West of England Joint Spatial Plan: Towards the Emerging Spatial Strategy

Towards the Emerging Spatial Strategy Document

Economy and Employment

In order to assess the broad level of new employment provision required over the plan period an Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA) has been undertaken. Taking account of labour availability, commuting and trading patterns the EDNA has reviewed some 25 existing strategic employment locations including the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and Enterprise Areas.

The study identified an estimated supply of c.631 hectares of unbuilt, developable employment land across the plan area as well as the potential to provide a further 265000m2 of B1 (office) floorspace in the main City/Town Centre locations. Whilst the EDNA identifies some localized mismatches between supply and demand (in particular a relative oversupply of development opportunity at land at Severnside); when viewed as a single functional economic market area this level of opportunity is well matched to meeting the future economic and employment needs of the plan area. In fact the scale of the opportunity exceeds the requirements of the highest level of future job growth forecasts.

Within the Plan Area employment land is however under continuing pressure from other land uses which command higher financial returns and forecasting future economic growth is not an exact science. It is therefore recommended that the broad policy of the JSP should be to retain the level of growth opportunity identified through the EDNA and no new major employment allocations over and above this are proposed at this time.

Local Plans will need to consider further any employment provision required in association with new strategic housing as well as policies to address any localized mismatches between the supply and demand for different types of employment provision. This will make an important contribution in ensuring an appropriate range and balance of employment land particularly where new strategic growth is being identified as part of mixed and balanced communities.

It is recognized that significant interventions and joint working between the public and private sectors will be required to bring forwards appropriate and targeted development. A strategic approach through the JSP will help to deliver the priorities identified in the Local Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).

The spatial strategy in terms of employment growth is aligned to the SEP, and focused at the Enterprise Zones and Areas and south Bristol. As identified in the SEP there are aspirations for job growth in South Bristol to assist in addressing the inequality gap.

The enterprise zone and areas have capacity to support the provision of up to 78,400 jobs depending on end uses. This is more than two thirds of the identified employment growth of 82,500 across the plan period. Further third of employment will come through the needs of the increased population including; GPs, shops and leisure uses.

Consultation Question 3

Does the proposed strategy make adequate provision to address the economic and employment needs of the West of England?

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