Spelthorne Local Plan Preferred Options: policies

Economy

Policy EC1: Meeting Employment Needs

  1. In order to meet local needs and deliver around 900 additional B class jobs by 2035, a net gain of approximately 15,000 sqm of floorspace for office and research & development (B1a and B1b) and approximately 14,000 sqm for industrial (B8) uses is required. This will accommodate the predicted future growth in jobs in the Borough required to help to secure sustained growth of the local economy.

Use Class

Required change in floorspace 2017-2035 (sqm)

B1a and B1b

15,300

B2

-20,800

B8 (general)

13,700

Total B Class

8,200

  1. To support the retention, creation and development of local businesses, promote business competitiveness and allow for flexibility to cater for the changing needs of the economy, the Council will:
  1. Support proposals to redevelop outmoded employment floorspace to cater for modern business needs;
  2. Encourage a range of types and sizes of new employment floorspace;
  3. Support the retention, creation and development of small local businesses by encouraging a range of types and sizes of new premises including incubator units, managed workspace and serviced office accommodation and the provision of essential ancillary employment facilities close to places of employment.

Strategic Employment Areas

  1. The six designated employment areas (as shown on the Policies Map (forthcoming)) that together make up the Borough's current core supply of employment land will be protected as Strategic Employment Areas and changes of use of land and/or buildings from employment to non-employment use will be resisted. The refurbishment and redevelopment of sites in these areas for employment use, and proposals for the intensification of sites for employment use will be permitted.
  • Bedfont Road, Stanwell
  • BP, Chertsey Road, Sunbury
  • Hanworth Road
  • London Road, Staines
  • Shepperton Studios
  • Windmill Road, Sunbury
  1. 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 two years for a Strategic Employment Site prior to submission of a planning application.

Office and Research & Development

  1. Proposals for new office and research & development (B1a and B1b) floorspace will be directed sequentially to Staines-upon-Thames town centre and the Strategic Employment Areas. 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.

Industrial, warehousing and storage

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

Outside of the designated employment sites

  1. 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.
  2. 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 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.

Heathrow

  1. The Council provides in-principle support for the sustainable expansion of Heathrow Airport, subject to the provisions set out in Policy SP7. Development proposals outside the airport or Development Consent Order (DCO) Limits boundary18 will be determined on their merits and it is recognised the floorspace permitted in the plan period may exceed the local need set out in paragraph 119 to meet the additional need generated as a result of the expansion.

[18] Development Consent Order (DCO) Limits boundary is the overall boundary of the Heathrow Expansion project which includes land Heathrow intends to construct buildings, infrastructure and much of the extensive landscape mitigation areas, and land where Heathrow may potentially require property and other rights for landscape mitigation areas (Heathrow, 2019).

[19] The floorspace need is based on the forecasts for Spelthorne Borough set out in Employment Land Needs Assessments (ELNA).  These did not take into account the potential for the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Sustainability Appraisal Indicators

 Definitions

Active and comprehensive marketing requires demonstration of a marketing campaign for a continuous period of at least 12 months. Marketing must be undertaken through a recognised commercial agent at a price that genuinely reflects the market value of the current or most recent use of the site. It must be demonstrated to the Council's satisfaction that marketing has been unsuccessful for all relevant floor space proposed to be lost through re-development or change of use.

Transport interchanges are defined as rail stations and bus stations within the Borough and are shown on the Policies Map (forthcoming). The 500m catchment around each interchange are shown on maps (forthcoming). The transport interchanges are:

  • Upper Halliford rail station
  • Staines rail station
  • Shepperton rail station
  • Ashford rail station
  • Staines bus station (rear of Elmsleigh Centre)
  • Sunbury rail station
  • Kempton Park rail station

Transport interchanges do not include standalone bus stops.

Reasoned justification

The NPPF is clear that there are three dimensions to sustainable development, one of which is economic. One of the roles of the planning system is to contribute to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth, innovation and improved productivity.

Our Corporate Plan (2016-2019) highlights economic development as one of the Council's four key priorities. The key aim is:

"To stimulate more investment, jobs and visitors to Spelthorne to further the overall economic wellbeing and prosperity of the Borough and its residents".

The Employment Land Needs Assessment (ELNA), identified a need for a fairly small additional amount of floorspace over the plan period in order to meet the anticipated level of jobs which will be created. Meeting this will meet the identified local Spelthorne need. However, it is anticipated that land within the Borough will be required to meet both the construction and operational needs of Heathrow and the relocation of any businesses. We are keen to benefit from the economic benefits that our close proximity to an expanded Heathrow will bring.

