Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Review - Proposed Submission Local Plan

Proposed Submission Local Plan

5 Employment

5.1 Employment

5.1.1 This section sets out how the Central Lincolnshire Authorities will assist the achievement of strong and sustainable local economic growth where entrepreneurship, innovation and inward investment are actively encouraged.

5.1.2 Central Lincolnshire is located within the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (GLLEP) area and represents roughly 30% of the GLLEP area’s population, employment and business base. The draft Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) notes that Greater Lincolnshire has an economy of £20.7bn with an ambition to grow the Gross Value Added (GVA) by £3.2bn by 2030. The GLLEP area boasts a mix of traditional manufacturing, a comprehensive agri-food sector, energy and services, and is strong in health and care and the visitor economy. In these sectors and others the area benefits from a large number of small businesses – a distinctive feature of the economy. (Draft, LIS November 2019).

5.1.3 The GLLEP’s priority sectors include; agri-foods, energy and water, health and care, visitor economy and ports and logistics, but this should does not diminish the important roles of other sectors, including manufacturing and engineering, to the local economy. The Central Lincolnshire Authorities will play a key role in the delivery of the vision for most of these sectors. The policy set out in this Plan reflects these growth aspirations and addresses the specific needs of these diverse sectors.

5.1.4 An Economic Needs Assessment (ENA) update was completed in March 2020 and this projected that over half of new jobs will not be within premises for business, general industry or storage and distribution (previously within B use classes). This further demonstrates the diversity of the economy in Central Lincolnshire. The ENA also projects that around 6.5ha of land required for office space, a further 4.3ha for warehouse space and a 0.9ha for industrial land in order to meet needs.

5.1.5 The 2017 Local Plan allocated over 111ha of land for employment across seven Strategic Employment Sites (SES), plus an additional 51ha was anticipated to come forward as employment development within Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) – which was well in excess of the forecast need of 23 hectares at that time. Whilst development has occurred on some of these sites more than 90ha of this previously allocated land remains undeveloped. 

5.1.6 Given this oversupply when compared to projected need and the remaining suitability of these sites as SES no further land has been allocated for employment development as the existing sites are in the right locations to meet the strategic needs - they provide adequate choice to enable flexibility for the market, and yet certainty for developers and investors. The Local Plan strategy and distribution of growth remains broadly similar to the 2017 Local Plan to ensure that the SUEs become thriving communities with a mix of uses including opportunities for employment creation.

5.1.7 In addition the Local Plan also designates existing Important Established Employment Areas (IEEA) which, whilst being well-established include some plots still available for development and offer further choice and flexibility to the market through intensification or redevelopment. The scale of all these existing consents, enterprise zones, provision within SUEs and vacant plots within established employment sites, is of such a degree that further new employment allocations on, for example, greenfield land, would not be effective or justified.

5.1.8 The SES, employment land within the SUEs and the IEEA make up the employment sites of strategic importance and these are all located at the main urban and most populated areas of Lincoln Urban Area, the Main Towns of Sleaford and Gainsborough and within SUEs which are a focus for growth in the plan period.

5.1.9 Beyond these sites of strategic importance, many smaller employment areas provide an important role for local communities across Central Lincolnshire. Their existence is vital in supporting smaller, and in particular rural, communities and providing local employment and services without the need to travel too far.  In an effort to recognise the important role of these areas Policy S32 provides a policy framework for Local Employment Areas (LEA), which are not directly designated but are defined and are given a suitable level of protection and flexibility for intensification and redevelopment.  

5.1.10 In the broadest terms Policies S28-S34 aim to meet the following objectives:

  • Protect existing important employment sites and premises;
  • Make it easier for our key growth sectors and fastest growing companies to achieve their potential;
  • Encourage new inward investment and expansion;
  • Support the growth of small and micro business;
  • Encourage business start-ups – support the growth of entrepreneurial culture; and
  • Encourage inward investment in accordance with the spatial strategy.

5.1.11 This local plan has been produced at a time of great uncertainty and change to the economy brought on by both the Covid 19 pandemic and the UK departing the European Union. The true impact to the commercial environment of these events are yet to be fully understood. The Central Lincolnshire Districts, the County Council and the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership are working together to ensure the Central Lincolnshire economy is robust and will bounce back strongly.  The objectives above and the following policies are consistent with achieving this immediate recovery and also to ensure adequate certainty, yet flexibility, for the longer term outlook in the local economy.

