Joint Core Strategy - Proposed Main Modifications

Section 8.0 - Economic Advantage

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Paragraph

8.5

As agreed at the Examination Hearing Session 5.

Amend Paragraph 8.5 as follows:

“The plan area already has a considerable amount of employment floorspace in the planning pipeline in sustainable locations already consented through planning applications. Many existing employment sites are undergoing redevelopment to modern standards and are making efficient use of previously developed land, for example Royal Oak industrial estate in Daventry. Much of West Northamptonshire’s employment is provided on large purpose built estates with corresponding infrastructure, often badly suited to non-employment uses. Losses of employment land in West Northamptonshire for the last five years have been low. Where it can be shown that vacant employment land is no longer viable, a mix of employment uses including, exceptionally, Non-B employment generating class employment uses (as mentioned in WNELS) may be considered where shown to be essential to viability and appropriateand including compliant with the sequential tests in Policy E2 (offices) and Policy S9 (retail) where relevant.While employment land will be protected WNELS does not require B class employment land to be protected for Strategic B8 use given the amount available over the plan period, comparitively low jobs densities, sustainability impacts, and the need for a balanced economy. WNELS does require the protection of small B8 uses in order to provide necessary support for other employment uses. Non Strategic B8 use typically has higher job densities of 1 worker per 50 sqm or better and will be protected.

To provide greater flexibility in the range of employment generating uses that can be considered within the existing employment areas.

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Policy E1

As agreed at the Examination Hearing Session 5.

Amend Policy E1 as follows:

TO HELP SUPPORT A VIBRANT, SUCCESSFUL AND DEVELOPING LOCAL ECONOMY EXISTING AND ALLOCATED EMPLOYMENT SITES AND INDUSTRIAL ESTATES ACROSS WEST NORTHAMPTONSHIRE WILL BE RETAINED FOR USES WITHIN USE CLASSES B1,B2, AND NON STRATEGIC B8 AND APPROPRIATE NON-B EMPLOYMENT GENERATING USES.

CHANGEOF USE TO OTHER (NON EMPLOYMENT GENERATING) USES WILL BE RESISTED UNLESS IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT THE SITE IS NO LONGER ECONOMICALLY VIABLE FOR EMPLOYMENT PURPOSES IN THE LONG TERM, THERE IS A CLEAR CONFLICT WITH ADJOINING USES, OR ITS RELEASE WOULD OFFER SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS TO THE LOCAL AREA.

NEW COMMERCIAL FLOORSPACE AT THE RURAL SERVICE CENTRES OF TOWCESTER AND BRACKLEY AND OTHER SMALLER SETTLEMENTS WILL BE OF A SCALE THAT IS COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR FUNCTION.

DETAILED IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS POLICY WILL BE THROUGH THE PART 2 LOCAL PLANS.

To provide greater flexibility in the range of employment generating uses that can be considered within the existing employment areas and to clarify the implementation of the policy.

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Policy E2

As agreed at the Examination Hearing Session 5.

Amend Policy E2 as follows:

NORTHAMPTON

MAJOR OFFICE DEVELOPMENT (1000 SQ M GROSS OR MORE) WILL BE LOCATED IN NORTHAMPTON FOLLOWING A SEQUENTIAL APPROACH COMPRISING:

  • SITES ALLOCATED IN THE NORTHAMPTON CENTRAL AREA ACTION PLAN; AND
  • WITHIN THE TOWN CENTRE BOUNDARY; THEN
  • EDGE OF TOWN CENTRE; FOLLOWED BY
  • OTHER SUITABLE OFFICE SITES AS ALLOCATED IN THE NORTHAMPTON CENTRAL AREA ACTION RELATED DEVELOPMENT AREA LOCAL PLAN PART 2.

  DAVENTRY

OTHER MAJOR OFFICE DEVELOPMENT WILL BE LOCATED IN DAVENTRY CENTRAL AREA. DEVELOPMENT OF OFFICE FLOORSPACE WITHIN THE CENTRAL AREA IN EXCESS OF 500 SQ M WILL BE ACCEPTABLE WHERE IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT THERE WILL BE NO UNACCEPTABLE ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE REGENERATION OF OTHER CENTRES.

