Brentwood Local Plan 2016 - 2033 (Pre-Submission, Regulation 19)

Ended on the 19th March 2019
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7. Prosperous Communities

(5) Delivering Economic Growth

(1) 7.1 Brentwood is an attractive business location with a high-quality environment, within close proximity to London, a well-qualified workforce and good transport links. It has a diverse economic base and total employment in the borough has risen to 43,200 in 2016. The borough is well known for its entrepreneurial culture with above average rates of business start-ups and is home to a number of major national firms whose regional headquarters are located within the borough.

7.2 Figure 7.1 depicts how well Brentwood is placed in terms of transport links to surrounding centres in Essex, London and Kent, legacy opportunities from the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park, and airports at Stansted and Southend. The Elizabeth Line will improve links with Central London and open new direct links to West London and Heathrow airport. The borough is close to competing retail centres such as Basildon, Romford and Chelmsford, as well as Lakeside, Bluewater, and Stratford City Shopping Centres.

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Figure 7.1: Brentwood in Regional Context

(2) 7.3 The Council's Economic Strategy sets out a series of economic aims and strategic priorities which are reflected in the vision and strategic objectives of the Local Plan:

Economic Aims:
  • A1. Promote a mixed economic base and a discerning and sustainable approach to economic growth;
  • A2. Encourage high value, diverse, employment uses that will provide a significant number of skilled and high-quality jobs;
  • A3. Encourage better utilisation, upgrading and redevelopment of existing land and buildings; and
  • A4. Enable the growth of existing business, the creation of new enterprises and encourage inward investment.
Strategic Priorities:
  • P1. Support business development and growth;
  • P2. Facilitate and deliver skills and employability support;
  • P3. Facilitate and encourage business workspace, infrastructure and inward investment;
  • P4. Facilitate and support stronger and more vibrant town & village centres;
  • P5. Develop and support the borough's rural economy; and
  • P6. Promote Brentwood Borough as a place to visit and invest, encouraging the visitor economy.

7.4 To maximise opportunities for economic growth and development, the Council is working closely with the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), the Essex Business Board (EBB) and the Brentwood Business Partnership (BBP). The Council's Economic Strategy, and Economic Futures Report[1] provides the local evidence to support the relevant Local Plan policies.

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Figure 7.2: Brentwood and South East Local Enterprise Partnership

7.5 To meet future needs and maintain a competitive successful local economy, we will plan for new jobs and new homes. We will work with existing businesses through partnerships and attract new businesses by ensuring the borough remains an attractive place to work. The importance of striking the right balance between meeting development needs and retaining our Borough of Villages character is critical when considering the future of the local economy.

(2) POLICY PC01: Cultivating a Strong and Competitive Economy

  1. The Council and its partners will seek to maintain high and stable levels of local economic growth, enabling the borough's economy to diversify and modernise through the growth of existing businesses and the creation of new enterprises. Support will be given to proposals that secure job growth with 'high value' business and retail.
  2. This will be secured by:
    1. improving access to a range of employment opportunities for borough's residents;
    2. providing sufficient employment and industrial space in sustainable locations to support economic development and regeneration;
    3. intensification of vacant and underutilised employment floorspace and sites and the regeneration of previously developed land in sustainable locations;
    4. renewal and improvement to the quality of business premise and office space of different sizes;
    5. enhancing and protecting the important role of small and medium sized commercial enterprises;
    6. directing major new retail, office and leisure investment to the borough's Designated Centres according to their significance on the retail hierarchy, stimulating improvement and regeneration;
    7. supporting the borough's rural economy and growing agricultural enterprises;
    8. maintaining current tourist attractions and encouraging new opportunities to increase the number of visitors to the borough; and
    9. maximising the value of existing and future public transport, walking and cycling network, to support economic activity in line with Policy BE11 Strategic Transport Infrastructure, Policy BE13 Sustainable Means of Travel and Walkable Streets and Policy BE14 Sustainable Passenger Transport.

7.6 The NPPF provides a clear position on the need to build a strong competitive economy. The Council seeks to promote a mixed economic base and a discerning approach to economic growth. High value employment uses will be particularly encouraged. This will tend to be business uses such as offices with related high-tech manufacturing floorspace that provide a significant number of skilled jobs, rather than large distribution warehouses that employ very few people.

7.7 A diversity of uses will be encouraged with an emphasis on good quality, sympathetic and efficient use of land and buildings. This approach recognises and responds to the borough's strengths, such as its skilled workforce, attractive environment and good transport links. It also takes account of land and infrastructure constraints. Ongoing prosperity in the future will rely upon safeguarding those features that comprise Brentwood's distinctive offer and make the borough a destination of choice today. Mixed-use schemes that include retail uses should comply with the retail hierarchy set out in Policy PC08 Retail Hierarchy of Designated Centres.

(1) 7.8 Opportunities for higher density business development will also be favourably considered in suitable locations to relieve pressure to develop in less sustainable locations. This will be encouraged in key gateway locations (refer to figure 3.3 Key Gateways). This includes utilising existing employment space, developing on previously developed land and encouraging smart working practices.

7.9 Improvements in technology and working arrangements have enabled more flexible working, freeing up existing employment floorspace. This trend is expected to continue in future with more remote and home working. Businesses with underused floorspace will be encouraged to make this available for use by other business users.

7.10 In order to thrive in today's market place, business is reliant on good connectivity and fast broadband speeds to support the running of their business. Therefore, applicants should provide high quality communications infrastructure in line with Policy BE10 Connecting New Developments to Digital Infrastructure.

7.11 In rural areas, rural enterprise is fundamental in maintaining and developing rural communities by securing appropriate business, inward investment, jobs and wealth in rural areas and is a vital part of the local economy. Rural enterprise and development which supports its expansion should be encouraged providing there are no severe adverse impacts on the environment and the development is sympathetic to its rural surroundings.

7.12 Rural enterprise refers to land-based industries, such as agriculture and forestry, enabling rurally based businesses, tourism and the environment. It is recognised that some activities in rural areas might equally well be carried out in a built-up area. The key difference is their impact and whether the activity in question, due to its scale and nature has an urbanising effect or can be sensitively accommodated with no adverse impact on the countryside or Green Belt. Stewardship of the countryside, soil and landscapes has traditionally rested with farmers and therefore sympathetic diversification schemes which support this sector should be encouraged in recognition of these wider benefits.

(8) POLICY PC02: Job Growth and Employment Land

  1. Provision is made for 5,000 additional jobs to be provided in the borough over the Plan period at an average rate of 250 per year.
  2. Job growth will be provided for by:
    1. a total of circa 47.39 ha of new employment land (B-use) allocations and continued support for existing employment sites and appropriate redevelopment where appropriate; and
    2. retail floorspace provision and policies supporting retail, leisure and commercial growth.
  1. Areas allocated for employment purposes are set out in Policy PC03 Employment Land Allocations and identified on the Brentwood Policies Map.

7.13 A range of economic evidence has informed this employment land and job growth need, including the Brentwood Economic Futures Report (2018) and Strategic Housing Market Assessment (2018).

(1) New Jobs

7.14 Policies are required to plan for future jobs growth on our employment land and ensure new employment land is provided where needed. For the purposes of planning policy, the simplest way to measure and plan for new job creation is through planning use classes. B-Class uses generally comprise employment land types, such as B1 business (offices, research and development, light industry appropriate in a residential area), B2 general industrial, and B8 storage or distribution.

7.15 The borough has recorded strong levels of job growth, the number of B-class jobs has increased by 40% over the last 17 years. This employment growth has been driven by consumption sectors including residential care and social work, business services, education, healthcare and construction. Job losses have been recorded within public administration and defence, utilities, accommodation and food services and retail.

7.16 According to Enterprising Essex: Meeting the Challenge (Essex County Council, 2018)[2], potential occupiers looking for office space in the North East quadrant of the M25 would most likely locate to Chelmsford or Brentwood, which are seen as more established office locations. Reflecting the borough's desirable location, high quality and distinctive locational offer, the Council's preference is for efficient land use and provision for high value business.

Functional Economic Market Area

7.17 Economic evidence includes an assessment of the Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA) for the borough, which considers a number of evaluation factors including travel to work areas, commuting flows, the commercial property market area; retail market areas, local economic partnership areas and strategic transport routes to define the key economic linkages and spatial relationships. Producing a FEMA is not an exact science and often represents just a snapshot in time but is useful in indicating the borough's broad core economic geography and connections. Figure 7.3 sets out the Brentwood FEMA.