Spelthorne has significant strengths with a large business base and a wide range of business sectors represented, including a significant presence of businesses of national and international renown. This is further strengthened by its proximity to Heathrow Airport and its good communication links to London and the rest of the UK. It has a significant retail sector which is focussed largely on meeting the needs of local residents.

In November 2017 the Government launched an Industrial Strategy designed to strengthen the five foundations of productivity: ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places. Our Economic Strategy recognises those ambitions and references them. The health of the Spelthorne economy has shown remarkable growth over a number of years, as evidenced by our position in the top quarter of local authorities in the UK for competitiveness, 17th best location for high tech occupations and with Staines-upon-Thames identified as the fastest growing town in the UK for new start-up businesses.

Spelthorne possesses the foundations envied by other locations, particularly given its proximity to London and Heathrow, forming part of a powerful functional economic area. The M3, M4 and M25, which help drive the prosperity of the south east, all run through or are in close proximity to Spelthorne. Members and Officers of the Council are united in working hard to ensure that economic growth and the associated benefits to our community continue to grow and Spelthorne can compete with the best.

We are already witnessing significant developments in the Borough, particularly in Staines-upon-Thames where over the course of this strategy we will see a new hotel, residential accommodation and additional retail space. This will further add to the attraction of the Borough to those who wish to locate their business or indeed, live, work or shop in Spelthorne.

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data Source

Net change in permitted and completed B1 (a, b, c), B2 and B8 floorspace (sqm) in the Borough

Net increase of 15,000 sqm completed B1 (a and b) use class floorspace by 2035.

Net increase of 14,000 sqm completed B8 use class floorspace by 2035.

Net reduction of around 21,000 sqm of B2 floorspace by 2035.

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

Amount of employment floor space (sqm) lost to non-B class uses

N/A

Planning applications and appeals and building completions data

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

4,100 additional B class jobs to 2035

Published data e.g. ONS

Business Register

Employment Survey

(BRES)

Key Evidence

  • Employment Land Needs Assessment (Spelthorne Borough Council, 2018)
  • Spelthorne Local Economic Assessment, 2016
  • Spelthorne Economic Strategy 2017-2022 - 2018 Update
  • Spelthorne Corporate Plan 2016-2019
  • A Strategic Economic Plan for the Enterprise M3 Area 2018-2030 (enterprise M3)

Sustainability Appraisal Alternative Options

Alternative Option 1: Introduce a policy in the Local Plan to meet employment needs by allocating and recognising strategic employment sites and locally important employment sites. Recognise the potential impacts of Heathrow Airport expansion.

Preferred option. The Council's evidence demonstrates that there is a need for specific employment uses and providing this will allow for sustainable growth in suitable locations.

Alternative Option 2: Make an upward adjustment to meet over and above Spelthorne's need, as well as the need of Heathrow Airport/other local authorities by considering any land not subject to an absolute constraint. Discount policy constraints.

Reject alternative. Due to competing land uses this approach is expected to have significant negative impacts on housing, with providing homes a key a priority of the Local Plan. This approach will also have negative environmental impacts due to the disregard for policy constraints.

Alternative Option 3: Do not introduce a policy. Instead allow the market to dictate the accommodation provided and the location.

Reject alternative. Not allocating sufficient employment land of the correct size and quality is deemed a substantial risk to the economic future of the Borough.

Core Strategy 2009 policies to be replaced

    • SP3: Economy and Employment Land Provision
    • EM1: Employment Development Policy
    • EM2: Employment Development on Other Land

Policy EC2: Retail Needs

  1. The Council will seek to meet identified retail needs within the Borough through maintaining and enhancing the vitality and viability of Staines-upon-Thames, as the main town centre and Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross as the Borough's district centres.

