Draft Local Plan
8. ECONOMIC PROSPERITY
Policies related to the local economy, including provision of employment land, Brentwood Town Centre and local district and village centres, retail, and the rural area economy
SO4 Foster a prosperous, vibrant and diverse local economy by attracting new commercial investment in order to maintain high and stable levels of economic and employment growth
SO5 Expand and enhance Brentwood Town Centre's retail offer in particular opportunities for high quality niche shopping
SO6 Promote and encourage the continued success of Brentwood Town Centre and local centres to provide a high quality public realm and mixed use development
SO7 Optimise the social and economic benefits that arise from Crossrail for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors to the Borough
SO8 Promote and support a prosperous rural economy
8.1 Brentwood Borough Council is committed to delivering sustainable growth throughout the Plan period 2013 - 2033. To achieve this it is vital that Brentwood's economy grows and meets its full potential.
8.2 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 Borough character is critical when considering the future of the local economy.
8.3 Since the Preferred Options consultation in 2013 new evidence has been produced relating to economic needs, specifically employment land and retail and commercial leisure provision. This chapter sets out the Council's proposed policies to meet the Borough's identified economic needs.
8.4 Brentwood Borough is an attractive location for business, combining a high quality environment with close proximity to London, a well qualified workforce and good transport links. The Borough has a diverse local economy providing a total of 39,300 jobs (2014). The Borough has a thriving entrepreneurial culture, with above average rates of business start-ups, and is popular with some major national firms whose regional headquarters are located here.
8.5 It is important to consider a range of factors that will be critical to informing how we plan for a continued successful economy, including new development opportunities and better use of existing floorspace. There are also a range of business sectors that contribute to economic growth, which cannot all be named, but include education, health, retail and tourism.
Policy 8.1 STRONG AND COMPETITIVE ECONOMY
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 business and the creation of new enterprises. Support will be given to proposals that secure job growth with 'high value' business and retail.
This will be secured by:
- capitalising on the economic benefits that arise from Crossrail;
- improving access to a range of employment opportunities for Borough residents in order to meet local employment needs and maintain viable, sustainable communities; Strategic Employment-led Development
- promoting economic growth through the intensification of vacant employment floorspace and underutilised sites, the regeneration of previously developed land, and the allocation of new sites necessary to support employment growth in sustainable locations;
- making better use of existing business premises by opening up vacant employment floorspace for use by other businesses;
- directing major new retail, office and leisure investment to the Borough's Town Centres, stimulating improvement and regeneration;
- supporting proposals which achieve the renewal and improvement of business premises to provide local employment opportunities, particularly in areas with good public transport;
- enhancing and protecting the important role of small and medium sized commercial enterprises within the Borough's economy;
- maintaining current tourist attractions and encouraging new opportunities to increase the amount of visitors to the Borough; and
- supporting the Borough's rural economy and growing agricultural enterprises.
8.6 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. A diversity of uses will also be encouraged with an emphasis on good quality, sympathetic and efficient use of land and buildings and good quality jobs, including through better utilising, upgrading and redeveloping existing 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. Continuing prosperity into the future will rely upon safeguarding those features which comprise Brentwood's distinctive offer and make the Borough a destination of choice today.
8.7 Figure 8.1 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. Crossrail 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.
8.8 Currently a high proportion of Borough residents commute to work elsewhere. While it is accepted that many residents will continue to work outside the Borough local employment opportunities need to be enhanced and diversified in order to reduce this need to travel and benefit the local economy.
8.9 More than half of total employment is provided by small businesses of up to 49 employees and development that supports this sector will be encouraged. The role of larger companies is also recognised and the Council with partners such as Brentwood for Growth to consider how best their needs can be met.
8.10 Brentwood and Shenfield will be the focus to attract economic growth in the A12 Corridor given their excellent geographic position. New employment land is also 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.
