacancy rates, and in some instances, large areas of the site that have already been lost to alternative uses such as housing. In line with guidance in the NPPF, their redevelopment for other uses will be considered, in line with the Plan’s Objectives, Spatial Strategy and the conclusions of the 22014 ESR and where the proposed scheme is in accordance with the relevant policies of the Plan.

(6) POLICY LP16: Protected Employment Sites

The following sites are identified for the purposes of protecting their existing or proposed employment uses:

Existing sites and Proposed Employment Allocations, by Sub-Area
Settlement / Sub Area Site Name
North
Dronfield Callywhite Lane Industrial Estate
Dronfield Gunstones Bakery, Stubley Lane *
Dronfield Stubley Lane/Wreakes Lane Industrial Area
Dronfield Sheffield Road*
Eckington Rotherside Road
Eckington Littlemoor Business Park *
Killamarsh Norwood Industrial Estate
Killamarsh Norwood Industrial Estate extension site*
Killamarsh Rotherham Close, Killamarsh
Killamarsh Westthorpe Fields, off Green Lane
Renishaw Renishaw Ind Est
South
Clay Cross Coney Green, Clay Cross
Clay Cross Bridge Street Industrial Estate
Clay Cross Pilsley Road, Danesmoor
Clay Cross Derby Rd, Upper Mantle Close
Clay Cross Former Biwaters site & land off Derby Road
Tupton / North Wingfield Station Road (Hepthorne Lane)
Stonebroom Stonebroom Ind Est
Morton Morton Ind Est
Wingerworth The Avenue
East
Corbriggs Industrial Estate, Mansfield Road
Holmewood Holmewood Industrial Estate
Holmewood Holmewood Industrial Park
Holmewood Williamthorpe
Temple Normanton Temple Normanton Business Park
Long Duckmanton Markham Employment Growth Zone
Long Duckmanton Former Coalite Works *

Development for non-B1, B2 or B8 employment uses on protected employment sites where the site is considered of particular value for such employment (as shown on the Policies Map, and not asterisked above) will not be permitted.

On other employment sites (also shown on the Policies Map and asterisked above) any proposals for employment uses will be considered in the light of the recommendations of the 2014 Employment Sites Report, the contribution to local employment opportunities and the site’s future viability in its current use. The proposed use should not prejudice the future development and extension of the viable existing uses on the site. In addition the following criteria will need to be met for non-employment uses to be permitted:

  1. The land or building is no longer physically suitable for employment uses and there is no realistic prospect of re-use or redevelopment for such uses11; and
  2. There is documented evidence of the lack of demand including as shown through unsuccessful active marketing for employment use.

Ancillary uses on employment sites

On sites of particular value, or if criteria a and b are not met, uses other than classes B1, B2 & B8 will only be permitted where:

  1. The proposed use would be ancillary to the main employment use of the site; and
  2. The proposed use can directly support the functioning of the site for employment purposes and would not prejudice the future development and extension of the viable existing uses.

Other Employment Sites not identified on the Policies Map

For existing employment sites not identified as Protected Employment Sites on the Policies Map, planning permission will be granted for non-employment uses where it can be satisfactorily demonstrated that redevelopment of the site would be consistent with other relevant policies in the Plan.

Key Evidence Base

  • National Planning Policy Framework
  • Employment Land Review

You told us that...

The Plan should encourage job growth by providing a sufficient supply of available employment land and prevent or provide alternatives for loss of employment land.

Alternative Options considered but not selected...

The choice of employment allocations and the protection of existing employment sites has been based on a robust assessment of employment land, employment sites, and the level of demand across the District. Therefore, no alternatives have been considered which run counter to the evidence.

The NPPF tells us that...

To help achieve economic growth, LPAs should plan pro-actively to meet the development needs of business and support an economy fit for the 21st century (para 20). Planning policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose. Land allocation should be regularly reviewed. Where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for the allocated employment use, applications for alternative use of land or buildings should be treated on their merits having regard to the market signals and the relative need for different land uses to support sustainable local communities (para 22).

Policy implements Local Plan Objective: D1

How will the policy be monitored?