Policy S28: Spatial Strategy for Employment

In principle, employment related development proposals should be consistent with meeting the following overall spatial strategy for employment.

The strategy is to strengthen the Central Lincolnshire economy offering a wide range of employment opportunities focused mainly in and around the Lincoln urban area and the towns of Gainsborough and Sleaford, with proportionate employment provision further down the Settlement Hierarchy (see Policy S1). 

Aligned to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Industrial Strategy, and as a key component of the Midlands Engine, there will be significant growth in a number of sectors, most notably agri-food, manufacturing, business services and the visitor economy, including accommodation and food services.

Land has been made available in appropriate locations in this plan to meet the strategic needs identified in Central Lincolnshire. Strategic Employment Sites (SES), and existing Important Established Employment Areas (IEEA) will be protected for their importance to the economy.  Employment development will mainly be directed to these SES and IEEA and at Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs) as part of mixed use communities being created.

Elsewhere, policies will seek to protect Local Employment Areas (LEA) to help ensure there are jobs and services available to meet the local needs of the community and to allow enterprises to flourish at suitable sites across Central Lincolnshire. 

Outside of existing employment areas and allocated sites, economic development will typically be limited to small-scale proposals which satisfy the requirements of Policy S33 or Policy S34.

Policy S29: Strategic Employment Sites (SES)

The following sites are categorised as SES:

Ref

SES Site name

Gross site size (ha)

Land undeveloped at January 2022 (ha)

Status (January 2022)

E1

Teal Park, North Hykeham

36

28.85

Outline planning permission granted for the whole site. Siemens Phase 1 and 2 completed and other plots benefiting from reserved matters consents.

E2

Lincoln Science and Innovation Park (LSIP), Lincoln

11.5

5

Brownfield site for redevelopment. Planning consent on plot by plot basis as per masterplan. A series of outline applications have been approved. LSIP phase 2 is partially built. A further full application has been approved and has started for the enabling works.  

E3

St Modwen Park, Witham St Hughs

22.3

11.72

Masterplan approved, with planning permissions granted and being implemented across the site.

E4

Somerby Park, Gainsborough

11.6

11.0

Planning application for storage and distribution centre submitted in December 2021.

E5

Sleaford Enterprise Park

14.7

14.7

Hybrid application to deliver site infrastructure and development plots granted in March 2021 for the whole site.

E6

Hemswell Cliff Business Park Extension

26

26

Detailed pre-application now underway for development of full business park plus additional land take.

Total

122.1

97.27

 

Part 1:

SES will meet large scale investment needs that requires significant land take. Proposals for the development of SES should be progressed through an agreed masterplan which includes a travel plan and associated infrastructure to promote sustainable modes of travel for the site as a whole wherever possible prior to or alongside a planning application.  Small scale, ancillary and/or piecemeal development that prevents or otherwise detracts from the delivery of large scale investment on an SES will be refused. 

SES will primarily be developed for B2 and B8 Use Classes.  Other business development under E(g) Use Class (i.e. for offices, research and development, or other industrial processes) will also be acceptable, though the local planning authority may seek to apply conditions limiting the ability to change use to other uses within Use Class E without the need for planning permission.

Part 2:

Where planning permission is required, proposals which would result in the loss of business uses under B2, B8 and E(g) Use Classes will not be permitted, unless:

  1. The proposed use will generate employment; and
  2. The proposed use, either alone or combined with other existing or proposed uses, would not adversely affect the role of the employment area or introduce conflict between uses; and
  3. The proposal will have adequate parking provision and will not result in any other unacceptable impact upon amenity; and
  4. Evidence is provided clearly demonstrating that the site has been appropriately marketed for a continuous period of 12 months or more without successful conclusion on terms that reflect the lawful use and condition of the premises – this evidence will be considered in the context of local market conditions and the state of the wider national economy.

Development under other E Use Classes, beyond E(g), will only be acceptable where the sequential test against the network and hierarchy of town centres as defined in Policy S35 is passed or where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site and will not prevent or otherwise detract from the delivery of large scale investment at the site.

Other employment generating uses, beyond those described above, will only be acceptable where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site and the proposal will not result in an unacceptable impact on the functioning of the SES.