8.11 The A127 Corridor will see significant economic growth, mainly because of the opportunity to redevelop brownfield land at M25 junction 29, a project known as Brentwood Enterprise Park (see Policy8.2). This location provides excellent access onto the strategic highway network, making it a very desirable place for businesses. A small extension is proposed to existing employment land at Childerditch Industrial Estate and there will be provision of new employment land at the eastern end of the A127 as part of the Dunton Hills Garden Village proposal. In addition, an opportunity will be taken to formally designate existing employment land around the A127, specifically those close to M25 junction 29, in order to reflect the importance of this area as an employment cluster. Larger villages are in a position to accommodate a limited amount of employment and retail development and here the emphasis will be on the provision of local services.
8.12 New employment allocations are identified in Policy 8.4 and on the Proposals Map.
8.13 Sustainable patterns of growth should be encouraged by utilising existing employment space where possible, developing on previously developed land and encouraging smart working practices. In Brentwood Town Centre, and suitable locations elsewhere, opportunities for higher density business development will be considered since this will relieve pressure to develop in less sustainable locations.
8.14 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.
8.15 The Borough has seen an above average growth in agriculture since 1998. 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 development is sympathetic to its rural surroundings.
8.16 Rural enterprise refers to landbased 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. 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.
Strategic-led Employment Development
8.17 The selection of employment sites has been informed by the sequential approach to sites, as set out in Figure 5.4. A strategic site provides benefits by way of supplying for a large amount of development need while bringing along new infrastructure and supporting services.
8.18 It is essential that this follows the spatial strategy to retain the Borough's character. In employment terms it is also beneficial top consider modern business needs, such as access to the strategic highway network.
Policy 8.2 BRENTWOOD ENTERPRISE PARK
Employment Criteria and Allocations Brentwood Enterprise Park will provide new floorspace for employment development (Use Classes B1, B2 and B8), made up of land at the former M25 works site (south of A127, site ref: 101A) and land at Codham Hall (north of A127, site ref: 101B), as set out on the Proposals Map.
Development proposals should meet the following criteria:
- Employment uses and jobs provided on site are consistent with the economic strategy set out within this Plan, and support the vitality and viability of Brentwood Town Centre and other Borough centres;
- Development is of a high design standard, meeting aspirations to enhance this location as a key gateway into Brentwood;
- Landscaping and planting should be used to create a buffer and provide improved visual amenity between the site and surrounding land, minimising any amenity impacts; and
- In accordance with Policy 10.3 Sustainable Transport,
proposals should be accompanied by:
- Green Travel Plan linking this site with Brentwood, Shenfield, West Horndon and Dunton Hills Garden Village, and
- Transport Assessment.
Brentwood Enterprise Park will comprise the following while further detail is provided through supporting Masterplan work for the site:
Land at Former M25 Works Site, South of A127
Provision of 23.5 hectares of employment land is made at the former M25 Works Site with business floorspace (Use Classes B1, B2, and B8) to meet market-led needs along with complimentary associated ancillary uses. The site will have a particular onus on high quality buildings and attractive site frontages to surrounding roads.
Land at Codham Hall, North of A127
An opportunity will be taken to regulate existing employment uses on land at Codham Hall with provision of up to 6.6 hectares of employment development, specifically Use Classes B2 and B8 but with B1 office space where appropriate to support industrial uses and provide front-office functions.
8.19 Previously developed land in this location provides an opportunity for new employment land in the form of a business park. The location is excellent in terms of transport links and is suitable for new floorspace of a scale that it would be extremely difficult to accommodate elsewhere in the Borough. It is consistent with the spatial strategy, creating an "employment village" within the context of other villages and links to Brentwood, and also utilises brownfield land.
8.20 Employment allocations for this site are proposed to be made up of two areas of land adjacent to the M25. Referred to collectively as Brentwood Enterprise Park (draft name), this includes the former M25 works site (101A) to the south of the A127 and land at Codham Hall (101B) to the north, as set out in Figure 8.2 and on the Proposals Map.
8.21 It is proposed that land at the M25 works site (101A) will accommodate a new business park of mixed B-uses. The entire site should provide for high quality building design to reflect this area as a key gateway to the Borough, and into Essex. Separate Masterplanning work will be undertaken in support of this allocation and to inform floorspace mix, density and design, among other things. Consideration should be given to the site frontages from those passing on surrounding roads. The site will provide for a range of business uses, including office floorspace, general employment uses and distribution. In addition, 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.