Indicator:

  • Amount of employment land approved and completed
  • Amount of allocated and protected employment land lost to other uses

Target:

  • In accordance with provision in Spatial Strategy (?)
  • None lost to other uses

Town Centres

7.15 Strong, vibrant town and local centres are vital to creating a thriving District. It is important to have a good retail offer in the District to reduce leakage of retail expenditure to shops outside of the District, whilst recognising the role of the District’s centres within a wider network, including Sheffield and Chesterfield. The retail sector provides a plentiful supply of employment which needs to be utilised for the District’s local economy.

7.16 The National Planning Policy Framework requires local authorities to quantify the need for additional retail development and then identify locations for such development by applying a sequential approach which prioritises town centre locations, in order to ensure the vitality and vibrancy of town centres.

7.17 A Retail Capacity Study for Chesterfield and North East Derbyshire was produced by Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners (NLP) in 2008. This report modelled future retail expenditure growth for the District up to 2016, 2021, and 2026 and the potential implications of new floorspace.

7.18 The NLP study identified that there is scope for further comparison and convenience (food and grocery) retail development during the plan period. The quantitative capacity analysis, based on forecast growth in population and expenditure, indicated that there was potential for around 1,750 sq. m net of convenience floorspace in the District up to 2016. The quantitative projections indicated that there was capacity for a further medium sized store in the north of the District. The Study anticipated that the Tesco store in Clay Cross would accommodate the need for a large food store in the south of the District. However, since this time additional floorspace has been approved, Aldi at Killamarsh, Aldi at Sheffield Road, Dronfield, and Sainsbury’s at Wreakes Lane Dronfield, and proposals for a further Aldi development at Eckington, all subsequent to the assessment of retail need in the 2008 Retail study.

7.19 The retail assessment suggested comparison (non-food durable goods) floorspace in the District is trading healthily. The additional demand for floorspace up to 2016 in the south of the District should be accommodated through the town centre redevelopment in Clay Cross. However the future projection of 4,424sq m for the period 2007-2016 should be accommodated to the north of the District. The main way of delivering this growth in floorspace should be by bringing vacant premises back into use. The strategy should be to maintain and improve the District’s market share of expenditure.

7.20 The report concluded that the provision of leisure, entertainment and cultural facilities within the District is reasonable and residents have good access to facilities outside the area particularly in Sheffield and Meadowhall.

7.21 The report also found a recognised demand for a small scale hotel facility in the short term and a medium sized facility in the medium term. A budget type facility or a country style hotel could also be promoted. (Development proposals on the site of the former Biwaters proposal at Clay Cross include a hotel element which could fulfil some of this demand).

7.22 The Council recognises the need to update the evidence on retail need. A further study is being commissioned and the results will inform the preparation of the next stage of the Local Plan Part 1.

Town Centre and Local Centre boundaries

7.23 The existing boundaries for the District’s four town centres will be saved and reviewed in the Local Plan Part 2. At present there are no defined boundaries for the District’s Local Centres. These Centres will be designated in the Local Plan Part 2, based upon the settlement hierarchy and survey work to identify the range and scale of shops and facilities in each settlement, and informed by the forthcoming retail study update.

Retail development outside centres

7.24 In line with the overall approach to support economic growth and sustainable communities, the Plan allows small scale retail development to serve the needs of local communities in locations outside centres. Evidence set out in the Retail Study update will set out an upper level threshold for such development, to ensure that development is limited to a scale appropriate to its location.

(5) Policy LP17: Retail Hierarchy and Development in Centres

Retail Hierarchy

The Council will protect and enhance the following hierarchy of Town, and Local centres in the District.

A sequential approach will be taken to assessing development proposals for the main town centre uses as defined in the NPPF, in line with this hierarchy.

Principal Town Centres - Dronfield and Clay Cross.

Secondary Town Centres – Eckington and Killamarsh.

Local Centres – to be defined in Local Plan Part 2

Proposals for retail and other town centre uses in the Centres defined in the Retail Hierarchy above should:

  1. Be consistent in scale with the size and function of the centre; and
  2. Safeguard the retail character and function of existing centres and not detract from their vitality and viability.

Any quantitative expansion or new provision within the town centres should contribute to enhancing the town centre public realm.

