West of England Joint Spatial Plan

West of England Joint Spatial Plan: Publication - November 2017

POLICY 4: THE EMPLOYMENT LAND REQUIREMENT

The Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) supports the delivery of 82,500 additional jobs in the West of England between 2016 and 2036. The Plan seeks to enable access to employment opportunities for all through the spatial distribution of development.

Development in the following key strategic employment locations will ensure the continued economic growth of the West of England. The locations include:

Existing city and strategic town centres

  • Bristol City Centre
  • Bath City Centre, and
  • Weston-super-Mare Town Centre

Enterprise Zones and Areas

  • Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone
  • Avonmouth Severnside Enterprise Area
  • Filton Enterprise Area
  • Emersons Green Enterprise Area
  • Bath Riverside Enterprise Zone
  • Somer Valley Enterprise Zone
  • Junction 21 Enterprise Area, Weston-super-Mare

Key strategic infrastructure employment locations

  • Bristol Port,
  • Bristol Airport,
  • Oldbury Power Station new nuclear build.

Additional employment opportunities are provided throughout the West of England in town, district and local centres, business and industrial estates.

These contribute to the stability of the sub-regional economy, and maintenance of employment land in these locations will be addressed through policy set out in the Local Plans. Improved accessibility to employment for residents in south Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare will be supported through investment in sustainable transport infrastructure.

Strategic Development Locations (SDL)

In order to support the delivery of the employment growth required in the West of England, new employment land may be identified at the SDLs. The amount of employment land provided for at the SDLs will respond to the amount of residential development proposed and the context and scale of any existing community in the area. The delivery of employment land in the SDLs will be secured through allocation and policy detail in Local Plans, and through master planning and Supplementary Planning Documents as appropriate.

 

Reasoned Justification for Policy 4

22. In order to support the continued economic growth of the West of England, the area will need to be able to accommodate an additional 82,500 jobs (c.69,400 Full Time Equivalents) between 2016 and 2036 (all use classes not just B Class use). This figure has been derived from the 2015 Medium High growth forecasts from Oxford Economics with a small uplift of 1.1%.

23. The growth in jobs will be supported by the portfolio of employment opportunities available across the West of England. The continued changes in the employment market mean that flexibility is required within the employment land portfolio, in order to respond to changes in market demand during the plan period and beyond.

24. The employment land requirement to support the delivery of employment growth has been assessed, and the Economic Development Needs Assessment (EDNA) has identified that existing employment land is sufficient to deliver strategic employment needs, and the anticipated jobs growth over the period to 2036. Whilst the EDNA identified some localised mismatches between supply and demand for example in some parts of the WoE such as the Avonmouth / Severnside area, within the single functional economic market of the West of England, the opportunities to satisfy economic and employment land needs exceed the requirements of the highest employment job forecasts. Although additional jobs will be delivered from the full range of employment types, the EDNA deals only with provision for office, industrial and warehouse uses ('B' class uses. This is consistent with the requirements of the NPPF and national PPG).

25. The employment potential of the strategic employment locations will continue to be reviewed to inform detailed policy formulation through each authority's Local Plan. The strategic focus for the increase in employment opportunity will primarily be within the Enterprise Zones and Enterprise Areas.

26. The overall strategy is to focus growth in City Centres and EZs which are sustainable locations and are successful business locations.

27. Whilst major growth in employment is targeted at these areas, additional growth opportunities for port, airport and power station related activities, are recognised at 3 key strategic infrastructure employment locations, Bristol Airport in North Somerset and Bristol Port in North Somerset/Bristol, and Oldbury Power Station in South Gloucestershire. This is in response to the evidenced employment growth potential at these locations. Growth at Bristol Airport has the potential to create a range of new employment opportunities. However, significant growth in this location will require the delivery of improved public transport access from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. In addition, the construction of Hinkley Point C in Somerset, though outside the plan area, will have a significant impact on business supply chains and labour markets across the West of England (e.g. as demonstrated by location of EDF headquarters at Bridgwater House, Bristol).

28. The Strategic Development Locations where appropriate provide for employment land, proportionate to the scale of development proposed and the proximity of the development to other employment provision, and local employment need. The detailed capacity of the SDLs may be further tested in the preparation of the Local Plans. Although there will continue to be growth opportunities throughout the West of England as a result of intensification of activity within existing local business and industrial estates, there are constrained opportunities for new employment land in south Bristol.

29. The clear priority for the development of brownfield land in the urban areas of the West of England will provide the opportunity for increased homes and employment using vacant or underused land. Key sites available for an increase in employment activity or for the release to housing land from employment use within Bristol City, the urban edge of Bristol within South Gloucestershire, and within Weston-super-Mare and Bath will be identified through the new Local Plans.

30. Additional employment opportunities are provided throughout the West of England in town, district and local centres, business and industrial estates. These contribute to the stability of the sub-regional economy, and maintenance of employment land in these locations will be addressed through policy set out in the Local Plans.