8.22 This new employment allocation will make a considerable contribution towards the overall employment needs of the Borough, potentially providing for over 2,500 new jobs. It will also provide for new business floorspace to benefit the wider region, including Greater London, where existing floorspace is under pressure from the need to provide for housing needs.
8.23 Land at Codham Hall, site 101B, provides an opportunity to regulate existing industrial uses that have grown up over the years in agricultural type buildings. The site is well screened from the south and can accommodate predominantly B2/B8 uses. A boundary will be drawn around exiting employment uses on site, as defined on the Proposals Map.
8.24 For both 101A and 101B, it is expected that careful attention will be paid to minimising amenity impacts. Provision of improved visual amenity and landscaping will be required as part of any development proposal. Travel options will also need to be considered to minimise impact on surrounding roads and M25 junction 29, particularly to deal with peak traffic flows.
Employment Development and Allocations
8.25 New employment proposals that provide new jobs and boost the local economy will be encouraged, but it is important these are in line with the spatial strategy. For development management purposes, criteria for new employment uses are provided to ensure uses benefit the Borough (Policy 8.3). In addition, land allocations for new and existing employment uses are provided in Policy 8.4, which can be found in map form as part of supporting documents and on the Proposals Map.
Policy 8.3 EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT CRITERIA
Development for employment uses (Class B1, B2 or B8) will be encouraged provided the proposal:
- is of a scale and nature appropriate to the locality;
- provides appropriate landscaping and screening;
- is accessible by public transport, walking and cycling;
- ensures vehicular access avoids residential streets and country lanes, and the proposal does not give rise to significant traffic movements within rural areas;
- is easily accessible to main arterial routes (A127, A12, M25) with appropriate parking provision; and
- is accompanied by a Transport Assessment and Travel Plan in accordance with Policy 10.1 where a significant amount of movement is generated.
8.26 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. In particular, 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.
8.27 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.
Policy 8.4 EMPLOYMENT LAND ALLOCATIONS
Within those areas allocated for general employment and office development listed in Figure 8.3 and on the Proposals 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 Class B uses will only be permitted where:
- the proposal is for 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 Class B uses;
- the proposal is wholly for affordable housing, the site is vacant and development would not prejudice continuation of adjacent employment uses;
- 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
- 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.
8.28 A thriving and entrepreneurial business community is vital for the success of the Borough's economy. Therefore, in areas allocated for general employment and office development on the Proposals Map, the presumption is that existing uses will 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 in order to support business growth and ensure continuing economic vitality.
8.29 Within the central areas of Brentwood and Shenfield, and proposed new employment allocations, areas are identified where further Class B1 office development will be permitted, including mixed-use developments. However, such areas are considered unsuitable for other types of development which could generate employment, in view of the nature of these areas, which include shops, community facilities, leisure uses and housing.
8.30 Where an application is made under clause (c) the applicant should provide information regarding:
- Length of time the property has been unused for employment purposes;
- Period during which it has been actively marketed for such purposes, which includes the possibility of redevelopment and provides evidence of marketing (not normally less than 24 months). Evidence should show where the property has been marketed including publications and property journals as well as clear advertisement on site;
- Prices at which the land and buildings have been marketed during this period, which should reflect similar property in the locality;
- A list of all expressions of interest during this period; and
- 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.
8.31 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.
Policy 8.5 SUPPORTING THE RURAL ECONOMY
The Council will promote a sustainable rural economy by supporting appropriate, small scale rural enterprise. Proposals to diversify the range of economic activities on a farm or in a rural area will be supported where proposals:
- benefit the local community and do not adversely affect quality of life or the amenity of local residents;
- conserve and enhance local character and maintain the openness of Green Belt;
- are consistent in scale and environmental impact with their rural location;
- have no detrimental impact on existing village shops and business;
- demonstrate 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 highway safety; and
- have no unacceptable effect on water quality or flooding, watercourses, biodiversity or important wildlife habitats.
8.32 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.
8.33 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.
8.34 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.
8.35 The design and construction of new rural development must be of high quality and sympathetic to local character. Proposals may be required to safeguard the employment function of the development from other uses through planning conditions/planning gain mechanisms.