To ensure the vibrancy and economic health of the District’s centres, the mix of uses will be controlled in order that uses other than A1 will:

  1. Contribute to the diversity of leisure and cultural attractions, without overwhelming the retail function of the centre, street or frontage by having a detrimental impact on vitality and viability
  2. Help to create an active, well used and safe evening environment, with acceptable impacts on residential amenity;
  3. help to address vacant, under-used or derelict buildings within centres
  4. Contribute to an appropriate mix of licensed premises

Primary Frontages

Primary retail frontages will be defined in the Local Plan Part 2. Within primary retail frontages, A1 (retail) uses will be supported as the predominant use.

Retail development outside centres

Small shops serving the day to day needs of local communities will be permitted within Settlement Development Limits.

In all locations outside of those identified in the retail hierarchy, the loss of local shops and other local services will be resisted, in line with Policy xx (Social Infrastructure).

Proposals for retail development in the countryside will only be permitted where they accord with Policy LP10 (Development in the Countryside) and where they are of an appropriate scale for their location.

Key Evidence Base

  • National Planning Policy Framework
  • Chesterfield Borough and North East Derbyshire District Retail Study (2008)

You told us that...

The Plan should protect and enhance the District’s town and village centres. There should be appropriate additional service, retail, leisure and employment uses in the centres.

Alternative Options considered but not selected...

None. National policy is clear on the policy requirements for local plans for new retail development

The NPPF tells us that...

Planning policies should be positive, promote competitive town centre environments and set out policies for the management and growth of centres of the plan period. Local Planning Authorities should:

  • Recognise town centres as the heart of their communities and pursue policies to support their viability and vitality
  • Define a network and hierarchy of centres that is resilient to anticipated future economic changes
  • Define the extent of town centres and primary shopping areas, based on a clear definition of primary and secondary frontages in designated centres, and set policies that make clear which uses will be permitted in such locations
  • Promote competitive town centres that provide customer choice and a diverse retail offer and which reflect the individuality of town centres; and
  • Set policies for the consideration of proposals for main town centre uses which cannot be accommodated in or adjacent to, town centres (paragraph 23)

Policy implements Local Plan Objectives: D1, D2, D3

How will the policy be monitored?

Indicator:

  • Percentage of primary frontage in main towns in use as retail (A1)
  • Vacancy rates in retail centres
  • Approved and completed retail floorspace outside retail centres

Target: None

(1) Tourism

7.25 A healthy tourism economy can help sustainable economic growth in the District, building on both North East Derbyshire’s proud heritage and its location on the fringe of the Peak District. This will help to support and maintain communities and community facilities, especially in rural areas, and maintain attractive environments. The visitor economy is a significant, growing and a resilient part of the District’s economy, supporting around 1,800 jobs and with annual expenditure well in excess of £100m12.

7.26 The Plan aims to support the District’s role as a visitor/tourist destination, building on and adding to, the strength of existing attractions, townscapes and landscapes, encouraging the development of new visitor attractions and accommodation, capitalising on the District’s role and location on the Peak Fringe.

7.27 The rural and tranquil nature of much of the District’s countryside is an important asset for residents and visitors. Therefore, development within the countryside needs to be compatible with its location in order to protect the area’s special character. It is important to ensure that all heritage and environmental assets are both protected and supported in appropriate ways to enable them to flourish.

7.28 New tourist attractions will be directed to accessible and sustainable locations, particularly the main towns and larger settlements in order to expand the tourism offer in the District and encourage visitors to stay longer. Where it is appropriate, tourism development in less accessible locations should be focussed on the conversion of existing buildings and developments that contribute to rural diversification, enjoyment of the countryside, and access to heritage.

7.29 The Local Plan seeks to support sustainable rural tourism development which can be shown to benefit rural communities and businesses, and which respect the character of the countryside. Planning for tourism in rural areas of the District should make the most of the area’s rural assets, enriching and enhancing them, rather than harming the very character, quality and beauty that makes them attractive to visitors and residents. This can be achieved by ensuring that developments and levels of visitor activity are not likely to significantly affect key assets, including protected sites and species, landscape character and historic buildings and conservation areas.

