Thanet's New Local Plan - Options consultation

Issue 7 - How can we support communications infrastructure and home working?

Introduction

Why do we need to address this issue?

National policy requires Local Plans to support the expansion of electronic communications networks, including telecommunications and high speed broadband. It also requires us to facilitate flexible working practices such as the integration of residential and commercial uses within the same unit (live/work)

What evidence we have on this issue

The Economic and Employment Assessment 2012 looks at home working along with the Employment Topic Paper.

Key Facts and Information

  • The proportion of people that are home working is relatively high in Thanet.
  • Home based working is a growing trend and 63% of home based businesses are in the service sectors[1]
  • Advanced, high quality communications infrastructure is essential for sustainable economic growth.

Considering how can we support communications infrastructure and home working

Along with the key facts and information above, the following are factors to take into account and to help you consider how we can support communications infrastructure and home working.

Home-working is a sustainable method of working and can be encouraged as a way to strengthen the economy.

The Economic and Employment Assessment 2012 highlighted that home working is significant in Thanet. It is not clear from the evidence whether these are small local businesses starting up from home or employees of companies potentially outside the District. In either case this is considered beneficial to the wider economy as it is likely to bring money into the District.

As the service sector represents a significant proportion of Thanet's economy it is reasonable to assume that live/work is a growth opportunity for Thanet's economy and should be supported.

Some small scale home-working may not require planning permission. However, where home-working does require planning permission consideration should be given to the impacts upon the neighbourhood, including for example traffic, noise and disturbance. In order to support such proposals but to ensure that any potential impact is acceptable, an option is to include a positive policy supporting such uses subject to criteria.

Flexible office space (workhubs) with professional equipment and meeting space that can be hired and used in an ad hoc manner by home based workers can also support home working. Business advice may also be important. It is considered that these facilities can be accommodated on identified Business Parks or in the town centres.

Communication Infrastructure

As well as supporting home based working, communications infrastructure is essential to a successfully functioning economy.

The development of high speed broadband technology and other communications networks also plays a vital role in enhancing the provision of local community facilities and services.

In order to support this, an option is to ensure all new development or particular developments are appropriately supported by high speed broadband and other communications technology. However, this may not always be feasible and/or viable.

1. Understanding Kent's Home Based Business Sector, service sector is the sector of the economy that provides services rather than goods, and includes attention, advice, access, experience and discussion. for example transport, sale of goods, entertainment, hotels and banking [back]