BRACKLEY AND TOWCESTER

NEW OFFICE FLOORSPACE UP TO 500 SQ M GROSS WILL BE LOCATED AT THE RURAL SERVICE CENTRES OF BRACKLEY AND TOWCESTER AND OTHER SMALLER SETTLEMENTS WILL BE OF A SCALE THAT IS COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR FUNCTION.

OTHER SMALLER SETTLEMENTS

THE SCALE OF OFFICE DEVELOPMENT IN OTHER SMALLER SETTLEMENTS WILL BE COMMENSURATE WITH THEIR FUNCTION.


To clarify the policy and improve its implementation.

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New Policy E8

Modifications proposed as a consequence of the further work requested by the Inspector.

Insert a New Policy E8 and reasoned justification as follows:

Northampton Junction 16 Strategic Employment Site

8.38       Recent historic evidence, at least until prior to the economic downturn, shows that between 1996 and 2008 208ha of employment land was developed within the Northampton Related Development Area[5]. Development over this period saw a range of companies, many of whom already have connections with West Northamptonshire, grow and expand by utilising the strategic advantages of our location. This has seen the profile of the area increase as a location for strategic distribution activities but also meet the spatial and technical requirements of modern, high-quality manufacturing processes such as those undertaken by Cosworth high performance engines.

8.39     The West Northamptonshire Employment Land Study (2012 Review) demonstrates the substantial floorspace available within the plan area over the plan period to support the economic objectives of the JCS. This will be maximised not simply by repeating past trends or supporting unconstrained demand in any one sector. Space remains available at recent employment growth locations including Pineham and Swan Valley. Nevertheless, the range and size of sites currently available will not be sufficient to give scope for the continued growth of existing occupiers or opportunities to expand growing sectors to levels that would complement the economic strategy as a whole.

8.40       A strategic allocation for additional employment land is identified at a location adjacent to the East and North of Junction 16 of the M1 Motorway. The total area of the site covers 171ha (gross) extending west to east along the A4500 corridor running towards the village of Harpole and the built urban area of Northampton beyond. The allocation extends to the north and south of the A4500, with the majority of the land area (131ha) located to the north of this route. The allocated site is located within South Northamptonshire District, approximately 7km from Northampton Town Centre. The area is presently in agricultural use and is open countryside. The allocation is within a location recognised as being of high-medium landscape sensitivity.

8.41     The scale of the allocation represents a level of provision that compliments the economic objectives for the plan as a whole. Development associated with maximising the economic advantages of Northampton is proposed in a manner that simultaneously reflects the direction of large scale strategic distribution activities towards DIRFT. This will be achieved by means of a sequential test within the policy. Detailed consent for units over 40,000sqm will not be granted unless it can be demonstrated that the occupier has an existing connection to Northampton, whereby relocation of the employer outside the area would negatively impact the local economy and reduce the sustainability of existing employment patterns; or the proposed use is a minimum of 75% B2 use. This allocation is provided specifically to meet the needs of existing companies within Northampton where there are insufficient sites of adequate size to meet their needs. Within the plan support for larger units is provided at DIRFT, so unless justified by exceptional circumstances other occupiers requiring development at this scale and with no existing connection to the area will be directed towards that location. 

8.42       The scale and extent of B8 (Storage or Distribution) uses will be carefully controlled.  This site is specifically allocated to meet the needs of Northampton, and is not intended to provide a strategic distribution park.   Overall B8 uses should be no more than 50% of the total floorspace on the site, subject to the provision for the relocation of existing Northampton based employers. This is in recognition of the provision that has been made for large scale storage and distribution in more appropriate locations within the plan area, particularly at DIRFT. This provision also intends to ensure that floorspace remains available for B2 manufacturing occupiers to continue to build on the strategic advantages for this sector within the local economy. B1(a) office provision will be subject to the sequential test in Policy E2, and will be restricted to no individual unit exceeding 1,000sqm, unless it can be demonstrated that these functions are directly related to B2 or B8 occupiers at the location and reflect activities best served by this site. This will ensure protection of the objective to concentrate office development at Northampton Town Centre.