Canals and Waterways

7.30 The Chesterfield Canal crosses the north east of the District and runs through Killamarsh. Work on its restoration is in progress. The conservation, renovation and restoration of the canal has the potential for far reaching benefits. The Chesterfield Canal partnership has reopened more than 5 miles of navigable waterway and is seeking to have the full length of the canal reconnected to the national network. In general, canals and canal routes are an important element of green infrastructure, linking homes and communities, workplaces and services, and providing access to the wider countryside. They often provide a role on linking fragmented habitats over degraded land.

(5) Policy LP18: Visitor Economy and Tourism

Proposals for tourism development in the District will be permitted where they:

  1. Are located in sustainable and accessible locations areas that can accommodate additional visitor numbers without detriment to the environment or the vitality of existing centres; and
  2. Are appropriate to the site’s location in terms of scale, design, or materials; and
  3. Are appropriate to the role of the settlement respecting the character and appearance of the open countryside; and
  4. Do not have a significant adverse impact on any environmental designation.

Proposals for tourism development will particularly be encouraged where they would:

  1. enhance the tourism offer of existing centres
  2. assist in the restoration and enhancement of Chesterfield Canal
  3. support the development of the District’s industrial heritage
  4. Support connections with the Peak District National Park
  5. Extend and/or upgrade the districts network of multi-user trails

(1) Tourist Accommodation

7.31 Visitor accommodation in rural areas, in suitable locations, can have a positive impact on the local economy. Appropriate conditions restricting this accommodation to holiday use will be applied, to avoid the provision of owner occupied second homes which are economically less beneficial and do not positively contribute to sustainable communities.

7.32 The occupation of static caravans for permanent residential use is not considered appropriate unless they are located within an established static caravan park specifically developed for that purpose. Storage sites for touring caravans help remove caravans from residential areas where they are often unsightly. However, sites need to be secure, well screened throughout the year, and preferably located close to settlement where they can easily access and support local shops and services.

7.33 Proposals for visitor accommodation in the countryside would need to be accompanied by a business plan which identifies tourism related needs and demonstrates the likely impact on business viability.

(3) Policy LP19: Tourist Accommodation

New visitor accommodation, or extensions to existing visitor accommodation, will be permitted where:

  1. It is appropriate to the scale and character of the area; and
  2. It is not used for permanent residential occupation

Proposals for visitor accommodation in the countryside will be permitted where:

  1. It is an extension to existing visitor accommodation and helps to ensure future business viability; or
  2. It is in accordance with Policy LP10 (Development in the Countryside); or

Proposals for new, and extensions to existing, sites for chalets, camping, and touring caravans, along with associated storage, will be permitted where they meet criteria a to h; and:

  1. They are adequately screened all year round; and
  2. They are laid out in a manner which would not adversely affect the character of the area; and
  3. The materials and colour of the chalets and caravans, services and infrastructure are appropriately designed to reduce the visual impact of the proposal on the landscape; and
  4. They do not significantly adversely affect the amenity of local residents

Proposals for new static caravan sites will be subject to the same planning controls as residential development, and should be located within Settlement Development Limits

Key Evidence Base

  • National Planning Policy Framework

You told us that...

The Plan should encourage tourism development and rural diversification and activities. The District’s natural and historic assets and access to the countryside provide important tourism opportunities. The Plan should encourage appropriate facilities for tourism accommodation.

Alternative Options considered but not selected...

None; NPPF identifies a need to support and guide tourism development.

The NPPF tells us that...

Plans should support sustainable rural tourism and leisure developments that benefit businesses, communities and visitors in rural areas, and which respect the character of the countryside (para 28). This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations where identified needs are not met by existing facilities in rural service centres (para 28). The planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural environment including protected wildlife, geodiversity sites, and landscape areas in a way which is appropriate to their status (para 109) Local Authorities should set out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, while recognising that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource (para 126).

Policy implements Local Plan Objective: D12

How will the policy be monitored?

Indicator:

  • Number of completed new or improved tourist attractions in the District
  • Net additional bed spaces

Target:

  • No target
  • No net loss

9 These are the 2008 Employment Land Review, the 2013 Employment Land Update and the 2014 Employment Site Assessment. 10 The justification and evidence for employment land provision is set out in detail in the Employment Topic Papers (ref). 11 The recommendations of the 2014 Employment Sites Study will be referred to when considering this criterion. 12 North East Derbyshire Housing & Economic Development Strategy 2015-2020
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