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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 E3: Maintaining employment capacity and improving employment floorspace

Introduction

4.4.24 In 2013, permitted development rights were introduced which enabled offices (B1a) to be converted to residential (C3) use without the need for planning permission. Applicants only had to apply to the Council for prior approval in relation to flooding, highways, transport and contamination impacts. The Government originally proposed that these rights would expire after three years but they became permanent in April 2016. A new three-year temporary permitted development right for the change of use from light industrial (B1c) to residential came into force[25] at the same time.

4.4.25 As a result of these permitted development rights, a significant amount of office floorspace has been lost, particularly in Guildford town centre. This is in addition to employment floorspace lost over the years because of the higher land values of residential use. As a result of these losses, and also the projected need for employment floorspace over the plan period, the policy seeks to protect floorspace to sustain employment capacity and to accommodate existing and future need.

4.4.25a Sufficient land has not been identified within the urban area to meet the employment land requirements so it has been necessary to allocate new employment sites. There needs to be a degree of choice and flexibility of floor space to ensure that the local property market can operate efficiently and allow businesses in the borough to grow. If enough suitable land, choice and flexibility are not provided, the Local Plan may not meet the needs of the borough's businesses. In time, this could lead to existing businesses moving out of the borough and new and small businesses not being able to establish themselves or invest in the borough. The retention of existing and the creation of new incubator and move-on units is key to supporting new businesses in the borough and helping existing small businesses to thrive. A priority in our economic strategy is to increase the amount of incubator and start-up space for new and emerging SMEs.

Policy E3: Maintaining employment capacity and improving employment floorspace

B Class Uses
Strategic Employment Sites

0(a) The designated Strategic Employment Sites together make up the borough's current core supply of employment land.

0(b) The Office (B1a) and Research & Development (B1b) Strategic Employment Sites are:

(a) Guildford Town Centre employment core

(b) Surrey Research Park (extended)

(c) Guildford Business Park

(d) 1000, 2000 and 3000 Cathedral Hill

(e) London Square, Cross Lane

(f) 57 and Liongate Ladymead

(g) The Guildway, Portsmouth Road

(h) The Pirbright Institute

(i) Send Business Centre/Tannery Studios Tannery Lane, Send

0(c) When developed, the new employment site at the north side of Gosden Hill Farm (site allocation A25) will be treated as an Office and Research & Development Strategic Employment Site.

0(d) The Industrial (B1c, B2 and B8) Strategic Employment Sites are:

(a) Slyfield Industrial Estate

(b) North and south of Lysons Avenue, Ash Vale

(c) Riverway Industrial Estate, Astolat Business Park and Weyvern Park at Peasmarsh

(d) Cathedral Hill Industrial Estate

(e) Guildford Industrial Estate, Deacon Field

(f) Woodbridge Meadows

(g) Midleton Road Industrial Estate

(h) Merrow Lane (incl Perram Works, Bridge Park, Merrow Business Centre, SCC depot)

(i) Quadrum Park, Peasmarsh

(j) Woodbridge Park, Woodbridge Road

(k) Henley Business Park, Normandy

0(e) When developed, the new employment land at Burnt Common, together with the existing employment floorspace, will be treated as an Industrial Strategic Employment Site.

Locally Significant Employment Sites

0(f) The Locally Significant Employment Sites include all sites which meet the definition set out below and include:

(l) 31 Chertsey Street and 1-7 Stoke Road, Guildford

(m) Andrew House, College Road, College House (89 and 91), Stoke House, Leapale House and Bell Court, Guildford

(n) 65 Woodbridge Road, Guildford

(o) Broadford Business Park, Shalford

(p) The Pines Trading Estate, Broad Street

(q) (Intentionally blank)

(r) Grange Court, Tongham

(s) The Courtyard, Wisley

(t) Abbey Business Park, Eashing

(u) Home Farm, Loseley Park

0(g) When developed, the new industrial employment land on the west side of the former Wisley Airfield, will be treated as a Locally Significant Employment Site.

0(h) The Strategic Employment Sites and the Locally Significant Employment Sites are shown on the borough Policies Map.

(1) Strategic and Locally Significant Employment Sites will be protected for either B1a and B1b use or B1c, B2 and B8 use in line with their designation above.

(2) On Strategic and Locally Significant Employment Sites, employment floorspace will be protected and the loss strongly resisted. Redevelopment or change of use to a non- employment use will only be acceptable if evidence is provided of active and comprehensive marketing of the site for its current use for a continuous period of at least:

a) two years for a Strategic Employment Site; or

b) 18 months for a Locally Significant Employment Site, prior to submission of a planning application.

(3)(4) On Strategic and Locally Significant Employment Sites, Once the period ofthe comprehensive and active marketing should also include consideration of is complete, anotheralternative suitable B class employment use should be considered, followed by anyand other employment generating use, before change of use to residential or other use with no on-going employment use will be permitted.