8.36 Brentwood Borough is made up of several villages all surrounding the market town of Brentwood and its suburban areas. Within these areas are several local centres, providing key shops and services. The following policies provide the Council's proposed way forward, separating Brentwood Town Centre as the main focus for economic growth while emphasising the importance of retaining and enhancing other district and village centres (including shopping parades).
Policy 8.6 BRENTWOOD TOWN CENTRE
The Council will conserve the positive qualities of Brentwood Town Centre while enhancing and improving negative aspects of function and appearance. Proposed development should balance the requirements of those who live, work, shop, and enjoy leisure time to create a vibrant Town Centre around an efficient, convenient network of public transport, cycling and walking routes. Development will contribute to a high quality High Street and public realm.
Opportunities to enhance the public realm around the Chapel Ruins will be encouraged. This space should be used as the centre of the High Street, somewhere for people to enjoy spending time while providing a link to strategic sites at the Baytree Centre and William Hunter Way car park.
Development at these strategic Town Centre sites will contribute to the wider aims of the Brentwood Town Centre Masterplan.
The Baytree Centre
Redevelopment of the Baytree Centre shopping precinct will create a mixed use scheme to include retail, leisure and residential. This will also provide public realm improvements around the Chapel Ruins to create better links with the High Street.
William Hunter Way
Redevelopment of the car park site will create a mixed use scheme to include new retail and commercial floorspace. This will also improve public realm links to the High Street and the built character of William Hunter Way. Improvements to frontages on the south side of William Hunter Way will be encouraged through landscaping and redevelopment. A mix of uses including residential will be considered appropriate. Proposals affecting the rear of premises on the north side of the High Street will be encouraged to provide additional shopfronts and double fronted shops.
Cultural, entertainment and leisure uses 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:
- Be safe and welcoming, delivering high standards of customer care;
- Allow people to walk and cycle around the centre with ease;
- Offer a vibrant choice of leisure and entertainment for a diversity of ages, lifestyles and cultures, including families and older people;
- Provide a mix of activities that reinforce local character and identity;
- 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.
8.37 Brentwood Town Centre is the Borough's focus for shopping, cultural, leisure community and employment uses. It is also a place where people live. Brentwood attracts many visitors with good access to major roads and rail links and benefits from a refurbished, high quality shopping environment. This policy aims to encourage existing strengths to be supported and developed further, such as a distinctive offer, high quality shopping environment, 'niche' independent shops, and a variety of evening entertainment.
8.38 The Council is preparing a Masterplan for Brentwood Town Centre, to establish a vision and consider how to deliver new development that contributes to enhancing the town through improved links. This will form part of the development plan for the area and so Policy 8.6 points towards the need for development proposals to achieve Masterplan aims. Opportunities for improved links and public realm between these strategic sites are depicted in Figure 8.4.
8.39 Several policy aims in this Plan will be relevant to the Town Centre, such as enhancing the public realm, improving design, achieving sustainable transport, key gateway development opportunities, and protecting local heritage. 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 affordable housing and local jobs. The most 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.
8.40 No other single aspect of a building has such significant impact on its surroundings as shopfronts and signage. Proposals need to incorporate high quality, attractive shopfronts, enhance the street scene and be designed to a high standard, in line with the Council's adopted shopfront guidance SPD.
8.41 The Town Centre has a flourishing night-time economy with many people visiting to eat out and socialise in the evenings. The 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.
8.42 The Baytree Centre provides an important opportunity for improving the range and quality of shopping provision in the town centre. The Centre, while having been refurbished in 2005, does not meet modern retailer needs in the 21st century. The quality of a shopping environment plays an important role in encouraging people to shop in a particular centre and may have a positive impact in the long term on its viability.
8.43 William Hunter Way is a former service road north of Brentwood High Street that faces directly onto the rear of High Street premises. Yards and spaces serving these on the southern side of William Hunter Way are underutilised and untidy, with the area used mainly for car parking. Opportunities exist to improve this frontage and public realm. It will be important to enhance the local environment through improved pedestrian links, encouraging double fronted units, and redeveloping yards for a mix of uses including residential.