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Figure 7.3: Brentwood Functional Economic Market Area

7.18 In considering employment site allocations and growth, the Council has also taken into account commercial agent feedback on employment sites to ascertain the level of market interest, views on strategic locations and commentary on employment land take-up and overall deliverability.

(1) Employment land provision

7.19 The calculation of new B-use employment land required to inform Draft Plan allocations is summarised below:

  1. The proposed amount of land the Council needs to provide to achieve sufficient growth in jobs range from 8.1 ha to 20.3 ha (Economic Futures Report, 2018)[3].
  2. Redeveloping existing employment land in central or residential locations for new homes (i.e. Wates Way Industrial Estate, Brentwood; Council Depot, Warley; Ford offices, Eagle Way and West Horndon Industrial Estates, West Horndon) means the loss of almost 21.01 ha of employment land that will need to be re-provided.
  3. Before arriving at a final employment land requirement, consideration has also been given to the forecast loss of existing employment allocations through structural change, planning permissions and changes to permitted development rights allowing office to residential conversions. This loss of employment space equates to about 4.65 ha.
  4. These elements combined result in a total additional employment land requirement range from 33.76 to 45.96 ha.

7.20 Overall a total of circa 47.39 ha of new employment land is proposed to be allocated. It should be noted that suggested employment allocations exceed requirements. At a high-level, the amount of employment land allocations is broadly sufficient to ensure that the Council meets its overall forecast employment land needs (forecast new needs and losses from allocations and structural change). It is also recognised that the future restructuring of employment sites and businesses may change floorspace requirements.

Employment Land (ha)

Uses

Scenario A: Experian

Scenario B: EEFM

Scenario C: OAN (380)

Scenario D: Past rates

Offices (B1a/b)

9.4

7.7

5.6

0.4

Manufacturing (B1c/B2)

4.4

0.1

3.1

3.5

Warehousing (B8)

6.5

0.7

4.4

4.2

Total

20.3

8.5

13.1

8.1

Figure 7.4: Gross Employment Land Requirement Scenarios

New Requirements

(ha)

Forecast requirement for employment land (B Class Uses)

+ 8.1 ha to 20.3 ha

Forecast loss of employment land by re-allocations for other uses

+ 21.01 ha

Forecast loss of existing employment allocations through structural change, changes in allocation threshold and permitted development

+ 4.65 ha

Combined Requirement

33.76 ha to 45.96 ha

Figure 7.5: Employment Land Need

(12) POLICY PC03: Employment Land Allocations

Within those areas allocated for general employment and office development, set out in Figure 7.6 and on the Brentwood Policies Map, the Council will seek to achieve and retain a wide range of employment opportunities. Redevelopment or change of use of business, office, general industry and distribution for non B-class uses will only be permitted where:

  1. the proposal is for employment generating sui generis uses or other non-residential uses that provide significant employment with no reasonable prospect of locating elsewhere in the borough, and there is no identified need for the site or buildings for B-class uses;
  2. the proposal is wholly for affordable housing, the site is vacant, and development would not prejudice continuation of adjacent employment uses;
  3. the proposal is for any other use and the application is supported by a statement of efforts made to secure re-use for class B1-B8 or similar uses and other non-residential use that provides employment, which evidence demonstrates there is no realistic prospect of the site or buildings being used or re-used, including through redevelopment, for these purposes; or
  4. the site or buildings would be physically unsuitable for re-use for class B1-B8 or similar use, even after adaptation (including sub-division into smaller units), refurbishment or redevelopment, in terms of siting, design, access, layout and relationship to neighbouring buildings and uses.

Site Ref

Site Name

Area (ha)

Existing Allocated Employment Land

Part of E12

Childerditch Industrial Estate

11.25

E09

Hallsford Bridge Industrial Estate

3.41

E04

Hubert Road Industrial Estate

3.78

E07

Hutton Industrial Estate

10.48

E02

Brook Street Employment Area

1.25

E05

Warley Hill Business Park (excl. Regus)

2.5

Part of R04

Ford Offices, Eagle Way, Warley

2.0

E03

BT Offices, London Road, Brentwood

3.5

E06

OCE offices, Chatham Way, Brentwood

0.45

Part of R02

West Horndon Industrial Estate

2.0

Sub-Totals

40.62

Existing Employment Sites in the Green Belt

108

The Old Pump Works, Great Warley Street

0.79

111

Upminster Trading Park

2.6

228

Peri Site, Warley Street, Great Warley

5.36

321

McColls Headquarters, Ongar Road

1.6

Sub-Totals

10.35

Existing Employment Sites Not Previously Allocated

Part of E10

Land at Codham Hall

9.01

E12

Childerditch Industrial Estate

3.52

Sub-Totals

12.53

New Employment Land Allocations

E11

Brentwood Enterprise Park (M25 Junction 29 works)

25.85

E08

Land adjacent to Ingatestone by-pass (part bounded by Roman Road)

2.06

Part of E12

Childerditch Industrial Estate

5.87

Part of E10

Codham Hall (New extension)

0.61

E13

Land at East Horndon Hall

5.5

Part of R03

North of A1023

2.0

Part of R01

Dunton Hills Garden Village Strategic Allocation

5.5

Sub Totals

47.39

(2) Figure 7.6: Employment Site Allocations

Existing and Regularised Employment Sites

7.21 The presumption for existing and proposed employment sites for general employment and office development shall be for existing uses to be retained and that proposals entailing loss of employment premises and sites without replacement will be resisted. The Council will work with businesses within these areas to encourage them to adapt and respond to changing economic conditions to support business growth and ensure continuing economic vitality.

(2) 7.22 Where an application is made under PC03 clause (c), the applicant should provide information regarding:

  1. length of time the property has been unused for employment purposes;
  2. period during which it has been actively marketed for such purposes, which includes the possibility of redevelopment and provides evidence (not normally less than 24 months). Evidence should show where the property has been publicly marketed including publications and property journals as well as clear advertisement on site;
  3. prices at which the land and buildings have been marketed during this period, which should reflect similar property in the locality;
  4. a list of all expressions of interest during this period; and
  5. an evaluation of why it is considered that the property has failed to attract interest from potential occupiers or for redevelopment for B-class use. The applicant should provide an independently commissioned viability assessment to demonstrate that the use is unlikely to be economically viable in the foreseeable future. The assessment should be undertaken by a reputable and suitably experienced company to be determined by the Council in agreement with the applicant, to be funded by the applicant.
New Employment Allocations

(2) 7.23 Informed by the spatial strategy, the selection of employment sites aims to retain the borough's character and encourage employment growth in suitable available locations. In employment terms, it is also beneficial to consider modern business needs, such as access to the transport network. The selection process can be summarised as followed:

  1. Brentwood and Shenfield will be the focus to attract economic growth in the Central Brentwood Growth Corridor given their excellent geographic position. From the available sites coming forward through the HELAA process, new employment land is proposed at Ingatestone where the southbound A12 junction with the village creates suitable land for new employment premises. This will help create a range of choice for employment land and encourage competition from existing premises to improve the quality of the local offer.
  2. Partly due to difficulties in accommodating the quantum of employment land within other parts of the borough, the opportunity is taken to capitalise on the strategic connections of the South Brentwood Growth Corridor to key economic centres in the region (including Tilbury Port, Southend Airport and those in Greater London), by:
    1. redeveloping brownfield land at Brentwood Enterprise Park (Site E01);
    2. extending employment land around Childerditch Industrial Estate;
    3. providing new employment land at land south of East Horndon Hall (Site E04); and
    4. delivering mixed-use employment opportunities within Dunton Hills Garden Village as part of a self-sustaining new community;
  3. Considering that other parts of the borough including larger villages are in a position to accommodate a limited amount of employment and retail development, the emphasis regarding employment land in these places will be on the provision of local services.

(1) 7.24 The proposed land at Brentwood Enterprise Park and land south of East Horndon Hall will accommodate mixed B-uses. The excellent access onto the strategic highway network, makes them a very desirable place for certain businesses. In addition, the size of Brentwood Enterprise Park provides benefits by way of supplying for a large amount of employment need while bringing along new infrastructure and supporting services. Brentwood Enterprise Park will provide an opportunity for high-end modern premises at a key gateway to the borough and into Essex. Appropriate accompanying uses will be considered appropriate where these meet local needs, such as hotel and associated restaurant options. Retail will not be considered appropriate, in line with the retail strategy and sequential approach. Specific site policies for the Enterprise Park are within Policy E11, in Chapter 9.

