Employment Land Retention Supplementary Planning Document

Ended on the 15th February 2010
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Appendix 3 - Policy Context

1.1 This section summarises the strategic planning context that governs the content, purpose and direction of this SPD. As part of the process of developing this SPD, it will be subject to Sustainability Appraisal, incorporating the requirements of Strategic Environmental Assessment. 

National Planning Policy and Guidance

PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development

1.2 This sets out the Government’s objectives for the planning system. This PPS reiterates the four aims for sustainable development:

  • Social progress which recognises the needs of everyone
  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources, and
  • The maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment

1.3 The PPS states that planning should facilitate and promote sustainable and inclusive patterns of urban and rural development by; ‘contributing to sustainable economic growth’. In paragraph 23 it sets out for Local Planning Authorities the key principles of sustainable economic growth, these include:

  • Recognise that economic development can deliver environmental and social benefits
  • Ensure that suitable locations are available for industrial, commercial, retail, public sector, tourism, and leisure developments, so that the economy can prosper.
  • Provide for improved productivity, choice and competition, particularly when technological and other requirements of modern business are changing rapidly, and
  • Actively promote and facilitate good quality development, which is sustainable and consistent with their plans

Draft PPS 4: Planning for Prosperous Economies

1.4 Draft PPS4 sets out the Government’s planning policies for sustainable economic development. The draft guidance sets out an extensive list of what economic development is – this includes development within the B Use Classes3, town centre uses (including retail, leisure, entertainment facilities and more intensive sports and recreation facilities, offices and arts, culture and tourism) and other development which achieves at least one of the following objectives:

  1. provides employment opportunities;
  2. generates wealth or;
  3. produces or generates an economic output or product.

1.5 The draft PPS considers that provision should be made for a broad range of business types such as small start-up businesses, through to small and medium enterprises as well as larger commercial or industrial premises. It further states that all planning applications for economic development other than main town centre uses should be considered favourably unless the economic, social and or environmental costs outweigh the benefits.

1.6 The guidance states that development plan policies should avoid designating sites for single or restricted use classes, and avoid carrying forward existing allocations where these cannot be justified. Local Planning Authorities need to development an evidence base to understand both existing business needs and likely changes in the market.

PPS 6: Planning for Town Centres

1.7 This PPS covers town centres and sets out appropriate uses for the main town centres, which include office uses. The government’s key objective is to ‘promote their vitality and viability’ by planning for the growth and development of existing centres; and promoting and enhancing existing centres, by focusing development in such centres.

PPS 12: Local Spatial Planning

1.8 The PPS sets out the contents and process for producing Local Development Frameworks (LDFs). In paragraph 4.1 it sets out the parameters for the Core Strategy. The Core Strategy for Hastings should set out a clear spatial vision for meeting employment needs and be consistent with other relevant strategies. It is specifically charged with implementing the spatial policies within the Regional Spatial Strategy, and establishes the broad location for delivering employment needs. The PPS also details that SPD’s may be prepared in order to add detail to existing planning policies.

Regional Policy and Guidance

The South East Plan May 2009

1.9 The South East Plan was published in May 2009 and is the Regional Plan for the South East. These South East Plan policies have replaced Regional Planning Guidance 9 (RPG 9) which was published in 2001.

1.10 PPS 11 requires Regional Spatial Strategies to provide general locations and criteria for strategic site selection for economic development and regeneration. The South East Plan therefore sets out a criteria based policy for employment and land provision. It does not however set targets for employment growth or targets for employment land and floorspace.

1.11 In Section 17 the RSS sets out the Sussex Coast Sub-Regional policies which include the whole of Hastings. This section suggests that there is a general shortage of available new business sites and premises in some parts of the sub-region.

1.12 Policy SCT 1 the Core Sub Regional Strategy seeks as a priority to pro-actively pursue and promote sustainable economic growth and regeneration. The aim is to raise the sub-regional economy up to the South East average.

1.13 Policy SCT 2 Enabling Economic Regeneration seeks to realise a step-change in the sub-region’s economic performance, whilst increasing the areas attraction as a business location.

1.14 Policy SCT 3 Management of Existing Employment Sites and Premises seeks to deliver sufficient appropriate sites and premises for business and other uses that will help to facilitate the regeneration of the local economy. This policy will help ensure that sufficient appropriate sites are available to facilitate economic regeneration.

1.15 Policy SCT4 Employment Priority in New Land Allocations gives priority to employment rather than other uses in those locations most conductive to business and industry to ensure delivery of employment is supported.

1.16 Elsewhere in the Plan, Policy SP2 defines Hastings as a Regional Hub;  a major employment centre, with a focus for future major development for employment, with increasing accessibility as being central to the plan for an integrated regeneration package.

1.17 Policy SP3 Urban Focus and Urban Renaissance considers that development should be within urban areas and should foster the principles of good accessibility to employment, housing, retail and leisure in order to avoid unnecessary travel.

1.18 Section 6 Sustainable Economic Development considers the economic performance of the South East as critical importance to the UK as a whole and fosters links to the Regional Economic Strategy 2006-2016 (RES) which details the economic vision for the South East to be a world class region achieving sustainable prosperity.

1.19 Policy RE 2: Supporting Nationally and Regionally Important Sectors and Clusters states that local development documents should ensure that land and premises are available to meet the specific requirements of nationally and regional important sectors and clusters. Whilst interventions at sub-regional and the local level may include the provision and safeguarding of land in appropriate locations, including the provision of premises of differing sizes, types, prices and quality.

1.20 Policy RE3: Employment and Land Provision considers that local authorities should have regard to strategic and local business needs and in planning for the location, quantity and nature of employment land and premises, should facilitate a flexible supply of land to meet the carrying needs of the economic sectors.  Accessible and well located industrial and commercial sites should be retained where there is a good prospect of employment use.

1.21 Policy RE5 Smart Growth details that local authorities will seek to enable businesses to work as efficiently as possible, through considering their needs for land and premises, movement, housing and ICT. 

1.22 Policy RE6 Competitiveness and Addressing Structural Economic Weakness considers that the coastal belt as defined within the South East Plan, their local development documents will give priority to delivering economic development in allocating land, protect sites for industrial and commercial use where there is a good prospect of employment use and should also consider whether any upgrading or improvement of existing sites is required.

Local Planning Context

Hastings Local Plan 2004

1.23 The Hastings Local Plan 2004 is the adopted local plan for the area, and covers the period up to 2011. In the chapter on the Local Economy policies are set out for Employment Land and tourism. In paragraph 5.05 it recognises that tourism and leisure activities, the arts and cultural industries, and IT and learning based activities all play an important role in providing employment and regenerating the town.

1.24 Policy E1 allocated three sites totalling up to 8.7 hectares (ha) for employment uses, land west of Queensway and Ivyhouse Lane. The plan is generally permissive towards the establishment of small industrial units and B1(a) (offices and hi-tech), subject to fulfilling various environmental conditions.

1.25 Policy E4 seeks to retain existing employment uses, unless they have an unacceptable impact on the amenities of existing residents, when an exception to the policy might be made.

1.26 The purpose of this SPD is to enlighten those circumstances the safeguarding of the employment land is in question, and the steps which would need to be fulfilled in order to achieve planning permission to an alternative use.


3 B1 Business, Offices, research and development, light industry. B2 General industrial, B8 Storage and distribution.

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