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Guildford Borough Council

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications - Part 1: Policies

Policy E2: Location for new employment floorspace

Introduction

4.4.14 The NPPF states planning policies should support the role that town centres play at the heart of local communities, by taking a positive approach to their growth, management and adaptation. Guildford town centre is the preferred location for new office and research & development floorspace due to its size and transport links. There is currently a limited supply of sites in the town centre for new employment floorspace but this may change over the plan period and remains the most sequentially preferable location. Industrial, warehousing and storage uses are generally less compatible with residential development and due to the larger vehicles needed are often best located with good access to the road network.

Policy E2: Location for new employment floorspace

(0a) The Plan aims to ensure sustainable employment development patterns, promote smart growth (see glossary) and business competitiveness, and allow flexibility to cater for the changing needs of the economy.

(0b) The following will be supported:

(a) the retention, creation and development of small local business by encouraging a range of types and sizes of new premises including incubator units, managed workspace and serviced office accommodation

(b) the provision of essential ancillary employment facilities close to places of employment

(c) rural economic development opportunities

(d) proposals which come forward to redevelop outmoded employment floor space and cater for modern business needs and

Office and Research Development:

(1) Proposals for new office and research & development (B1a and B1b) floorspace will be directed sequentially to: Guildford town centre and Office and Research & Development Strategic Employment Sites[24]. Only if sites cannot be found in these locations should edge of centre sites and locations within 500m of a public transport interchange be considered.

(a) Guildford town centre, then

(b) locations within 500m of a public transport interchange, then

(c) Offices and Research & Development Strategic Employment Sites1 unless:

(i) the proposed floorspace is limited in scale (less than 200 sq m or 25% of the existing office/R&D floorspace whichever is the lower) and/or

(ii) ancillary to the primary use of the site.

(2) The sequential approach does not apply to proposed floorspace included in the site allocations in the Local Plan.

(4)(3) The expansion of existing offices in locations outside the town centre, and Strategic Employment Sites and Locally Significant Employment Sites should be limited to 25% or less of the existing office and R&D floorspace. and any development not limited in scale is to be directed to sequentially preferable locations.

(3)(4) If the expansion of existing offices in locations outside the town centre and Strategic Employment Sites exceeds Where net additional floorspace exceeding 200 sq m or 25% of the existing office and R&D floorspace of the planning application site boundary on a site-by-site basis is proposed (whichever is the lower) in the redevelopment or extension of a building in locations other than those set out above, it will need to be demonstrated that there are:

(a) there are operational needs of business for on-site expansion, no sites available in the locations set out above

(b) there are no suitable sites available in the town centre and the Strategic Employment Sitesthere is a demonstrated need, and

(c) the site is accessible, or canwill be made accessible, by sustainable modes of transport.

Industrial, warehousing and storage:

(5) Proposals for new industrial, warehousing and storage (B1c, B2 and B8) floorspace will be directed to the Industrial Strategic Employment Sites and any sites where this use class of floorspace is included in the site allocation in the Local Plan.

All B class development:

(6) Proposals for the provision for small business units (less than 50 sq m), suitable for start-ups and SME will be encouraged.

(7) Proposals, particularly those of over 5,000 sq m, will be encouraged to provide childcare facilities on or close to the site.

 

Definitions

4.4.15 In this plan we define a transport interchange as rail stations and bus stations within the urban areas or in close proximity to the district centres and Strategic Employment Sites. Interchanges include:

  • Guildford Rail Station
  • Guildford Bus Station
  • London Road (Guildford) Rail Station
  • Ash Rail Station
  • Ash Vale Rail Station
  • North Camp Rail Station
  • Horsley Rail Station (East Horsley).

4.4.16 When developed, the two new rail stations, Guildford East (Merrow) and Guildford West (Park Barn), will each be treated as a transport interchange.

4.4.17 For the purposes of the sequential assessment the train stations at Clandon, Chilworth, Gomshall, Shalford, Effingham Junction and Wanborough will not be considered to be transport interchanges because of their locations within the Green Belt, AONB or the nature, character and size of the surrounding village or centre. We do not consider that it is sequentially preferable, sustainable or appropriate to direct office development over 100 sq m to these locations.

4.4.18 The bus station in Guildford town centre is defined as a public transport interchange. When it is replaced by a suitable alternative arrangement to be located either partly or wholly on or off site this will be defined as a public transport interchange.

4.4.19 All transport interchanges are shown on the Policies Map and the 500m catchment around the interchange is shown on the maps included in Appendix A1.

4.4.20 Transport interchanges do not include stand-alone bus stops or park and ride locations

4.4.21 The Strategic Employment Sites are defined in policy E3 and are shown on the Policies Map.

4.4.21a To avoid doubt the 25% applies to the existing floorspace that is within the red line of the planning application. This could comprise an individual building or a number of commercial units.

Reasoned justification

4.4.22 One of the greatest concentrations of offices in the Borough is in the Guildford Town Centre Employment Core, however there has been a significant loss of B1a use class floorspace in recent years through permitted development and prior approval. The projected growth in employment over the plan period means there is a need to accommodate between 36,100 and 43,700 sq m of office and research & development floorspace in the borough (see policy E1). The ELNA 2017 concluded there was not enough capacity to accommodate all of the growth in the existing town centre and on the existing Strategic Employment Sites. Existing permissions and sites under construction have been taken into account along with sites that are likely to be granted permission for residential development over the plan period.

4.4.23 The need to renew and refurbish employment floorspace, especially office space, is imperativeto ensure the supply of premises is suitable for modern business needs and the borough is able to retain existing occupiers and compete effectively for new occupiers looking to locate in the area. There is currently need for grade A and good quality grade B premises. This will be particularly encouraged in the most sustainable locations in terms of public transport accessibility.

4.4.23a Development involving waste management facilities may be appropriate and will be directed to the Industrial Strategic Employment Sites. The Surrey Waste Plan 2008 policy CW5: Location of Waste Facilities gives priority to industrial/ employment sites, particularly those in urban areas, and to any other suitable urban sites and then to sites close to urban areas and to sites easily accessible by the strategic road network. Some waste management activities fall within the industrial classes in the Use Classes Order and can be considered to be a B1c, B2 or B8 use. This is particularly the case given the increased move towards enclosing waste management activities in purpose-designed buildings. However some do not fall within specific use classes and are therefore sui generis use.

Key Evidence

  • Employment Land Needs Assessment (Guildford Borough Council, 2017)
  • Guildford Borough Economic Strategy 2013 - 2031 (Guildford Borough Council, 2013)

 

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data source

Percentage of permitted and completed class B1a and B1b floorspace that is located:

  • in Guildford town centre
  • within 500m of a public transport interchange
  • on the Strategic Employment Sites

95%

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

Percentage of permitted and completed class B1c, B2 and B8 floorspace that is located on the Industrial Strategic Employment Sites

95% of permitted and completed class B1c, B2 and B8 floorspace on the Industrial Strategic Employment Sites, and sites where these use classes are included in site allocations within the Local Plan

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

Percentage of B class development proposals incorporating units of less than 50 sq m 50% Planning applications and appeals and building completions data
Percentage of B class development proposals over 5,000 sq m incorporating childcare facilities on or close to the site 50% of developments over 5,000 sq m Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

 

 

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[24] Defined in Policy E1