(1) 7.25 The Lower Thames Crossing will open up opportunities for goods and services to flow more easily between Brentwood and the area of Kent and beyond across the Thames, strengthening links to a market area that is currently less accessible from the borough. This could extend the borough's FEMA to the south into Kent. However, it should be noted the crossing would be most beneficial to distributors who may use it to avoid congestion at the Dartford Crossing. For the borough to take advantage of the distribution movements, it is likely Brentwood Enterprise Park will need to be delivered to provide premises that are of the scale required by distributors (Economic Futures, Lichfield, 2018)[4].

(1) 7.26 The potential relocation of industrial activities from London could create additional demand for B1C/B2 and B8 premises in wider South East local authorities. Brentwood is well located to take advantage if firms do relocate outside of London. New B1C/B2 and B8 premises would be required to take advantage of relocation, given the borough's existing small stock. Delivery of the Brentwood Enterprise Park could provide a significant area of the floorspace that meets the needs of relocating businesses4.

7.27 The Economic Futures report (2018) indicates that in terms of other 'B uses' for example - manufacturing (B1C/B2) and warehousing / logistics (B8) the portfolio of sites put forward is likely to be attractive to the market and provide a sufficient range and high-quality offer.

7.28 The Essex Grow-on Space Feasibility Study (2016) has highlighted a gap in supply and demand in the borough in relation to the availability of smaller sized office and industrial units for emerging small businesses, curtailing the potential growth of these businesses. This identifies a concealed need for employment floorspace of 9ha arising from local businesses looking for room to grow into. The Council will encourage the provision of flexible working space, incubation units and grow-on[5] space in the proposed employment allocations where appropriate.

7.29 There is a clear need to ensure that strategic investment sites are well connected through public transport an active travel infrastructure to support their overall sustainability. The Council will work with developers and service providers to ensure employment sites such as East Horndon and Dunton Hills will be well connected to existing and new housing sites, including Dunton Hills Garden Village. Work has been undertaken to assess the cumulative impacts of planned development on the A127 and suitable highway measures. More details can be found in Chapter 5.

(3) 7.30 There is a recognised need to effectively manage the period of transition for a number of current employment sites (such as West Horndon) moving from traditional employment uses to residential led-developments. This is to ensure a clear pipeline of available employment land is achievable to meet the needs of businesses relocating to new premises within the borough. The early delivery of strategic sites within the A127 corridor will be important to maintain an effective stock of employment land.

7.31 Other site-specific policies for employment allocations in this policy can be found in Chapter 9.

(1) POLICY PC04: Development and Expansion of Business Space

  1. New offices, research and development and research facilities are encouraged to come forward within the following locations:
    1. in Designated Centres, providing they are of an appropriate scale and are part of mixed-use schemes with active frontage uses where practicable at ground floor level;
    2. in the areas within walking and cycling distance to the train stations.
  2. Proposals for the development of these uses elsewhere in the borough will be considered on their merits and alongside the policies of the plan.
  3. Development of larger employment sites, with multiple occupiers, should consider whether shared social spaces could be provided within the site, to enhance the vitality and attractiveness of the site.

7.32 Consideration of location is to ensure new employment development are accessible by transport other than motor vehicles to minimise associated impacts of this form of transportation. Larger development will benefit from consideration of new social, accessible space to provide a positive sense of place and well-being of the site users and visitors.

(3) POLICY PC05: Employment Development Criteria

  1. Development for employment uses (Class B1, B2 or B8) and any associated employment generating sui generis uses will be encouraged provided the proposal:
    1. is of a scale and nature appropriate to the locality;
    2. provides appropriate landscaping and screening;
    3. is accessible by public transport, walking and cycling;
    4. ensures vehicular access avoids residential streets and country lanes, or mitigates impacts on these; and
    5. the proposal does not give rise to significant traffic movements within rural areas.
  2. Developments that would potentially generate a significant amount of movement must submit sufficient information to assess its likely transport impacts as well as how these impacts would be effectively mitigated, and considered in a Transport Assessment, as set out in Policy BE16.

7.33 All new employment proposals, both within and outside allocated employment areas, will need to comply with the criteria set out in this policy to protect the amenities of residents and other sensitive uses within the vicinity of the developments. The transport impacts of all proposals will need to be assessed to ensure that vehicular access and traffic generation do not result in unacceptable levels of traffic and congestion on unsuitable roads or within environmentally sensitive areas.

7.34 Employment sites can generate a large amount of movement for both vehicles and people. Where this is likely to occur, a Travel Plan will be required. To avoid any overspill of parked cars to surrounding residential streets or country lanes a satisfactory level of parking provision will need to be provided on site.

7.35 This policy should be read in conjunction with other policies in this Plan.

POLICY PC06: Supporting the Rural Economy

The Council will promote a sustainable rural economy by supporting appropriate, small scale rural enterprise. The Council will seek to retain Class B uses or other 'sui generis' uses of a similar employment nature. Proposals to diversify the range of economic activities on a farm or in a rural area will be supported where proposals:

  1. the use does not fall within Class A use classes unless limited small-scale and ancillary;
  2. is accessible, and traffic generation can be satisfactorily accommodated by the existing or planned local road network, ensuring access arrangements are acceptable to the scale and type of development with no adverse effect on the road network;
  3. benefit the local community and do not adversely affect quality of life or the amenity of local residents;
  4. conserve and enhance local character and maintain the openness of Green Belt in line with policy NE09 Green Belt;
  5. are consistent in scale and environmental impact with their rural location;
  6. have no detrimental impact on existing village shops and business;
  7. have no unacceptable effect on water quality or flooding, watercourses, biodiversity or important wildlife habitats; and
  8. work collaboratively with Essex County Council, communications operators and providers, to provide high quality communications infrastructure and support initiatives, technologies and developments which increase and improve coverage and quality throughout the borough, in line with Policy BE10 Connecting New Development to Digital Infrastructure.

7.36 One of the Council's objectives is to support economic growth in the rural area by encouraging the diversification and expansion of agricultural and other businesses and enterprise in the rural area.

(1) 7.37 The Council recognises it can be beneficial for farms to diversify use of land and buildings for other suitable activities or development. These might include converting redundant barns for B1 business use or workshops, storage, farm shops, bed and breakfast, energy crops, or acceptable sport and leisure uses like campsites. These can be important in supplementing agricultural business income to ensure long-term viability and, alongside suitable small-scale rural enterprise and provide rural job opportunities. Suitable uses will allow more efficient use of buildings and land while fitting in with farming practices, rural surroundings and maintaining openness of the Green Belt.

7.38 Farm shops are well used in the borough and by residents living nearby and play a significant role within the local convenience goods shopping hierarchy. Farm shops provide home grown and local produce, support local agriculture and provide sustainable, healthy alternatives to supermarkets by reducing food miles and providing access to fresh, seasonal produce. The Council supports this form of farm diversification provided facilities are appropriate to their rural location and would not lead to unrelated business in the countryside or unacceptable levels of activity in the Green Belt.

7.39 Council policy seeks to protect and enhance local retail patterns, including safeguarding traditional village shops and facilities in order to retain important rural services where they can best serve the local community. Rural infrastructure such as local roads should not be unacceptably affected by traffic generation as a result of diversification.

7.40 The design and construction of new rural development must be of high quality and sympathetic to local character in line with Policy HP13 Creating Successful Places and Policy HP14 Responding to Context. Applicants should also refer to Policy BE08 Sustainable Drainage, as well as the Essex SuDs Design Guide with regards to appropriate standards.

7.41 Telecommunications infrastructure, including broadband, is important in unlocking new development and contributing to a prosperous economy in attracting new businesses and jobs, and ensuring the connectivity of residents to key services. This is set out in Policy BE10 Connecting New Development to Digital Infrastructure and supporting text.

7.42 Proposals may be required to safeguard the employment function of the development from other uses through planning conditions/planning gain mechanisms.

Retail and Commercial Leisure

7.43 Brentwood Borough is made up of the market town of Brentwood, village centres and several local shopping parades providing services to its nearby settlements. These areas are where people go to access their employment, leisure, shopping and even housing needs; many have become the heart of the local community's activities.