8.43       The allocation makes provision for development 79ha (gross) within the plan period 2011-2029 at Phase 1 (south of the A4500) and Phase 2 (north of the A4500), and shown on Inset Map 18. Provision is made for development of a mix of B1 floorspace (including research and development / light industrial uses), B2 and B8 uses; a minimum 2 ha lorry parking facility; and associated facilities; alongside necessary landscaping and infrastructure provision within the site.

8.44       The allocation makes provision for the remainder of the site (Phase 3) to be treated as a strategic reserve over the plan period. The purpose of this reserve is to meet the need for existing Northampton employers who require large sites (in excess of 40,000 sq. metres) and where no alternative site exists. Release of these remaining elements of the site will not be considered before commencement of 90% the employment floorspace (defined as buildings above the ground level) in the first two phases of the allocation and an assessment concluding that further provision will continue the objective of the strategy of the plan as a whole. If release is considered prior to 2029 this would need to be justified and evidenced on the basis that no other opportunities – free from signed pre-let agreements - remain in the development pipeline for units in excess of 40,000 sq m of B2/B8 floorspace.For the avoidance of doubt, this provision for early release is restricted to large users (over 40,000 sq. metres), and is limited to existing local employers.

8.45       The allocation in this area seeks to capture benefits of this location but will ensure that impacts on the environment and infrastructure are mitigated and where possible result in a net gain as a result of development.

8.46       Development proposals will have regard to the key features of the location including the topography at the north west of the site which has a steeper gradient associated with Glassthorpe Hill. The River Nene corridor towards the south-east is associated with a small area of flood risk as well as being of significance in terms of green infrastructure and ecological assets within the immediate and wider area. A watercourse running north to south across the site provides an additional sensitive area and broadly separates Phases 2 and 3 described above. Ensuring the provision of structural greenspace within these areas as a minimum would provide a basis for mitigating any impacts, as well as ensuring the developed area is free from flood risk.

8.47       Mitigation to the strategic and local road network will be required and the site will be expected to make a financial contribution to these mitigation measures as well as providing any land required. The A4500 corridor running within the allocation will be a focus for improvements to walking, cycling and public transport connections, reflecting its importance as route into Northampton. Connections with the town of Daventry will also be enhanced as a consequence of development. This will be delivered in addition to improving other walking and cycling connections within the site and its surrounding area as a result of the development. Delivery of the lorry park and its associated accommodation facilities within the allocation represents an opportunity to fulfil the objective of relieving congestion within the main urban area and removing such traffic from less sustainable journeys on the local road network. Delivery will be expected early within the allocated phase of development. 

8.48       Policy E8 below sets out the framework for development of this site. A comprehensive development brief will be required to support preparation of a detailed masterplan for Phases 1 and 2 of the site and inform proposals before they can be approved. Connectivity to Phase 3 will also be required to be shown within the masterplan.  As a part of developing proposals the studies specified in the policy must be prepared and agreed by the determining authority. These studies will include consideration of the scale, design and height of buildings proposed for the site to minimise and mitigate impacts on the visual sensitivity of the area. The full gross site area of the allocation (including the strategic reserve element) must be included when preparing these documents.

8.49       The relevant Councils in West Northamptonshire, working with other partners and the development sector, will where necessary utilise the powers of compulsory acquisition to secure the implementation of this development.

POLICY E8 – NORTHAMPTON JUNCTION 16 STRATEGIC EMPLOYMENT SITE

THE BOUNDARY OF THE NORTHAMPTON JUNCTION 16 STRATEGIC EMPLOYMENT SITE IS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (FIGURE 5).  THE DEVELOPMENT CONSTITUTES MAJOR DEVELOPMENT AS SPECIFIED IN POLICY S11, AND AS A MINIMUM WILL BE EXPECTED TO COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS SET OUT IN POLICIES S10 AND S11.