8.44 The boundaries of Brentwood Town Centre Conservation Area were 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. Redevelopment of the William Hunter Way car park site provides an excellent opportunity to enhance the Town Centre as a destination with new retail and leisure. This will improve the centre for local residents and attract more visitors with additional investment. To achieve this it is vital that the development is carefully integrated to the High Street and not seen as a separate destination.
Policy 8.7: LOCAL CENTRES
Within the Borough's urban areas, including villages, the Council will promote sustainable urban living and encourage development proposals that support a diverse range of uses, make best use of previously developed land, and protect and enhance local character. Development should enhance the attractiveness, vitality, safety, environmental quality, historic character, employment opportunities and social inclusiveness of these areas.
Change of use of upper floors above commercial premises to residential will be encouraged provided reasonable facilities and amenities are provided for and development does not result in demand to replace lost storage space.
Proposals should take account of the Hierarchy of Place (Policy 5.1). The Borough's Primary Shopping Areas are defined as follows:
- Town Centres: Brentwood Town Centre and Shenfield Hutton Road.
- Village Centre: Ingatestone High Street.
8.45 The Borough has two main centres: Brentwood and Shenfield, both within the wider Brentwood urban area. Within the urban area are also local centres with shopping parades. Across the Borough there are a number of village centres and other shopping parades. The Borough's centres are performing well at a time when the future of high streets is under threat from growing competition. 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.
8.46 The Council is considering whether to include Warley Hill (area around Brentwood Station) within the Brentwood Town Centre boundary, as informed by the Town Centre Masterplan.
8.47 Shenfield is home to a major railway station with fast train services into central London. It will be the terminus for Crossrail and it is vital that the most is made of this opportunity to invest in improving Shenfield's retail offer.
8.48 Ingatestone has the largest village centre in the Borough, an attractive local service and convenience centre with a train station. There is potential for West Horndon and the new settlement at Dunton Hills to be a similar order centre once new housing development provides sufficient investment in community, service and retail facilities. This will need to be considered as part of future Local Plan review.
8.49 Elsewhere in the Borough villages and local centres are served by shopping parades. These provide key local services to the community and communities nearby.
8.50 Retail and Commercial Leisure provides important local services and contribute to the Borough's economy. For development management purposes Policies 8.8 and 8.9 set out expectations regarding new retail development, allocations and non-retail uses in shopping areas.
Policy 8.8 NEW RETAIL AND COMMERCIAL LEISURE DEVELOPMENT
To provide a sustainable network of local shopping and leisure provision, retail and commercial leisure development will be encouraged in the Borough's Primary Shopping Areas, as set out in Policies 8.6 and 8.7, and shown on the Proposals Map. New retail allocations are identified as part of redevelopment opportunities on strategic sites identified in Brentwood Town Centre, and as part of mixed-use development at Dunton Hills Garden Village and West Horndon, as set out in Figure 8.5.
To facilitate consumer choice and strengthen vitality, viability and accessibility, proposed development should:
- be appropriate in scale and character to the local area;
- be based on the sequential approach in accordance with national policy guidance;
- have no detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the centre or other centres nearby;
- be accessible by public transport, foot and cycle;
- be fully integrated with the existing shopping area;
- contribute to an area's attractiveness, accessibility and vibrancy by providing a range of shops to meet local needs;
- provide opportunities for small, independent 'niche' shops;
- not result in subdivision of an existing large retail unit; and
- in Brentwood Town Centre, comply with guidance set out in the Brentwood Town Centre Shopfront Guidance SPD.
- 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:
- the proposal would have no adverse impact on existing centres;
- associated travel demand can be satisfactorily accommodated by the transport network with appropriate mitigation; and
- the proposal does not give rise to any detrimental impact on amenities in the surrounding area travel by more sustainable forms of transport than the private car will be achieved.