7.44 Focusing people's day to day activities within these centres have multiple benefits to both businesses as well as local communities: businesses benefit from linked trips where people visit more than one activity as part of a single journey whilst the community benefits from having a wide choice of activity within a concentrated area[6].

7.45 This Plan seeks to achieve a good balance of mixed uses in the borough's centres to meet the needs of those who live, work, shop and spend leisure time here. The following policies provide the Council's proposed way forward, separating Brentwood Town Centre as the focus for economic growth while emphasising the importance of retaining and enhancing its District Shopping Centres and Local Centres.

7.46 The revised NPPF (2018) removed the requirement to identify primary and secondary shopping frontages and acknowledged the significant challenges facing town centres and in particular the retail sector. It recognised that diversification is key to the long-term vitality and viability of town centres to 'respond to rapid changes in the retail and leisure industries'. As such, the following policies also aim to clarify the range of uses permitted in Designated Centres, as part of a positive strategy for the future of each centre.

(2) POLICY PC07: Retail and Commercial Leisure Growth

Provision is made for 4,844 square metres (net) of comparison retail floorspace and 3,833 square metres (net) of convenience floorspace to be provided in the borough over the Plan period.

7.47 The principles of the NPPF indicate that the Council's policy approach should aim to at least fully meet retail needs, so that the local economy is not constrained, and potential investment is not diverted elsewhere or lost.

(1) 7.48 The Council is required to positively promote competitive town centre environments and manage their growth. It is important to provide for Retail, Commercial and Leisure uses that are appropriate and realistic to the role of centres in the borough's settlement hierarchy, set out in Policy SP02 Managing Growth, and the retail hierarchy, set out in PC08 Retail Hierarchy of Designated Centres. These should be based on the current state of centres and opportunities to meet development needs in full. In this regard, meeting retail needs and planning for the future of town and district centres are intrinsically linked.

7.49 Retail needs are traditionally split into two categories; convenience goods and comparison goods. More recently, the proportion of restaurants and cafes has also increased in the High Streets.

  • Comparison goods: often products from High Street shops clustered together, purchased relatively infrequently by consumers and so prices, features and quality levels are often compared before purchasing. Examples include clothing and appliance stores.
  • Convenience goods: often products of habit or impulse, easily found by consumers and inexpensive enough for most to purchase. A prime example is goods sold in foodstores.

7.50 Short to medium term capacity figures up to 2020 suggest surplus of available convenience goods expenditure could support an additional 2,151 sqm net (3,074 sqm gross), primarily concentrated in Brentwood Town Centre. In the long term, surplus expenditure at 2030 could support 3,833 sqm net of sales floorspace (5,475 sqm gross) in the borough as a whole.

7.51 For comparison goods, the surplus expenditure could support an additional 1,193 sqm net (1,591 sqm gross) by 2020 across the borough. The surplus expenditure at 2030 could support 4,844 sqm net (6,458 sqm gross). The vast majority of this surplus is for Brentwood Town Centre, with only a very limited amount identified for the rest of the borough.

7.52 There is also requirement for 2,954 sqm gross of food and drink (A3-A5) floorspace and 1,654 sqm gross of other class A1 service uses up to 2030. No specific provision is made for these uses as these needs can be met through the planning application process in line with other policies in the Plan.

(1) 7.53 As available sites in Brentwood cannot accommodate full retail floorspace needs, the remaining amount of retail floorspace would need to be allocated in smaller Designated Centres or strategic residential allocations. Residential-led allocations creating new and improved village centres at Dunton Hills and West Horndon will contribute to the borough's remaining local retail needs. New retail floorspace will serve the local community. Residential-led mixed use development at West Horndon will provide the opportunity to create an improved village centre near to the railway station. This will include new retail floorspace to serve the village and local area. This will need to complement rather than compete directly with the existing local shops.

(4) POLICY PC08: Retail Hierarchy of Designated Centres

The retail hierarchy and Designated Centres

  1. The Council will promote the continued roles and functions of the Designated Centres to positively contribute towards their viability, vitality, character and structure. The Designated Centres and Primary Shopping Area are detailed in Figure 7.7 and shown on the Brentwood Policies Map.
  2. The retail hierarchy of Designated Centres in Brentwood Borough is as follows:
    1. Brentwood Town Centre should be the first choice for retail, leisure and main town centre uses.
    2. District Shopping Centres will be a focus of more localised retail, commercial, flexible work space, community facilities and services that reduce the need to travel and contribute towards more sustainable and neighbourhood-scale living.
    3. Local Centres include small shops of a local nature, serving a small catchment. They have an important role in providing day to day shops and services that are accessible to residents in villages and rural parts of Brentwood, especially in areas more remote from the larger centres.

The sequential approach and impact assessment

  1. Retail, leisure, office and other main town centre uses will continue to be directed to these centres in line with the sequential approach to retail development locations set out in the NPPF[7].
  2. Development should contribute positively to the attractiveness, vitality, safety, environmental quality, historic character, employment opportunities and social inclusiveness of these centres.
  3. Change of use of upper floors above commercial premises to working space and/or residential will be encouraged provided that reasonable facilities and amenities are provided for, that development does not result in in the loss of ancillary storage space or other beneficial use to the extent that it would make a ground floor unit unviable, and that the development would not prevent off street servicing of any ground floor unit.
  4. Any retail developments proposed outside these centres must be subject to a retail impact assessment, where the proposed gross floorspace is greater than 2,500 sqm. A retail impact assessment may be required below this threshold where a proposal could have a cumulative impact or an impact on the role or health of nearby centres within the catchment of the proposal.

Designated Centres[8]

Primary Shopping Area[9]

Town Centre

A Town Centre is often the principal centre(s) in a local council area. In rural areas, they are likely to be market towns and other centres of similar size and role which provide a range of facilities and services.

Brentwood Town Centre

Brentwood High Street

District Shopping Centres

District Shopping Centres usually comprise groups of shops often containing at least one supermarket or superstore, and a range of non-retail services, such as banks, building societies, and restaurants, as well as local public facilities such as a library.

Shenfield Hutton Road

Hutton Road

Warley Hill

n/a

Ingatestone High Street

Ingatestone High Street

The main service centre of Dunton Hills Garden Village[10] (DHGV)

(to be informed by the South Brentwood Growth Corridor Masterplan)

Local Centres

Local Centres usually include a range of small shops of a local nature, serving a small catchment. Typically, Local Centres might include, amongst others, shops, a small supermarket, a newsagent, a sub-post office and a pharmacy. Other facilities could include a hot food takeaway and a laundrette.

West Horndon Village Centre

Blackmore Village Centre

245-267 Ongar Road

Brook Street Post Office

Church Lane

Doddinghurst Post Office, Doddinghurst Road

Herongate Post Office, Brentwood Road

1-23 Eastham Crescent

200-216 Rayleigh Road

60-74 Woodland Avenue

Hanging Hill Lane Post Office, Hanging Hill Lane

Blackmore Road

Kelvedon Common Post Office, Church Road

Danes Way/Hatch Road

2-8 Harewood Road

245-267 Ongar Road

Stondon Post Office, Ongar Road

The Keys, Eagle Way

n/a

(2) Figure 7.7: Brentwood Designated Centres on the Retail Hierarchy[11]

7.54 The NPPF places emphasis on the sequential approach with regard to the location of new retail provision. It also promotes mixed-use development (particularly the incorporation of residential uses) and the retention of main town centre uses[12]. The sequential approach is reflected in the network of centres set out in this policy, defined to meet retail and service needs and support the local businesses and communities. The position of a centre in the hierarchy reflects its size and range of services and facilities, as well as the size of its catchment. In particular:

  1. Brentwood Town Centre is the social, cultural and economic focus of the borough and attracts many visitors. It has good access to major roads and rail links and benefits from a refurbished, high quality shopping environment. The sequential approach suggests that it should be the first choice or retail, leisure, community, employment and main town centre uses.
  2. District Shopping Centres will be a focus of more localised retail, commercial and community facilities and services that reduce the need to travel. Shenfield, Ingatestone and Warley Hill fit this category due to their size and range of services.
    1. Shenfield is home to a major railway station with fast train services into central London. It will be the terminus for Elizabeth Line and it is vital that the most is made of this opportunity to invest in improving Shenfield's retail offer.
    2. The increased number of passengers travelling through and using Elizabeth Line at Brentwood Station and hence Warley Hill could lead to a demand for additional or improved retail and service facilities over and above the identified floorspace requirements. There are limited short term opportunities for additional development in the vicinity of this stations and Warley Hill, but in the longer term, sites could become available to meet anticipated future needs.
    3. Ingatestone has the largest village centre in the borough, an attractive local service and convenience centre with a train station.
    4. There is potential for DHGV to have a District Shopping Centre and/or additional Local Centre(s). An appropriate amount of retail floorspace would also be required to meet local needs in the south of the borough, reduce generated trips by car to other centres as well as contribute to the local economy. The designation of a District Shopping Centre and/or additional Local Centre(s) and any subsequent Primary Shopping Area at DHGV will be informed by the South Brentwood Growth Corridor Masterplan and further retail evidence, and considered as part of future Local Plan review.