Locations for Development

  1. The Council will ensure that Staines-upon-Thames will be the preferred location for the development of main town centre uses20, including retail. Retail proposals in Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross will be supported where the scale and design of the proposal is considered appropriate.
  2. The Council will maintain and enhance retail provision within Staines-upon-Thames to ensure that the town centre remains competitive as a shopping destination within Surrey.
  3. The Council will maintain and enhance, where possible, retail provision within Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross to retain their role as viable centres supporting their local populations.
  4. The Council will support development which improves the viability and vitality of shopping parades within the Borough which support their local communities.
  5. The Council will support the retention of existing isolated shops which continue to meet a local need.
  6. Proposals for main town centre uses that are located outside Staines-upon-Thames and Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross will be subject to the sequential test as set out in the NPPF. In this instance, the applicant will need to:
  1. determine that the proposal satisfies the sequential test and flexibility has been demonstrated on issues such as format and scale;
  2. undertake a retail impact assessment for proposals which exceed 500sqm, to ensure that there are no adverse impacts on existing retail uses in the Borough's centres as set out in the NPPF.

Primary Shopping Areas

  1. The Council will seek to maintain retail uses (A1) within the defined Primary Shopping Areas in the main town centre and district centres. Development proposals will be considered for non-retail uses (use classes A2 - A5) which maintain active frontages and attract footfall within the Primary Shopping Areas.
  2. Within the town centre, proposals for development within the Primary Shopping Areas will be permitted where they improve the quality and mix of the retail offer to enhance the role of the centre as a destination and strengthen its vitality and viability.
  3. Appropriately designed and located proposals for residential development on upper floors will be encouraged.

[20] Main town centre uses are defined in the NPPF as retail development (including warehouse clubs and factory outlet centres); leisure, entertainment and more intensive sport and recreation uses (including cinemas, restaurants, drive-through restaurants, bars, pubs, nightclubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, indoor bowling centres and bingo halls); offices; and arts, cultural and tourism development (including theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls, hotels and conference facilities). 

Sustainability Appraisal Indicators

Definitions

Primary Shopping Areas: Defined area where retail is concentrated shown on the Policies Map (forthcoming).

Shopping parades: Centres which provide shopping and other facilities for their local community and which are located some distance from existing centres. These include, but are not limited to, Clare Road in Stanwell, The Avenue in Lower Sunbury, Thames Street in Lower Sunbury, Stainash Parade in Staines, School Road in Ashford and Woodlands Parade in Ashford.

Isolated shops include those in residential areas which are less well connected to the main town centre and the district centres and where there may only be a single newsagent or post office or similar use.

Reasoned Justification

The Council has defined a hierarchy of centres as required by the NPPF and will seek to promote their long-term vitality and viability. Staines-upon-Thames is the Borough's main town centre, where main town centre uses should be directed principally. Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross are district centres which act as key providers for their respective catchments. As such, the Council will ensure that identified retail needs, as well as those of other main town centre uses, will be met using the centre hierarchy.

Paragraph 85 of the NPPF states that LPAs should set out policies that allow centres to grow and diversify in a way that can respond to rapid changes in retail and leisure industries. LPAs should define the extent of the centres and primary shopping areas. Paragraph 85 also states that policies should retain and enhance existing markets and, where appropriate, re-introduce or create new ones.

As a result of increased competition from online retailers and increasing flexibility in respect of changes of use introduced through amendments to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), there is an increased risk of the reduction in numbers of retail units (A1) within town and local centres. The Council will ensure the retention of as many retail units (A1) within the centres as possible to maintain their attractiveness as shopping destinations and to ensure, in the case of the local centres, that they continue to provide for the day-to-day needs of their populations.

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data Source

Number of ground floor retail (A1) uses lost to other use classes within the Primary Shopping Area

N/A

Annual retail surveys

Permissions granted for retail uses (A1)

None

Annual retail surveys, planning applications and appeals

Permissions granted for change of use from A1 to other uses that would result in a net loss of A1 uses in a Primary Shopping Area

None

Planning applications and appeals.

Key Evidence

  • Retail and Town Centre Study Update 2018
  • National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018
  • Retail and Town Centre Study 2015
  • Annual retail survey

Sustainability Appraisal Alternative Options

Alternative Option 1: Let the market decide. Do not include a policy on retail.

Reject alternative. This approach allows for flexibility but would leave existing retail uses in the Borough vulnerable to other uses.

Alternative Option 2: Include a policy which supports the vitality and viability of town centres.

Preferred approach. This approach takes account of the local context and would help to maintain the viability and vitality of the Borough's shopping areas.

