Strategic Growth Options

Ended on the 17th February 2015
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4 Economic Prosperity

The Council is required to plan for future jobs growth in the Borough. This includes the need for new employment land and retail floorspace. This section explores the options for where new jobs should be provided.

Economic Issues

4.1 Brentwood Borough has an unmet need for new employment land. This unmet need is partly due to new homes, which create the need for new jobs. The Council is required to establish what this need is according to types of employment and to consider issues such as the level of commuting into London.

4.2 Evidence suggests the amount of new employment land required is up to 23 hectares (depending on the level of housing growth). If you take existing employment land that was proposed for residential-led redevelopment this means the requirement increases because of the need to replace this lost employment land. The proposed redevelopment employment sites are as follows, but the list is not exhaustive as all sites are being considered:ef Site Size

Employment Site Options

003 Wates Way Industrial Estate, Brentwood 0.96 ha
020 & 021 West Horndon Industrial Estates 16.23 ha
081 Council Depot, The Drive, Warley 1.71 ha

4.3 The strength of the local economy is in part reflected by the consistently low levels of unemployment. The Borough has the lowest level of unemployment within Essex at 3.6% (June 2014.)

Employment Site Options

4.4 The Local Plan will also need to consider the most appropriate locations for employment land. When employment land is surrounded by houses it often causes nuisance such as heavy goods vehicles travelling through residential areas and noise complaints. This in turn often results in conditions being set which reduces the viability of employment uses.

4.5 This is particularly relevant when it comes to the types of employment needed, such as more distribution warehousing with associated offices. For these types of uses alternative locations are needed close to the strategic highway network and near to key junctions. The 2013 Local Plan Preferred Options proposed land at M25 Junction 29 be used to provide a new business park. This would help meet the majority of unmet employment need. In addition, areas identified as potential strategic growth locations would be appropriate to provide for a mix of uses including employment.

4.6 Other potential employment sites tend to be much smaller and scattered, although still within both the A127 Corridor or near to the A12. On the basis that locations close to the strategic highway network and junctions are most appropriate because they meet modern business needs; alternative locations outside of transport corridors have not come forward. Figure 12 shows that the majority of new employment land could be provided in the A127 Corridor, which would create additional demands on infrastructure and services, although this could be mitigated by funding for improvements.

4.7 Land at Mountnessing roundabout (site ref: 107) (A12 junction 12), formally known as Mountnessing scrap-yard, was proposed to be used for new employment land in the 2013 Preferred Options consultation document. An alternative use for the land could be residential.

4.8 An alternative to redeveloping existing employment sites is to retain them in current locations. However, this option would not deal with the overall unmet employment need and so new employment land would still be required elsewhere.

4.9 In addition it will be important to retain existing employment land in suitable locations. This includes both industrial estates and office locations such as Warley Business Park and offices in Brentwood Town Centre and elsewhere.

I3For more information see Brentwood Economic Futures 2015-2030 (2014) and other economic technical studies, part of our Evidence Base available to view at www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

Figure 12

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(561) Q3Q7: To enable future employment need to be met do you agree that the most sustainable approach is to allocate new sites close to the strategic highway network?

I3Please note, sites have been suggested to the Council as part of the plan-making process, including previous consultation. Identification of these sites does not mean that they will be allocated or receive planning permission. A full list of all sites is set out in Appendix 1. To view sites in more detail please visit www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

Retail and Commercial Leisure Issues

4.10 Growth in retail and commercial leisure will make a significant contribution towards job growth in the Borough. The Council will need to consider changing retail trends when planning for future retail development.

4.11 In the past the Council has applied a “Town Centre first” rule for new retail development, which remains current policy. This promotes more sustainable shopping and travel patterns. Although the economic downturn had a significant impact on the retail sector, Brentwood Borough has withstood the effects reasonably well in terms of shop vacancies. The current vacancy rate is significantly below the national average in all of the Borough’s main centres and the number of vacant shops fell between 2011 and 2014. The current retail hierarchy is shown in the table beside.

Retail Hierarchy

Town Centre
Brentwood Town Centre
District Shopping Centres
Warley Hill, Brentwood
Shenfield, Hutton Road
Ingatestone High Street
Local Shops and Parades
Blackmore village centre Blackmore
245-267 Ongar Road Brentwood
Brook Street Post Office
Church Lane Doddinghurst
Doddinghurst Post Office, Doddinghurst Road
Herongate Post Office, Brentwood Road Herongate Herongate
1-23 Eastham Crescent Hutton
200-216 Rayleigh Road
60-74 Woodland Avenue
Hanging Hill Lane
Blackmore Road Kelvedon Hatch
Kelvedon Common Post Office, Church Road
Danes Way/Hatch Road Pilgrims Hatch
2-8 Harewood Road
245-267 Ongar Road
Former Stondon Post Office, Ongar Road Stondon Massey
The Keys, Eagle Way Warley
1-7 Chafford Gardens
179-189 Thorndon Avenue West Horndon

Retail Site Options

4.12 Evidence suggests that there is scope for retail growth in the Borough. In larger centres such as Brentwood and Shenfield vacant shops can only accommodate a small element of new retail floorspace needed. In smaller centres such as Ingatestone, Warley Hill and local shops/parades vacant shops can meet more of their future retail need.

4.13 Sites identified for future retail capacity are limited. Brentwood Town Centre has two sites that if redeveloped with retail provision could meet the majority of need over the Plan period (100 - Baytree Centre and 102 - William Hunter Way car park). The Council awaits the outcome of consultation on the William Hunter Way site to inform future proposals. See Figure 14 for potential site options within Brentwood Town Centre.

4.14 Sites that provide retail development opportunities in and around Shenfield are very limited. No sites have currently been identified other than redevelopment of existing floorspace or similar.

4.15 As part of any strategic allocation it would be expected that development would be for a mix of uses including appropriate new retail to provide local shops that serve the community.

4.16 The NPPF requires that the Council apply a ‘sequential test’ to main town centre uses such as retail, as set out in Figure 13. This provides a method of testing alternative locations if town centre sites are not available. Very few sites have been identified in edge of centre locations that might accommodate retail. Therefore, without retail development in Brentwood Town Centre the Council would need to consider out of town locations, for example Green Belt sites on the strategic highway network within reach of Brentwood and Shenfield centres, such as M25 junction 28 or A12 junction 12 (Mountnessing).

Figure 13

I3For more information see the Retail and Commercial Leisure Study (2014), part of our Evidence Base available to view at www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

Figure 14

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(539) Q3Q8: In order to ensure that the Town Centre remains economically sustainable, do you agree that a “Town Centre First” approach should be taken to retail development?

I3Please note, sites have been suggested to the Council as part of the plan-making process, including previous consultation. Identification of these sites does not mean that they will be allocated or receive planning permission. A full list of all sites is set out in Appendix 1. To view sites in more detail please visit www.brentwood.gov.uk/localplan

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