In the existing District Shopping Centres, development options for additional retail floorspace are currently limited. The future strategy for these centres should focus on the reoccupation of vacant units and small-scale intensification and extensions (Brentwood Retail and Commercial Leisure Study, 2014)[13].

  1. Local Centres include shopping parades, individual shops and facilities such as small supermarket, newsagent, post office, takeaways and pharmacy providing for the day-to-day needs of local communities. Such facilities are often valued by elderly people and those without access to private transport who often rely on facilities being available locally. These facilities provide a convenient and sustainable choice within walking distance. Local Centres are therefore an important component of community life and must be afforded proper planning protection and support, with regard to any related development proposal that may affect their provision.

7.55 Aside from the Designated Centres identified above, small parades comprising of less than ten units, albeit not covered by this policy, are still an important feature within a neighbourhood and could be included within a Neighbourhood Plan.

7.56 The Council will look favourably upon the change of use to office space, flexible working space, incubation units or grow-on[14] space above existing commercial development, as and where appropriate. These types of development would not only provide a re-use of under-used or unused floor space that can lead to neglect and deterioration of a building, but also address the retail trend, demand of commercial workspace and facilitate business expansions.

7.57 Residential development often plays an important role in ensuring the vitality of centres; therefore, residential development on appropriate sites and/or above existing commercial premises are encouraged.

7.58 New development should be of a type and scale appropriate to the centre it is located within and/or close to.

7.59 While greater use of public transport, cycling and walking is central to sustainable development, it is recognised that in order to maintain the viability of shopping centres, there will continue to be a justification for appropriate levels of shoppers' short-stay and/or on street car parking. It is necessary to ensure that the economic viability of the Town Centre and its ability to continue to compete with other shopping centre is not undermined by the inability of shoppers being able to find a secure, safe, well laid out parking space in reasonably proximity to the shops. At the same time, car parking provision must not be made at the expense of the local character. Current parking provision in and around some existing Designated Centres currently have negative visual impacts yet not always meet parking spaces demands of shoppers and visitors. Therefore, proposed retail parking provision must be carefully managed so that it meets local demands without adding to congestion or undermining the streetscape and the attractiveness of alternatives to the car. Developers should refer to Policy BE17 Parking Standards for further information.

(1) POLICY PC09: Brentwood Town Centre

  1. The Council will conserve the positive qualities of Brentwood Town Centre while enhancing and improving negative aspects of function and appearance.
  2. Development in the Town Centre should contribute to the Council's aim of improving the capacity and quality of the public realm throughout Brentwood Town Centre, contribute to a vibrant High Street and the surrounding Conservation Area in line with the Town Centre Design Guide.
  3. Shopfronts and signage have significant impacts on its surroundings therefore proposals are required to incorporate high quality, attractive shopfronts that enhance the street scene, in line with the Council's adopted Town Centre Shopfront Guidance SPD.
  4. Where necessary, design must incorporate technology and property management, parking and traffic movement mitigations to reduce congestion.

Chapel Ruins, Baytree Centre and South Street areas

  1. This area provides a link to strategic sites on the High Street therefore improving its permeability and integration into the wider public realm network will create a more welcoming and flexible space at the heart of the Town Centre, enable its historical settings to be celebrated. Proposals should demonstrate how they:
    1. contribute to the enhancement of public realm around Chapel Ruins and the Conservation Area, retain and enhance their significance and character;
    2. complement the retail function and maintain or add to the vitality, viability and diversity of the Town Centre, by means such as mixed-use schemes that include retail, leisure and residential;
    3. facilitate safe and pleasant pedestrian movement through improved alleyways, lighting, wayfinding and landscaping; and
    4. assist in uplifting and transforming the Baytree Centre and integrate it with the other parts of the Town Centre.

William Hunter Way, Chatham Way Car Park and Crown Street

  1. The Council will work with developers and partners to improve the public realm links in these areas, and through the redevelopment of the car parks, create a mixed-use scheme to provide new residential, retail, flexible working space and commercial floorspace.
  2. Proposals in these areas should demonstrate how they:
    1. contribute to the improvements to frontages and public realm through landscaping and redevelopment;
    2. provide additional shopfronts and double fronted shops, if development involves the rear of premises on the north side of the High Street;
    3. facilitate safe and pleasant pedestrian movement through improved alleyways lighting, wayfinding and landscaping; and
    4. re-provide an appropriate quantum of parking, ensure that parking is well designed and integrated into the public realm.

Linkages to Brentwood station

  1. Improvements to the rail service to London will increase Brentwood Town Centre's regional public transport accessibility. The Council will seek to enhance public realm and way finding around Brentwood station, foster a stronger sense of place and sense of arrival, improve the linkages from the Town Centre to the station, with Kings Road being the primary focus.
  2. Proposals should demonstrate how they:
    1. contribute to the enhancement of public realm around Brentwood station, Kings Road and Kings Road junction through design, landscaping and redevelopment;
    2. facilitate safe and convenient traffic movement with priority given to pedestrians and cyclists, by means such as improved junctions, cycle paths, lighting and wayfinding;
    3. add to the vitality and vibrancy of the Town Centre by providing an appropriate mix and balance of uses including residential, employment, commercial and amenity spaces; and
    4. provide an appropriate quantum of parking, whilst ensure that parking is well designed and integrated into the public realm.

7.60 The Retail and Commercial Leisure Study (2014)[15] outlines that Brentwood Town Centre has the largest quantum of convenience and comparison goods floorspace in the borough and offers a number of other services including restaurants, banks and evening venues. It has a high-quality shopping environment, distinctive offer, 'niche' independent shops, as well as a variety of evening entertainment. These must be supported and developed further.

7.61 In line with national guidance the Council aims to support the viability and vitality of the Town Centre by directing new retail, commercial and leisure provision here and encouraging new investment and improvements. Development should balance the requirements of those who live, work, shop, and enjoy leisure time via a diverse range of use and an efficient, convenient network of public transport, cycling and walking routes.

7.62 The Brentwood Town Centre Design Plan (2017)[16] establishes a vision and consider how to deliver new development that contributes to enhancing the town through improved links and key opportunity sites. William Hunter Way car park and the Chapel Ruins, Baytree Centre and South Street areas, among others, are key development opportunities identified in the Brentwood Town Centre Design Plan. This policy points towards the need for development proposals to achieve these aims.

7.63 The redevelopment of sites along William Hunter Way offers an excellent opportunity for the Town Centre to grow and meet local needs. It is a former service road north of Brentwood High Street that faces directly onto the rear of High Street premises. The car park and servicing spaces on the southern side of William Hunter Way are underutilised and untidy. Opportunities exist to redevelop the car park for a mix of uses including residential improve this frontage and public realm. It will be important to enhance the local environment through improved pedestrian links, encouraging double fronted units, and high-quality design. This would attract more visitors and additional investment. To achieve this, it is vital that the development is carefully integrated with the High Street and not seen as a separate destination. The loss of public parking provision on William Hunter Way car park should be re-provided with an appropriate quantum for the same reasons identified above.

7.64 Travelling north, from the south of Brentwood Town, Brentwood railway station serves as a gateway into the Town Centre. However, currently links to the Town Centre are hindered by a number of physical barriers such as car dominated public realm, a lack of wayfinding support, and undefined pedestrian and cycle routes. There is a poor sense of arrival at Brentwood Station. In addition, the layout of junctions at other gateways into the Town Centre also favour car rather than pedestrian movement. Movement within the Town Centre is a key issue to address, the High Street is fairly weak in terms of providing a positive pedestrian experience to use, move through and congregate within the Town Centre. Therefore, it is important to enhance the public realm and encourage pedestrian movement, starting with improving the Town Centre's connectivity with Brentwood station and its immediate surroundings, and address the current 'drop off' experienced by pedestrians reaching either end of the High Street.