Core Strategy 2009 policies to be replaced

      • Policy TC1: Staines Town Centre
      • Policy TC2: Staines Town Centre Shopping Frontage
      • Policy TC3: Development in Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross Centres
      • Policy TC5: Proposals for Retail Development

Policy EC3: Leisure and Culture

  1. The Council will seek to improve the leisure and cultural offer through increasing the contribution that tourism, arts, cultural heritage, sports and health and fitness make to quality of life and social and cultural well-being.
  1. The Council will support:
  1. the provision of new and enhanced leisure and cultural attractions, in accordance with the sequential test as outlined in the NPPF for main town centre uses;
  2. the provision of new accommodation and conference facilities for tourist and business visitors in accordance with the sequential test; and
  3. the replacement of existing leisure facilities and cultural attractions, including entertainment facilities, hotels and indoor sports venues provided that facilities of an equivalent or better standard are proposed in locations which are equally as accessible to the existing facility's catchment area and where there is an identified need.
  1. The Council will protect the viability of Staines-upon-Thames and the district centres of Ashford, Shepperton and Sunbury Cross by ensuring that proposals for new leisure space located outside these towns provide an impact assessment.
  2. Development which involves the loss of leisure and cultural facilities, or their change of use, will be required to demonstrate that:
  1. the existing use is not required and has been actively and comprehensively marketed for its existing and an alternative leisure or cultural use prior to the submission of a planning application;
  2. no other leisure or cultural provision is required or is appropriate in the area;
  3. the development is for an alternative leisure or cultural provision, the need for which clearly outweighs the loss and it can be demonstrated that there are no reasonable alternative sites available.

Sustainability Appraisal Indicators

 

Definitions

Leisure uses include cinemas, restaurants, retail, bars and pubs, nightclubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, gyms and studios, indoor bowling centres, indoor sports provision and bingo halls. Cultural uses include theatres, museums, libraries, galleries and concert halls, hotels and conference facilities.

Active and comprehensive marketing requires demonstration of a marketing campaign for a continuous period of at least 18 months. Marketing must be undertaken through a recognised commercial agent at a price that genuinely reflects the market value of the current or most recent use of the site. It must be demonstrated to the Council's satisfaction that marketing has been unsuccessful for all relevant floor space proposed to be lost through re-development or change of use.

Reasoned justification

Leisure uses play a key role in maintaining the vitality and viability of the town and local centres within the Borough. Staines, as the main town centre, provides the primary leisure uses which include a mix of shops, restaurants and a cinema. There are also a range of sports facilities located across the Borough including the two Council-owned leisure centres in Staines and Sunbury, private gymnasiums and sports grounds to help to promote active lifestyles. The Borough also benefits from Kempton Park racecourse which offers regular race meetings as well as hosting many other activities such as antique markets and music events, therefore playing a key role in providing for leisure activities and encouraging visitors to the Borough.

The Council considers that the leisure and cultural experience in the Borough has the potential to contribute to Spelthorne's future growth. As such, the Council will continue to protect existing leisure and tourism facilities. Where appropriate, new facilities will also be supported to enhance the Borough's attractiveness to its residents and visitors.

The sequential testing of proposed leisure developments will help to ensure that the vitality and viability of the main town centre and the three district centres within the Borough are protected. Only where there are no town centre or edge of centre sites available will out-of-centre locations be accepted. Applicants proposing new leisure uses outside Staines-upon-Thames and Ashford, Shepperton or Sunbury Cross will be required to submit an impact assessment. The assessment should clearly identify and explain the proposed development's likely impact on the vitality and viability of the centre.

Spelthorne's proximity to Heathrow Airport, London and a number of large-scale tourist attractions means that there is potential for visitors to use facilities within the Borough, particularly in respect of hotels. This also presents the opportunity to enhance this provision to improve tourism opportunities within the Borough.

Monitoring Indicators

Indicator

Target

Data Source

Net change in the floorspace for leisure uses within the Borough

Increase in the leisure provision within the Borough

Planning applications and appeals

Leisure study

Key Evidence

    • Spelthorne Leisure Needs Assessment
    • Spelthorne Economic Strategy 2017 - 2022
    • Local Economic Assessment
    • Surrey Hotel Futures Report (June 2015)

Sustainability Appraisal Alternative Options

Alternative Option 1: Do not include a policy in the Local Plan. Let the market decide what to provide.

Reject alternative. This option lacks certainty and does not allow the local context to be recognised.

Alternative Option 2: Introduce a policy mechanism to ensure provision of leisure and culture facilities.

Preferred approach. This approach is considered to have a positive impact on population health and encouraging enjoyment of leisure facilities. The approach is also considered to have a significant positive impact on access to community services and leisure provision.

Core Strategy 2009 policies to be replaced

      • No relevant policies.