Draft Gloucester City Plan 2016 - 2031

Draft Gloucester City Plan

B: Economic Development

B: Economic Development

Policies in this section:

  • Policy B1: Employment and Skills Plans
  • Policy B2: Existing Key Employment Sites
  • Policy B3: New Employment Sites
  • Policy B4: Existing Employment Space
  • Policy B5: New Employment Space

Key issues:

With the emerging modifications to the JCS and the need for further employment evidence base for Gloucester city, the employment context and evidence base are still being finalised.  However with our current knowledge the following are considered to be the key employment issues for the city:

  • The regeneration of brownfield sites.
  • Attracting new office investment into the City Centre.
  • Pressure for retail development on protected B Class employment sites with potential retail impact issues.
  • Potential loss of ‘unviable‘ employment sites that can be evidenced as suitable for Starter Homes development.
  • Retention of vacant employment sites outside the city centre that are situated on arterial routes.
  • Retention of the large greenfield employment commitment at Kingsway Framework 5 for employment purposes
  • Delivery of the JCS strategic allocations around Gloucester, including new employment.

A background topic paper on economic development issues can be found on the council’s website by visiting www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

Key evidence:

  • JCS Strategic Assessment of Land Availability Gloucester (2013)
  • Gloucester City Strategic Assessment of Land Availability (2014/2015 & 2016)
  • JCS NLP Employment Land Review (March 2011/August 2011)
  • NLP JCS Employment Land Assessment Update (Oct 2015)
  • JCS Economic Update Paper (Nov 2015)
  • Strategic Economic Plan for Gloucestershire First (2014)
  • General Permitted Development Order (2015)

 Other key relevant strategies:

Gloucester Regeneration and Employment Strategy (2016 – 2021)

Relevant National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs:

  • 18, 20, 21, 22, 24 and 161

Relevant policies from the JCS:

  •  SD.2 Employment

JCS strategic objectives met:

  • Strategic Objective 1: Building a strong and competitive economy
  • Strategic Objective 2: Ensuring vitality of town centres
  • Strategic Objective 3: Supporting a prosperous rural economy

Key City Plan principles met:

  •  1, 2, 4, 7 & 8

Economic development policies

Policy B1: Employment and Skills Plans

For major housing development (20 or more units) and major commercial development (1,000 sq. m of new commercial indoor floor space) applicants will be required to submit an Employment and Skills Plan (ESP). The ESP will identify opportunities for the employment and skill development of local people through the implementation of the development proposal.

The ESP should address priorities identified and agreed at an early stage through liaison with the Council and local employment and skills agencies. The ESP will have targets and these will be in conformity with industry standard benchmarks of the employment / skills outcomes expected from the particular size and type of construction proposed.

There is a need for a focused improvement in educational attainment and skills in Gloucester. In order for local people to get jobs it is obvious that they need the right education and skills in order to be aligned with the needs of employers. But employers also need to play their part in giving opportunities to suitably qualified people from the local area.

In the long term it is not socially or environmentally sustainable for people to travel long distances to work so employers should be encouraged to recruit locally.

The Gloucester Regeneration and Economic Development Strategy 2016-2021 under Objective 4 seeks to:  

  • Promote recruit local policies and employment and training plans, connecting people and communities to economic opportunity.
  • Work with partners to ensure new work opportunities target those in disadvantaged communities who have the support to ensure they are well placed to benefit from such opportunities.
  • Work with employers and skills providers to ensure there is a direct correlation between skills supply and demand.

Policy B2: Existing key employment sites

As existing large-scale employment commitments, the following sites are safeguarded for B Class employment purposes in order to ensure a supply of employment land within the City over the plan period:

  • Land at Kingsway Framework 5
  • Land at Spinnaker Park
  • Land at Corinium Avenue
  • Land to the North of Walls 
  • Land at Waterwells Business Park
  • Land at Northern Railway Triangle

Other existing employment sites will be safeguarded unless alternative proposals for development intensify levels of employment on that site.

Policy B3: New employment sites

With the aim of locating jobs near to economically active populations, new employment development will be supported:

  1. At Strategic Allocations as outlined in Policy SA1 of the Adopted Joint Core Strategy.
  2. Within new or existing buildings within Gloucester.
  3. At suitable locations where it would encourage mixed use development, the expansion of existing businesses and small and medium sized enterprises.
  4. At sites allocated for employment in this plan.

Policy B4: Existing employment space

A change of use from offices (Class B1) in the City Centre and sites allocated for employment development in this plan will not normally be permitted, unless alternative proposals for development intensify levels of employment on that site. The proposal must be considered acceptable against the plan policies as a whole.

Proposal which result in the loss of a B Class use outside the City Centre and sites allocated for employment development in this plan will only be supported where there is clear evidence that the site is no longer viable and suitable for B Class use. The Council will encourage and support other employment generating uses subject to acceptability against the plan policies as a whole.

Policy B5: New employment space

Development proposals which enhance employment provision and help promote B Class employment will be supported where:

  1. The proposal is appropriate in terms of its setting, impact, connectivity, scale, design and size;
  2. The proposal makes better use of previously developed land or buildings;
  3. The proposal is an appropriate extension to strengthen or diversify an existing business operation;
  4. The proposal provides for opportunities for new office development in appropriate locations of the city which are well located to the road network and public transport network.

Gloucester currently acts as an economic growth centre for the County, and this role is set to continue. The City’s current employment provision is principally focussed within the Bristol Road corridor, (including Green Farm and Olympus Park), the City Centre, Barnwood Business Park, the Eastern Avenue gateway and Waterwells Business Park. These areas should be retained as a focus for local employment and principally for B class employment uses.

In meeting Gloucester’s growing population it is imperative that new jobs are secured for the City and where possible existing employment areas are protected and strengthened for this purpose. Therefore there is a presumption against the redevelopment of existing employment land for other land uses where the location remains both viable and suitable for employment purposes.

Opportunities for new employment land also exist to the south of the City at the Kingsway urban extension in Quedgeley, which is in close proximity to the existing Waterwells Business Park, as well as a potential extension to the Waterwells Business Park. There are also opportunities for the more efficient use of existing employment land off Bristol Road and Eastern Avenue. Investment in these existing employment areas will be encouraged.

Measures to build enterprise, creativity, innovation and new skills will also be encouraged.