7.65 In addition, parking space design and provision near Brentwood railway station should take into account the potential impacts of the Elizabeth Line. The Elizabeth Line once completed will provide very frequent services from Brentwood (and Shenfield) Stations to and through London. Whilst it is expected that this will have impacts on the local highway network both positive (as a result of additional rail trips) and potentially negative (with potential for increased travel by car to access the stations), at this stage the impact of the scheme is unknown and there will be a need to monitor and review the situation once the services are operational[17]. Any impacts identified should be addressed through the implementation and promotion of sustainable transport measures, for example promote use of non-car modes and the implementation of parking restrictions in the area. Developers should also refer to Policy BE17 Parking Standards and Policy BE16 Mitigating the Transport Impacts of Development.

7.66 Congestion at peak times and air quality are key issues around the Town Centre, innovative measures that incorporate technology and property management to mitigate the impacts of traffic and congestion would be favourably considered. For example, flexible office hours that avoid peak times, design and spacing of drive ways, introducing electrical parking points to encourage use of such vehicles, planning and delivering IT infrastructure to allow future implementation of emerging smart systems, smart car hire, etc.

7.67 It is vital that an appropriate mix of uses contribute to a vibrant Town Centre. Where appropriate, higher density development can help meet the need for more housing and local jobs. Efficient use of previously developed land and buildings should be made, such as making good use of upper floors above shops. High quality retailers should be attracted to compete with retail centres outside the borough. Major drivers of footfall in suitable locations will help increase the number of 'linked trips' to benefit all local services.

7.68 Development should respond to the character of Brentwood Town Centre Conservation Area, amended in 2010 to include the southern frontage of William Hunter Way in recognition of this underutilised land and to encourage high quality redevelopment that is sympathetic to the wider Conservation Area.

7.69 The Council is preparing a Town Centre Design Guide which sets out how development can contribute to these improvements. The Design Guide will be subject to public consultation. Once adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document, all applications within the identified areas will be expected to follow this guidance.

(5) POLICY PC10: Mixed Use Development in Designated Centres

Within the boundary of Designated Centres as set out in Policy PC08 Retail Hierarchy of Designated Centres and defined on the Brentwood Policies Map:

  1. Mixed use development will be supported if it:
    1. is in proportion to the scale and function of the centre;
    2. contains an appropriate mix of ground floor uses; and
    3. makes efficient use of the site and is considered to be of sufficient density.
  2. Proposals resulting in the loss of centre uses at ground floor level to non-centre uses, as defined in Figure 7.8, which results in an unacceptable mix of uses will not be permitted.
  3. Non-retail development that are classed as centre uses, as defined in Figure 7.8, should:
    1. complement the retail function and maintain or add to the vitality, viability and diversity of the centre;
    2. provision is made for an active frontage, such as a window display, which is in keeping with the character of the shopping area;
    3. would not give rise to a detrimental effect, individually or cumulatively, on the character or amenity of the area through smell, litter, noise or traffic problems; and
    4. proposals for new hot food takeaways (use class A5) within 400m walking distance from the entrance points of primary or secondary schools will be restricted in order to promote the health and well-being of school pupils. Exceptions will apply to Primary Shopping Areas within this 400m buffer zone. Hours of opening will be limited to after 5pm on school days and lunch time opening will only be permitted where schools within 400m do not allow pupils to freely leave school premises during lunch breaks.
  4. Changes of use from retail to another centre use as set out in Figure 7.8 will only be permitted where the development would satisfy the above criteria and retain an appropriate mix and balance of uses which will provide for the needs of local residents.
  5. Proposals for separate units of retail, offices, leisure, cultural, community facilities and residential on upper floors are supported provided that the use would have a safe and convenient access, a separate refuse and recycling store, and would not inhibit the functioning of the ground floor use. Centre uses and employment uses should be given priority over residential uses unless it can be demonstrated that this would lead to an imbalance of uses.

7.70 The NPPF recognizes that diversification is key to long-term vitality and viability of town centre, to 'respond to rapid changes in the retail and leisure industries. Locating a variety of land uses close together reduces the need to travel, brings jobs and essential services closer to where people live and enhances community safety. For example, uses such as building societies, banks, estate agents, restaurants, takeaways etc., attract people into the centres for services and entertainment and are often linked to a shopping trip; restaurants, takeaways and public houses contribute to the attractiveness and vitality of an area, providing variety and activity during and outside normal business hours.

7.71 The nature of mixed-use development varies depending on location. The variety of uses increase and physical distribution of uses becomes more concentrated closer to Brentwood Town Centre. This is also true to a lesser extent in the borough's District Shopping Centres and Local Centre. In these areas, the mix of uses will be assessed at a local level. In Brentwood Town Centre, the mix of uses will be addressed on individual sites. In all cases, successful mixed-use development depends on the complementary nature of uses within the development itself and its immediate surroundings. Residential development can also give rise to demand for additional community facilities. For example, a community hall, medical facilities, education or local shopping provision may be required, or improvements to existing provision made, to meet the needs of new and existing residents.

7.72 Too great a concentration of non-retail uses can undermine the primary role of the Designated Centres for retailing, leading to a reduction in the range and choice of goods available and potentially isolating some retailers from the main shopper/pedestrian flows upon which they depend. It is important to consider location and siting and ensure incorporation of window displays to overcome potential problems associated with the creation of 'dead frontages'.

7.73 Policy PC10 is written in the context of the need to retain retail for the benefit of a centre, but it is also recognised that the transition to online shopping and a high number of vacant units are damaging their vitality. For this reason, changes in shopping trends and technology need to be taken into account as part of future development assessment.

7.74 Proposals resulting in the loss of centre uses at ground floor level to non-centre uses would only be considered when there is substantial evidence of non-viability showing that the premises are not reasonably capable of being used or redeveloped for a centre use despite active marketing to encourage potential occupiers. An economic assessment of the sale or lease price the property is offered at may form such evidence.

7.75 Hot food takeaways (use class A5) are considered town centre uses and should not be permitted beyond designated centres and retail areas. However, hot food takeaways contribute to the mix of centre uses, they are often linked to obesity and other adverse effects on health and amenity through, noise, cooking smells, inappropriate short-term parking and late night congregation. Over-abundance of this type of use can displace other shops and food options and impact on the vitality and viability of town and village centres. It is therefore important that they do not dominate the local retail food offer in Designated District Shopping and Local Centres.

POLICY PC11: Primary Shopping Areas

  1. Retail use should remain the predominant use in Primary Shopping Areas as set out in Policy PC08 Retail Hierarchy of Designated Centres, and defined on the Brentwood Policies Map.
  2. Proposed retail development will be supported if they:
    1. contribute to the area's attractiveness, accessibility and vibrancy by adding to or providing a range of shops to meet local needs, including opportunities for small, independent shops;
    2. would not result in subdivision of an existing large retail unit;
    3. be fully integrated with the existing shopping area; and
    4. facilitate safe, convenient and pleasant pedestrian movement through improved lighting and landscaping.
  3. Proposals resulting in the loss of retail uses at ground floor must demonstrate that:
    1. the use is no longer viable, by evidence of active marketing to the public for at least 12 months, showing that the premises are not reasonably capable of being used or redeveloped for a retail use; and
    2. development would not result in 3 or more non-retail use units in adjoining premises.
  4. Proposals for retail and commercial leisure development outside the borough's Primary Shopping Areas over 2,500 square metres will only be permitted provided an accompanying impact assessment can satisfactorily demonstrate that:
    1. associated travel demand can be satisfactorily accommodated by the transport network with appropriate mitigation;
    2. the proposal does not give rise to any detrimental impact on amenities in the surrounding area; and
    3. travel by more sustainable forms of transport than the private car will be achieved.