Part 1 and Part 2 note: In the event that the Use Classes Order changes during the life of this Plan, then the closest new Use Classes to those previously categorised as B2, B8, E(g) and E Use Classes as a whole will apply for the purpose of applying the above policy, provided such new Use Classes are reasonably similar to the ones being replaced. Should no similar replacement new Use Classes arise, then the description of B2, B8 and E Use Classes as at the date of the adoption of this plan will apply for the purpose of applying this policy, and appropriate conditions or similar mechanisms will be used to enforce such provisions.

Policy S30: Employment Allocations on Sustainable Urban Extensions (SUEs)

The following SUEs will make significant contributions to employment land in accordance with the specific SUE Policies S69-S71.

Ref.

Sustainable Urban Extension

Approx. employment provision (ha)

COL/ABB/001

Lincoln North East Quadrant

5

COL/BOU/001

Lincoln Western Growth Corridor

20

NK/CAN/003

Lincoln South East Quadrant

7

NK/NHYK/001

Lincoln South West Quadrant

5

WL/GAIN/015

Gainsborough Southern Neighbourhood

4

WL/GAIN/001

Gainsborough Northern Neighbourhood

7

NK/SLEA/015

Sleaford West Quadrant

3

Total

51ha

Policy S31: Important Established Employment Areas (IEEA)

IEEA make a substantial contribution to the Central Lincolnshire economy.  They are defined as sites located in tiers 1-4 of the Settlement Hierarchy in Policy S1 (Large Villages and above), on sites of 2ha or more and have at least 7,500sqm of ground floor space. The following are categorised as IEEA:

Ref.

Important Established Employment Area

Location

E8

Allenby Industrial Estate

Lincoln

E9

Great Northern Terrace

Lincoln

E10

Long Leys Road

Lincoln

E11

Outer Circle Road

Lincoln

E12

Sunningdale Trading Estate

Lincoln

E13

Chieftain Way Industrial Estate

Lincoln

E14

Waterside South

Lincoln

E16

Monks Way Site

Lincoln

E17

Spa Road East

Lincoln

E18

LN6 Industrial Area

North Hykeham

E23

Gateway Park South

Hykeham

E20

Sleaford Road Industrial Estate

Bracebridge Heath

E19

Gainsborough Industrial Area, Marshall Way. 

Gainsborough

E26

Sleaford Industrial Area, Pride Parkway

Sleaford

E20

Caistor Industrial Area, North Kelsey Road

Caistor

E21

Market Rasen Industrial Area, Gallamore Lane

Market Rasen

E28

Heckington Industrial Area, Station Road.

Heckington

E27

Metheringham Industrial Area, The Moorlands

Metheringham

E22

Saxilby Industrial Area, Saxilby Road

Saxilby

E25

Camp Road Industrial Estate

Witham St Hughs

Part 1:

In IEEA, employment floor space will primarily remain in B2 and B8 Use Classes and other business development under E(g) Use Class (i.e. offices, research and development, or other industrial processes). 

Proposals for additional floorspace in B2 and B8 Use Class will be supported in principle.

Other business development under E(g) Use Class will also be acceptable and the local planning authority may seek to apply conditions limiting the ability to change use to other uses within Use Class E without the need for planning permission.

Part 2:

Where permission is required, proposals which would result in the loss of business uses under B2, B8 and E(g) Use Classes will not be permitted, unless:

  1. The proposed use will generate employment; and
  2. The proposed use, either alone or combined with other existing or proposed uses would not adversely affect the role of the employment area or introduce conflict between uses; and
  3. The proposal will have adequate parking provision and will not result in any other unacceptable impact upon amenity; and
  4. Evidence is provided clearly demonstrating that the site has been appropriately marketed for a continuous period of 12 months or more without successful conclusion on terms that reflect the lawful use and condition of the premises – this evidence will be considered in the context of local market conditions and the state of the wider national economy.

Development of other E Use Classes, beyond E(g), will only be acceptable where the sequential test against the network and hierarchy of town centres as defined in Policy S35 is passed or where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site. 

Other employment generating uses beyond those described above will only be acceptable where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site.

Non-employment generating proposals will not be acceptable in IEEA.

Part 1 and Part 2 Note: See the same note in Policy S29, which equally applies to this policy.

Policy S32: Local Employment Areas (LEA)

Local Employment Areas (LEA) are defined as sites sized 0.5ha or more, at least 2,500sqm of existing floor space and with 3 or more units occupied by separate businesses, within Tiers 1-6 of the Settlement Hierarchy as defined in Policy S1 (Small Villages and above).