THE DEVELOPMENT WILL MAKE PROVISION FOR B1, B2 AND B8 USES:

  • PHASES 1 AND 2 WILL BE 79 HA GROSS;
  • PHASE 3 (90 HA GROSS) WILL BE ALLOCATED AS A STRATEGIC RESERVE SITE
  • A MINIMUM 2 HA SECURE LORRY PARK WITHIN PHASE 1;
  • ANCILLARY FACILITIES ASSOCIATED WITH THE LORRY PARK;
  • ANY PROPOSALS FOR A B1(A) OFFICE USE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE SEQUENTIAL TEST SET OUT IN POLICY E2, AND SHALL NOT EXCEED 1,000 SQM;
  • THE MAXIMUM SIZE OF ANY UNIT WILL BE 40,000SQM GROSS EXCEPT WHERE THERE IS A PROPOSAL FROM A NORTHAMPTON BASED EMPLOYER WHICH REQUIRES A  BUILDING IN EXCESS OF 40,000 SQ METRES GROSS OR A SITE SUITABLE FOR A BUILDING IN EXCESS OF 40,000 SQ METRES GROSS, WHICH IS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH, AND WHERE THE RELOCATION OF THE EMPLOYER OUTSIDE THE AREA WOULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT THE LOCAL ECONOMY OR THE PROPOSAL IS PRIMARILY FOR B2 USE (MORE THAN 75% OF FLOORSPACE);
  • NECESSARY HIGHWAYS WORKS TO MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF THE DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING PROVISION OF JUNCTION 16 IMPROVEMENTS AND A FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE DAVENTRY DEVELOPMENT LINK ROAD;
  • AN INTEGRATED TRANSPORT NETWORK FOCUSED ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT MODES INCLUDING PUBLIC TRANSPORT, WALKING AND CYCLING WITH STRONG LINKS TO ADJOINING NEIGHBOURHOODS AND THE TOWN CENTRE;
  • STRUCTURAL GREENSPACE AND WILDLIFE CORRIDORS AS INDICATED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP (FIGURE 5);
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND ECOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF THE SITE AND REQUIRED MITIGATION; AND
  • FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT, INCLUDING SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT AND FROM ALL OTHER SOURCES
  • ON A UNIT BY UNIT BASIS ANY PLANNING APPROVAL WILL BE SUBJECT TO A SECTION 106 AGREEMENT REQUIRING THE OCCUPATION OF ANY BUILDING IN EXCESS OF 40,000 SQM GROSS TO  BE RESERVED FOR AN EMPLOYER IN NORTHAMPTON BOROUGH FOR A MINIMUM OF 2 YEARS. ANY DETAILED PROPOSAL NOT TIED TO A NORTHAMPTON BASED EMPLOYER WILL NEED TO SHOW DETAILED EVIDENCE OF THE MARKETING OF THE SITE TO NORTHAMPTON COMPANIES FOR A MINIMUM PERIOD OF TWO YEARS.

PHASE 3 (90 HA) WILL BE RETAINED AS A STRATEGIC RESERVE SITE, AND WILL ONLY BE RELEASED WHEN 90% OF PHASES 1 AND 2 HAVE COMMENCED, OR IT CAN BE PROVED THAT NO ALTERNATIVE SITE OF APPROPRIATE SIZE IS AVAILABLE TO MEET THE GROWTH REQUIREMENTS OF EXISTING NORTHAMPTON BASED COMPANIES.

PHASE 3 WILL BE SUBJECT TO FURTHER HIGHWAY INVESTIGATION AT THE TIME OF ANY PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT, AND THE PROVISION OF ANY ADDITIONAL HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENTS WHICH MAY BE REQUIRED, INCLUDING TO JUNCTION 16.

NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE IS REQUIRED TO BE PHASED ALONGSIDE THE DELIVERY OF THE DEVELOPMENT.

DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A MASTERPLAN.



[5] Northampton Borough Council Industrial and Commercial Employment Land Development Monitoring Report: 1st April 2007 – 31st March 2008

Modifications proposed as a consequence of the further work requested by the Inspector.