8.51 The Borough's main shopping centres are both vital and viable according to Brentwood Retail and Commercial Leisure Study (2014). Surrounding centres outside Brentwood continually seek to improve their offer, either through new floorspace or improvements to shopping environments. In order to compete, Brentwood Town Centre will need to build on existing strengths, notably its distinctive offer, attractive and high quality shopping environment, 'niche' independent shops, convenience goods retailing, services, and evening entertainment such as cafes, bars and restaurants. Other Borough centres will need to develop in ways that maintain their attraction and encourage residents and workers to shop locally in a convenient, accessible and pleasant environment.
8.52 The Borough's primary shopping areas are set out in Policy 8.7 Local Centres and below in Figure 8.6:
8.53 In addition, local shops and shopping parades in smaller centres provide key services to their local communities, as defined in Figure 8.7.
8.54 A full list of areas defined in Figures 8.6 and 8.7 is provided in Appendix 1.
8.55 In line with national guidance the Council aims to support the viability and vitality of existing shopping centres by directing new retail provision here and encouraging new investment and improvements. To ensure the Borough's shopping centres continue to thrive in future, a sequential approach will be adopted with regard to the location of new retail provision which reflects the hierarchy of centres set out in Policies 5.1 and 8.7. Any new major retail provision will only be permitted within those areas allocated for shopping purposes.
8.56 The Council seeks to retain existing large retail units. 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 Town Centre viability.
Policy 8.9 NON-RETAIL USES
Primary and Secondary frontages are set out in the Borough's Primary Shopping Areas as shown on the Proposals Map. Uses within these areas are as follows:
Proposals for retail development will be permitted within the Primary Frontage of Brentwood Town Centre. Further change of use within ground floor Class A1 premises to other Class A uses will only be appropriate where it can be clearly demonstrated that development improves the health of the centre.
Secondary Frontages And Shopping
Within ground floor premises in Brentwood Town Centre Secondary Frontage, Shenfield, Ingatestone and Local Shopping Parades, further A2, A3, A4 or A5 use will only be permitted where the proposal:
- would result in no more than two adjacent non-retail uses
- would result in no more than 40% of total units being used for nonretail uses
- would not prejudice the effective use of upper floors
- would not irreversibly preclude options to return property back to retail use
- retains a shopfront with windows and entrances which relate well to design of buildings and streetscene, complying with shopfront guidance where relevant
- demonstrates any potential related problems, such as noise and smell, 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.
Change of use to any other non-retail uses will not be permitted.
8.57 In order to retain and enhance the attractiveness and competitiveness of the Borough's shopping centres and to meet local shopping needs, it is important to maintain a range of shopping facilities. To avoid an overconcentration of non-retail uses within Borough centres this policy aims to strike a balance between competing uses, ensure a broad range of hopping opportunities, provide for a reasonable dispersal of uses throughout the centre and integrate non-retail uses into the general shopping environment.
8.58 A Primary Frontage is identified in Brentwood Town Centre as the Borough's main focus for retail. This is to ensure retail uses are maintained in the High Street. Secondary frontages allow for more flexibility of use, although a certain amount of retail should be retained. These are shown on the Proposals Map for the Borough's Primary Shopping Areas of Brentwood, Shenfield and Ingatestone. Local shops and parades are also included in criterion for Secondary Frontages to ensure a good mix of retail is retained.
8.59 Local shopping parades and individual shops within residential areas provide 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.
8.60 Retail uses compete with a range of other uses for a presence within town centre shop frontages. Some uses, such as building societies, banks, estate agents, restaurants, takeaways etc, are beneficial since they attract people into the centre 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. However, too great a concentration of these uses can undermine the primary role of the town centre 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 therefore to avoid an overconcentration of non-retail uses, take care over their location and siting and ensure they incorporate window displays to overcome potential problems associated with the creation of "dead frontages".
8.61 Policy 8.9 is written in the context of this need to retain retail for the benefit of a centre, but it is also recognised that a high amount of vacant units is damaging to the health of a centre. For this reason the policy is to be kept under review through consultation to try to achieve a strong policy that is still able to offer the flexibility needed to adapt to an ever changing retail sector. These changes in shopping trends and technology need to be taken into account as part of future retail policy.
8.62 Proposals in Brentwood Town Centre should be in line with the adopted Shopfront Guidance SPD, designed to a high standard while retaining shopfronts.