Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

Employment Land

1.26 The employment land strategy sets out how the Council proposes to support job growth through the allocation of employment land for development, the safeguarding of existing premises and flexibility regarding the types of development considered appropriate. The supply of employment land is supported by the town centre strategy which also provides land for economic development and job growth.

1.27 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires that local planning authorities set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively and proactively encourages sustainable growth, identify strategic sites to meet anticipated needs over the plan period, support existing business sectors and plan for new and emerging sectors. It also requires flexibility and states that the long term protection of sites with little chance of being used for employment purposes should be avoided.

1.28 In accordance with the NPPF an assessment of current and future growth sectors has been carried out along with an assessment of Thanet's employment sites and land available.

1.29 Forecasts show that Thanet will need in the region of 15 ha of employment land (B1, B2 and B8 uses) over the plan period. Methodology and discussion of this is contained in the employment growth topic paper and the Economic and Employment Assessment 2012.

1.30 There is a need to provide land for potential inward investment and for growing existing businesses to relocate to. There is also a need for affordable premises for the indigenous market and start up space also fulfills an important role.

1.31 Thanet needs to cater mainly for small to medium sized businesses and tourism related trade. Some land needs to be made available for larger businesses but some of these types of businesses may be drawn towards Discovery Park Enterprise Zone and Thanet's employment allocations will complement this trend. Some larger established sites such as Pysons Road, Haine Road and Westwood Industrial Estate are in need of some investment to secure their renewal and/or upgrade. Good quality, popular sites that are within the urban and rural confines are retained and protected. Of particular importance are quality sites that support Thanet's small and medium enterprises such as Manston Green. As far as possible there is a balanced distribution of sites across the district.

1.32 There is a need to keep a range of sites for cheap premises and business start ups. Thanet also needs to retain some sites that can accommodate uses such as paint spraying and tyre recycling. The range of sites includes some in the rural area to support the rural economy. A "flagship" site for inward investment that can also accommodate growing indigenous businesses is provided for at Manston Business Park. There is also a need for "flexible" sites where alternative non Class B uses will be allowed. This reflects the current trend and ensures land is provided to meet all types of economic development.

1.33 Thanet's portfolio of employment sites caters for all of these uses both in terms of new sites and existing sites protected for future employment purposes. The following policy identifies Thanet's employment allocations, where new employment generating development will be promoted and supported. These sites are shown on the Policies Map.

Policy SP03 - Land Allocated for Economic Development

The following sites are allocated for business and employment generating purposes:

  • Manston Business Park, Manston
  • Eurokent (part)*, Ramsgate
  • Thanet Reach Business Park, Broadstairs
  • Hedgend Industrial Estate, St Nicholas

At Manston Business Park and Hedgend Industrial Estate development will be restricted to use classes B1 (business), B2 (general industry) and B8 (storage and distribution). Eurokent is allocated for flexible business use in accordance with Policy SP07 (2)* Thanet Reach Business Park is also suitable for education uses as well as B1 and B8 uses.

Development proposals must be accompanied by a transport assessment and travel plan in accordance with Policy TP01 and provide for at least one electric vehicle charging point for every 10 spaces provided.

* these are flexible employment sites, where wider employment generating uses will be allowed in addition to B1, B2 and B8 uses. Development must be compatible with neighbouring uses. Proposals for main town centre uses should also comply with Policy E05 - the sequential test. These uses will be expected to contribute towards the Local Employment and Training Fund.