7.76 Primary Shopping Area is defined in the NPPF as an area where retail development is concentrated.

7.77 In addition to providing opportunities for small, independent 'niche' shops, the Council seeks to retain existing large retail units in Primary Shopping Areas. These should not be subdivided as they can be a major driver of footfall. Subdivision would reduce the ability to attract major retailers, potentially increasing pressure for out of-town retail floorspace which in turn would undermine the Town Centre viability. This policy aims to strike a balance between these potentially competing market forces, ensure a broad range of dynamics and shopping opportunities.

7.78 Retail developments are significant trip attractors and should be located in places that are well-connected by public transport, many retail trips are potentially walkable or able to be reached by cycling, improving the attractiveness of these modes through improved public realm will support the vitality of the Primary Shopping Areas. Proposals that contribute to such aim will be considered positively.

7.79 Historically, non-retail uses were resisted in Primary Shopping Area; however, changes in retail trends and technology need to be taken into account as part of future development assessment.

POLICY PC12: Non-centre Uses

Proposals for non-centre uses in the Designated Centres should demonstrate how they:

  1. complement the retail function and makes a positive contribution to the vitality, viability and diversity of the Designated Centre it is located within;
  2. would not create an over-concentration of non-centre uses which are harmful to the function of the centre;
  3. provision is made for an active frontage in keeping with the character of the shopping area;
  4. would not give rise, either alone or cumulatively, to a detrimental effect on the character or amenity of the area through smell, litter, noise or traffic problems. Demonstrates any potential related problems can be overcome satisfactorily to protect amenities of surrounding residents. Details of extraction, filtration, refrigeration or air conditioning units should be submitted with any application; and
  5. for proposals creating more than two residential flats above ground floor level, the development would not result in the loss of ancillary storage space or other beneficial use to the extent that it would make a ground floor unit unviable, and the development would not prevent off street servicing of any ground floor unit.

7.80 To avoid an overconcentration of non-centre uses this policy aims to strike a balance between competing uses, ensure a broad range of businesses, provide for a reasonable dispersal of uses throughout the centres and integrate non-retail uses into the general shopping environment.

7.81 Proposals in and around Brentwood Town Centre area should be in line with the adopted Shopfront Guidance SPD, the Town Centre Design Plan and the Town Centre Design Guide.

Centre uses (uses suitable at ground floor level in the Designated Centres and Primary Shopping Areas)

Non-centre uses (uses not suitable at ground floor level in the Designated Centres and Primary Shopping Areas)

  • Shops (A1 uses)
  • Financial and professional services (A2 uses)
  • Cafés and restaurants (A3 uses)
  • Drinking establishments (A4 uses)
  • Takeaways (A5 uses)
  • Hotels (C1 uses)
  • Non-residential institutions such as healthcare, nurseries, schools, libraries and places of worship (D1 uses)
  • Assembly and leisure (D2 uses)
  • Certain sui generis uses typically found in centres, including theatres, nightclubs, amusement arcades, launderettes, tattooists, beauty parlours
  • Business uses, including offices, research and development (B1)
  • General industry (B2)
  • Storage and distribution (B8)
  • Residential institutions (C2 and C2a)
  • Residential (C3)
  • Houses in multiple occupation (C4)
  • Other sui generis uses

Figure 7.8: Uses suitable and not suitable at ground floor level in Designated Centres and Primary Shopping Area

POLICY PC13: Night Time Economy

After-hours cultural, entertainment and leisure uses in Designated Centres will be encouraged as part of mixed use development. After-hours leisure should raise standards and broaden the appeal of the night-time economy. Proposals should:

  1. be safe and welcoming;
  2. allow people to walk and cycle around the centre with ease;
  3. offer a vibrant choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages, lifestyles and cultures, including families and older people;
  4. provide a mix of activities that reinforce local character and identity;
  5. would not give rise, either alone or cumulatively, to a detrimental effect on the character or amenity of the surrounding residential area through smell, litter, noise or traffic problems. Proposals should demonstrate any potential related problems can be overcome satisfactorily to protect amenities of surrounding residents; and
  6. provide evidence of responsible management and stewardship arrangements to ensure there is no disturbance to surrounding properties and residents or harm to surrounding area amenity.

7.82 This policy aims to positively manage the night-time experience to overcome negative public perceptions by creating a high-quality environment that is safe, convenient and enjoyable for all.

Community Infrastructure

(4) POLICY PC14: Protecting And Enhancing Community Assets

The Council recognises the importance of community assets, including those registered as Assets of Community Value (ACV), as part of social infrastructure and seeks to ensure that:

  1. existing community assets will be protected from inappropriate changes of use or redevelopment;
  2. new facilities should be easily accessible by public transport, cycling and walking and will be prioritised in Designated Centres;
  3. development proposals that provide high quality, inclusive community assets that addresses a local or strategic need and supports service delivery strategies will be supported;
  4. development proposals that seek to make best use of land, including the co-location of different forms of community assets and the rationalisation or sharing of facilities, will be encouraged and supported;
  5. development proposals that would result in a loss of community assets will be discouraged unless it can be demonstrated that:
    1. there are realistic proposals for re-provision that continue to serve the needs of the neighbourhood and wider community; or
    2. the loss is part of a wider public service transformation plan which requires investment in modern, fit for purpose infrastructure and facilities to meet future population needs or to sustain and improve services.
  6. redundant community assets should be considered for full or partial use as other forms of social infrastructure before alternative developments are considered.

7.83 Community assets can cover a wide spectrum and include land, services and facilities such as village halls, community centres, libraries, parks, green spaces, and buildings for sports, leisure, healthcare, education, social, arts and cultural activities. However, not all land and buildings are community assets. Locality, the nationwide network for community-led organisations, suggests that land and buildings are only community assets if they are capable of generating a profit that can be reinvested into activities that benefit the community[18].

7.84 Community assets are a part of social infrastructure and play an important role in improving good quality of life, stimulating and supporting social cohesion and interaction, as well as developing strong and inclusive communities. They provide opportunities to bring different groups of people together, contributing to social integration and the desirability of a place.

7.85 For example, the provision of childcare facilities including nurseries, integrated nursery centres, playgroups, crèches and child-minding networks, is important to increase economic activity rates, to improve the quality of life of parents and children and to reduce social exclusion. Good quality leisure and sport facilities support and encourage people to lead healthy lifestyles, raising the quality of life for local residents. Leisure, cultural and entertainment facilities help attract people to the borough as a place to work, visit and live.

7.86 It is therefore important that new and replacement facilities support new and existing communities, respectively. These should also facilitate the growth of the borough by providing sufficient capacity to accommodate community need and demand.

7.87 The Council will work collaboratively with service providers, developers and relevant stakeholders, including the local community, to fully understand existing and future social infrastructure needs and plan appropriately for these, including through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

7.88 The loss of social infrastructure can have a detrimental effect on a community. The Council seeks to protect its existing community assets through other relevant Local Plan policies. Where a development proposal leads to the loss of a facility, a replacement that continues to meet the needs of the neighbourhood it serves will be required.

7.89 It should be noted that Assets of Community Value (ACV) are subject to additional protection from development under the Localism Act 2011. The Localism Act 2011 introduced the Community Right to Bid which provides a new right for residents to nominate certain local public or privately-owned buildings or land as being an asset of community value. The Council is obliged to consider all nominations received and include the building or land on the ACV list, if the current use or a recent past use of the asset has furthered the social well-being or social interests of the community and can continue to do so. Once an asset is included in the ACV list it will remain on that list for five years, after that re-application will be necessary. During this time, the owner cannot dispose of it other than to a community interest group, without the community having six months to put together a bid to buy the asset. The Brentwood most up to date ACV list and how to nominate an asset are available to view in the Council's information database, DataShare[19].

7.90 Proposals for new and replacement facilities will be supported where there is a local need. This need will be demonstrated through a local need assessment. This is particularly important where existing deficits in community or leisure provision have already been identified.

7.91 When new developments generate the need for new community facilities, the need should be met by on and off-site provision, in line with Policy SP04 Developer Contributions.

7.92 This policy should be read in conjunction with Policy SP04 Developer Contributions, Policy HP12 Planning for Inclusive Communities, Policy PC15 Education Facilities, and Policy PC16 Buildings for Institutional Purposes.