(4)(3) Outside of the designated employment sites, employment floorspace will be protected in line with the latest needs assessment and the loss will be resisted unless the site is allocated for an alternative use within the Local Plan. Redevelopment or change of use to a non-employment use will only be acceptable housing use will be acceptable if evidence is provided of active and comprehensive marketing of the site for its current use for a continuous period of at least 12 months prior to submission of a planning application. If the site is allocated for an alternative use within the Local Plan, the marketing period will not be required.

(5) The redevelopment of outmoded employment floorspace will be permitted to cater for modern business needs. The provision of improved ICT infrastructure will be encouraged in refurbished and redeveloped sites.

(6) Redevelopment or change of use to a non-employment use will only be acceptable where the land or premises are unsuitably located in terms of its impact on the environment, levels of traffic movement, its accessibility to public transport and its link with the infrastructure, and its impact on the amenity of the area or adjoining occupiers.

(7) The provision of ancillary uses on a Strategic or Locally Significant Employment Site that complement and positively enhance the functioning of the employment area will be supported.

 

Definitions

4.4.26 Employment floorspace is that which is in B1a, B1b, B1c, B2 and B8 use class.

4.4.26a Evidence of active and comprehensive marketing is defined in Appendix A2.

(4.4.27 Paragraph intentionally blank)

(4.4.28 Paragraph intentionally blank)

4.4.29 The Strategic Employment Sites and Locally Significant Employment Sites were identified in the ELNA. The sites are all larger than 1.5 ha and all have at least 7,000 sq m of employment floorspace, most have more than 10,000 sq m of floorspace. Together the sites make up more than 170 ha of employment land and more than 500,000 sq m of employment floorspace.

4.4.29a The identified Locally Significant Employment Sites listed in the above policy are shown on the Proposals Map however the list is not exhaustive. All sites which meet the definition will be classified as Locally Significant Employment Sites. The sites were identified from the non-strategic sites in the ELNA and local knowledge. They are single buildings of approximately 3,000 sq m or greater, clusters of two or more buildings in the urban area or rural clusters, which are important to retain to support the rural economy.

4.4.30 The policy applies to all employment sites including small business units which are important for start-ups and SME (Small and Medium Enterprises).

4.4.30a The policy applies to all premises and land which is in B1a, B1b, B1c, B2 and B8 use class whether the premises or land is currently occupied or vacant.

Reasoned justification

4.4.31 Policy E3 seeks to sustain and enhance employment in the borough through the protection of sites as set out in the policy. It aims to protect employment floorspace to ensure there is sufficient supply to accommodate existing and future need Loss of these sites to alternative uses runs the risk of constraining employment growth and limiting economic diversification. As set out in the policy a more flexible approach will be applied to the change of use in locations outside town centres and key existing employment locations, however as a significant number of sites are being lost through permitted development, the policy seeks to ensure existing and future need is accommodated.

4.4.31a The provision of ancillary uses as referred to in Policy E3(7) within employment areas can serve to enhance the function and attraction of these sites to businesses and their employees and reduce the need for staff to travel to alternative facilities away from the workplace. Such uses may be provided on site either as new buildings, by means of expansion of an existing B1, B2 or B8 use or as redevelopment of part of an existing B1, B2 or B8 use. Examples of ancillary uses considered appropriate on a Strategic or Locally Significant Employment site that would be supported include small local shops, gymnasia, creches and canteens.

4.4.32 There is no specific national guidance on an appropriate period for marketing with regard to offices, research and development or industrial sites but in order to retain sites and to meet projected needs, the criteria set out above should be met. A requirement for evidence of two years active marketing is appropriate on the Strategic Employment Sites. This provides sufficient time to test the market and to allow for changes in market conditions. A sliding scale is considered to be appropriate for sites of lesser importance to the borough's overall employment land supply.

4.4.32a Three of the Strategic Employment Sites (The Pirbright Institute, Lysons Avenue, Ash Vale and Henley Business Park, Normandy) have been identified as having land which falls within 400m of the SPA. Two of the Public Transport Interchanges (Ash and Ash Vale stations) have been identified as having land which falls within 400m of the SPA. Development on these sites which falls within the 400m exclusion zone (as defined in Policy P5) will require a project-level HRA.

 

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

Net change in permitted and completed B1 (a, b, c), B2 and B8 floor space (sq m) in the borough, Strategic Employment Sites and

Locally Significant Employment Sites

Net increase of 36,100 - 43,700 sq m B1a and B1b use class floorspace to 2034 in the borough

Net increase of Industrial land (B1c, B2 and B8) of 3.7 - 4.1ha to 2034 in the borough

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data
Amount of employment floor space (sq m) lost to non-B class uses in the borough, Strategic Employment Sites and Locally Significant Employment Sites No employment floorspace lost on the Strategic Employment Sites and Locally Significant Employment Sites Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

Number of employee jobs (total and by industry) in the borough

4,100 additional B class to 2034

Published data e.g. ONS Business Register Employment Survey (BRES)

 

 

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[25] Applies to planning applications received on or after 1 October 2017, for change of use from a maximum B1c floorspace of 500 sq m, and for which prior approval is granted before 1 October 2020. Development must be completed within 3 years of the prior approval date.