Part 1:

Proposals for employment generating uses including B2, B8 and E(g) Use Classes within or adjacent to a LEA will be supported, provided that the proposal will not:

  1. Compromise the function of the existing LEA; and
  2. Conflict with neighbouring land uses; and
  3. Harm the character of the locality and/or the amenities of neighbouring occupiers; and
  4. Impact unacceptably on the local and/or strategic highway network; and

In the case of a proposed extension to a LEA, will not:

  1. Be disproportionate in scale to the existing LEA; and
  2. Detract from the role of any SES or IEEA within the same settlement; and
  3. Result in a poorly defined boundary to the LEA.

Where permission is required, development of or changes of use to other uses under E Use Classes beyond E(g) will only be acceptable where the sequential test against the network and hierarchy of town centres as defined in Policy S35 is passed or where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site. 

Other employment generating uses beyond those described above will only be acceptable where the proposed use can be shown to be clearly ancillary to existing uses on the site.

Non-employment generating proposals will not be acceptable in LEA.

Part 2:

Where permission is required, proposals that will result in the loss of uses under B2, B8 or E(g) Use Classes in a LEA will be acceptable where the proposed use:

  1. Will generate a commensurate level of employment to the most recent use of the premises to which they relate; and
  2. Either alone or in combination with other uses will not adversely affect the role of the LEA; and
  3. Will not introduce conflict with uses on the LEA or with other neighbouring uses; and
  4. Will not impact unacceptably on the local and/or strategic highway network; and
  5. Evidence is provided clearly demonstrating that the site has been appropriately marketed for a continuous period of 12 months or more without successful conclusion on terms that reflect the lawful use and condition of the premises – this evidence will be considered in the context of local market conditions and the state of the wider national economy.

Proposals for the loss of business uses under B2, B8 or E(g) Use Classes where the proposed use will not generate employment will be considered on their merits against bullets a-e of Part 2 above and in relation to the anticipated impacts of the loss of employment use on the community it serves and the suitability of the site for the proposed use in accordance with other policies in this plan.

Part 1 and Part 2 Note: See the same note in Policy S29, which equally applies to this policy.

Policy S33: Non-designated Employment Proposals within Identified Settlements

Part 1:

Other employment proposals not within SES, IEEA, SUE and not defined as a LEA, but that are within a settlement named in the Settlement Hierarchy in Policy S1, will be supported, provided:

  1. There is a clear demonstration that there are no other suitable appropriate sites or buildings within designated employment areas or LEA within the same settlement or within 5km of the site; and
  2. the scale of the proposal is commensurate with the scale and character of the existing settlement; and
  3. there is no significant adverse impact on the character and appearance of the area, and/or the amenity of neighbouring occupiers; and
  4. there are no significant adverse impacts on the local highway network; and
  5. there is no significant adverse impact on the viability of delivering any allocated employment site; and
  6. the proposals maximise opportunities for modal shift away from the private car.

In the case of the expansion of an existing employment use, proposals will be acceptable where they satisfy criteria b-f above.

Part 2:

Proposals that will result in the loss of non-designated employment will be supported providing that:

  1. the loss of land or buildings will not adversely and significantly affect the employment opportunities or services available in the area that the site or building would likely serve; and
  2. the proposal will not harm the character of the locality and/or the amenities of neighbouring occupiers; and
  3. the proposal will not impact unacceptably on the local and/or strategic highway network.
Policy S34: Non-designated Employment Proposals in the Countryside

In locations outside of the settlements named in the Settlement Hierarchy in Policy S1, proposals for employment generating development will be limited to the expansion of an existing employment use and development proposals that support the growth of the agri-food sector or other land-based rural businesses and buildings in accordance with relevant parts of Policy S5, and only where the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. It would be consistent in scale with its rural location, without unacceptable environmental and/or visual impacts; and
  2. It would not adversely affect existing local community services and facilities; and
  3. It is designed to be compatible with the landscape in which it would be situated; and
  4. It would not cause undue harm to the open nature of the countryside or any site protected for its natural or heritage qualities, including designated and non-designated sites; and
  5. It will not impact unacceptably on the local and/or strategic highway network; and
  6. In the case of a conversion, the building is not in such a state of dereliction or disrepair that significant reconstruction would be required.