(3) POLICY PC15: Education Facilities

  1. The change of use or re-development of existing or proposed educational establishments and their grounds will not be permitted unless:
    1. it can be clearly demonstrated that the use of the site is genuinely redundant and no other alternative educational or community use can be found; or
    2. satisfactory alternative and improved facilities will be provided; or
    3. the area of the site to be redeveloped is genuinely in excess of government guidelines for playing field provision, taking into account future educational projections.
  2. Where there is a demonstrable need for new educational facilities, planning permission will be granted for appropriate and well-designed proposals which broadly meet the criteria for new education facilities set out in the ECC's Developers' Guide to Infrastructure Contributions.
  3. The Council recognises the differences in location and design requirements between rural and urban based new education proposals in the borough and will assess applications accordingly.
  4. Where necessary, the Council will utilise planning obligations or CIL to help mitigate any adverse impacts on an educational facility and assist in delivering development that has a positive impact on the community.
  5. Developers should engage with the Local Education Authority at the earliest opportunity and work cooperatively to ensure the phasing of residential development and appropriate mitigation, in line with ECC's Developers' Guide to Infrastructure Contributions, is identified in a timely manner to ensure appropriate education provision can be secured.
  6. Proposals for educational facilities in the Green Belt will be looked into positively where a requirement for a Green Belt location is demonstrated and with regard to Green Belt policies, including Policy NE09 Green Belt, and NE10 New Development, Extension and Replacement of Buildings in the Green Belt.

7.93 Further information regarding requirements for educational facilities over the Plan period is detailed in the Council's Infrastructure Delivery Plan. This policy should be read in conjunction with Policy SP04 Developer Contributions, Policy PC14 Protecting and Enhancing Community Assets, as well as infrastructure requirements set out under site-specific policies in Chapter 9.

(1) 7.94 Education in this section relates to early years, primary, secondary and further education provision for all children and young people, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities, and where residential elements may form part of the provision. Higher education and other types of education such as language schools are not included in this policy.

7.95 Established schools and related educational facilities make a major contribution to community use and provide essential support to increased housing growth. Education providers and institutional users will be encouraged to improve facilities and make efficient use of their assets and landholdings. Where feasible, providers will be encouraged to share their assets with the wider community to improve health and social well-being, subject to site specific context and wider impacts.

7.96 Easy access to good quality educational provision is important for supporting economic growth, developing strong sustainable communities, promoting economic prosperity and sustaining quality of life. It is therefore appropriate for new residential development to contribute towards the cost of education provision, either towards the expansion of existing facilities, or, in some cases, towards the funding of a new school, through planning obligations and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as appropriate.

(1) 7.97 Essex County Council (ECC) as the Local Education Authority has the responsibility for early years and school place planning. Through this process, ECC identifies the need for school places and identifies surpluses or deficits through a 10 Year Plan for School Places currently covering the period 2019-2028. Whether the change of use or redevelopment of independent schools would be considered surplus to educational requirements will be considered on a case by case basis.

7.98 The Council will continue to work with ECC to determine what additional education facilities and local education services will be needed as a result of planned future development. The Council will seek contributions from developers to fund required infrastructure, in line with Policy SP04 Developer Contribution.

7.99 Regard should be given as to how teachers, parents and pupils will access the nearest primary and secondary school and encourage sustainable travel to and from the school. Development should seek to ensure that children and young people can walk or cycle to school safely on designated safe routes through new developments in line with Policy BE13 Sustainable Means of Travel and Walkable Streets, and Policy BE14 Sustainable Passenger Transport. Such routes should be planned from the outset of development and not retrofitted into a scheme's design.

Early years and childcare

7.100 The Council, as advised by ECC, will seek new early years and childcare facilities preferably co-located with new primary schools, where appropriate, and which will be funded through developer contributions. Sufficient early years and childcare provision also needs to be considered alongside other essential services and infrastructure. It may prove necessary to locate new early years and childcare facilities close to major new employment locations, where demand is identified.

Primary and secondary schools

(2) 7.101 The NPPF stresses the importance on ensuring sufficient and choice of school places to meet existing and future needs. Where growth is to be located, it will be essential to ensure the delivery of education facilities is undertaken in a timely and phased manner. Additional school places can be provided either by the expansion of existing schools/ academies or the opening of new "free schools" or academies. However, existing primary schools, especially in the Brentwood urban area are generally close to capacity, with limited space on site to expand, but there is generally a high level of capacity at secondary schools.

7.102 Whilst faith schools and academies may have sufficient site area to expand this would need the agreement of the Anglican Diocese of Chelmsford/Roman Catholic Diocese of Brentwood or the academy trusts responsible for these schools/ academies. This is particularly relevant as a significant proportion of schools/ academies located within the borough are faith schools.

7.103 When considering the housing applications, the interests of schools will be taken on board. This is likely to involve reserving suitable sites for new schools on strategic allocation. Developers should refer to the required site areas set out in the ECC's Developers' Guide Education Supplement.

POLICY PC16: Buildings for Institutional Purposes

  1. Where there is a demonstrable need for the facilities, as a result of existing deficiency or regeneration or new development, planning permission will be granted for appropriate and well-designed proposals in sustainable locations on sites of sufficient size.
  2. Redevelopment, change of use to, or new buildings for institutional purposes will be permitted where the Council is satisfied that:
    1. the scale, range, quality and accessibility of facilities are improved;
    2. the proposal is within or in close proximity to the community that the facilities are intended to serve;
    3. the site is easily accessible by public transport, walking and cycling, impacts on the transport network are mitigated to an acceptable level and parking provision is in line with Policy BE17 Parking Standards; and/or
    4. the impact of any associated residential development is mitigated.

7.104 By their nature, institutional uses can generate considerable traffic and other activity. The siting of such a facility, therefore, needs to be carefully considered in terms of impact on the transport network and on neighbouring properties. Any site should be easily accessible, particularly by public transport, walking and cycling. Residents or users of such buildings may benefit from being near social or community facilities, for example: shops, post office, medical facilities, and community halls.

7.105 As with other development or changes of use, there should be no loss of existing residential accommodation.

[1] Lichfields (2018) Brentwood Economic Futures Report, available at: http://www.brentwood.gov.uk/pdf/29012018122226000000.pdf

[3] Lichfield (2018) Economic Futures Report. Available online at: http://www.brentwood.gov.uk/pdf/29012018122226000000.pdf

[4] Lichfield (2018) Economic Futures Report. Available at: http://www.brentwood.gov.uk/pdf/29012018122226000000.pdf

[5] Grow-on space could be understood as space for small growing businesses with around ten employees plus; that is, businesses that have grown to the extent that they are too large to be accommodated in incubator space or enterprise centres, but are still too small to occupy large, often freestanding, offices or factory/workspace units. Essex County Council (2016) Grow On Space Feasibility Study, available online at: http://www.basildon.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=7966&p=0

[6] Association of Convenience Stores (2015) Planning for Diverse Local Centres. Available at: https://www.acs.org.uk/sites/default/files/planning-guide.pdf

[7] Paragraph 86

[8] The definitions used in this figure were adopted from Association of Convenience Stores (2015) Planning for Diverse Local Centres. Available at: https://www.acs.org.uk/sites/default/files/planning-guide.pdf

[9] Primary Shopping Area is defined in the NPPF as an area where retail development is concentrated. For policy requirements, see Policy PC11 Primary Shopping Areas and supporting text.

[10] The designation of DHGV service centre(s) as a District Shopping Centre and/or Local Centre(s) and any subsequent Primary Shopping Area will be informed by the South Brentwood Masterplan and further retail evidence.

[11] Please note the retail hierarchy could be updated as development come forward and as part of future Local Plan review.

[12] Main town centre uses are 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 and pubs, nightclubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, indoor bowling centres and bingo halls); offices; and arts, culture and tourism development (including theatres, museums, galleries and concert halls, hotels and conference facilities).

[13] Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (2014) Retail and Commercial Leisure Study. Available at: https://www.brentwood.gov.uk/pdf/19122014124931u.pdf

[14] Grow-on space could be understood as space for small growing businesses with around ten employees plus; that is, businesses that have grown to the extent that they are too large to be accommodated in incubator space or enterprise centres, but are still too small to occupy large, often freestanding, offices or factory/workspace units. Essex County Council (2016) Grow On Space Feasibility Study, available online.

[15] Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (2014) Retail and Commercial Leisure Study. Available at: https://www.brentwood.gov.uk/pdf/19122014124931u.pdf

[16] Levitt Bernstein (2017) Brentwood Town Centre Design Plan. Available at: http://www.brentwood.gov.uk/designplan

[17] PBA (2018) Transport Assessment

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