PART ll VOLUME 2
Policy Reasoned Justification
 
Employment
  5.1 THE ROLE OF THE PLAN
  5.2 GOVERNMENT POLICY GUIDANCE
  5.3 ECONOMIC TRENDS
  5.4 ISSUES
  5.5 OBJECTIVES
  5.6 POLICY JUSTIFICATION
   
 
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5.1 THE ROLE OF THE PLAN
5.1.1 The Council places the highest priority on the development and improvement of the local economy. The Regeneration Department has been established, encompassing the key functions of the Planning, Economic Development and Transportation and Highways Departments. This facilitates an integrated approach to regeneration. Partnerships have been developed with other regeneration agencies and the private sector to encourage new investment and maximise external funding for training and employment initiatives. The Council has taken a leading role in the Wakefield Economic Alliance and the Wakefield European Partnership to retain existing jobs, create new employment opportunities and improve the environment of the District.
5.1.2 The performance of the District's economy will determine the number and type of jobs, the amount of wealth created, the level of building activity and hence the demand for land for industry and business uses. The Unitary Development Plan is not in itself able to determine the level of economic activity but it is able to make a positive contribution to economic growth by adopting a strategy and policies for land use which enable advantage to be taken of opportunities for new investment which arise.
5.1.3 It is the role of the UDP to ensure that sufficient land is allocated in appropriate locations to meet the anticipated needs of industry and business during the Plan period and to ensure that the supply of land acts as an encouragement to development, investment and job creation. This requirement has to be balanced against other needs within a global framework of promoting sustainable development patterns, minimising the impact on natural resources and reducing the need to travel.
   
 
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5.2 GOVERNMENT POLICY GUIDANCE
5.2.1 The Government's latest planning policy guidance on industrial and commercial development is contained in PPG4 published in November 1992. This puts increased emphasis on the need for development plans to take account of both the locational demands of business and wider environmental objectives.
5.2.2 PPG4 also emphasises:
  a) The importance of the plan making process;
  b) The ability of planning authorities to propose policies aimed at channelling particular types of business development into particular locations;
  c) The need to integrate consideration of business locational needs with transportation and environmental policies;
  d) The need for development plans to provide greater certainty and assistance for small business.
     
5.2.3 Regional Planning Guidance for Yorkshire and the Humber interprets national guidance for the purposes of the UDP. The basic intention of the Guidance is to revitalise and diversify the economy and increase the supply and range of available jobs. The Wakefield District has not suffered as much from inner city decay as other West Yorkshire urban areas but the decline of its traditional industries has led to an increase of vacant and derelict land both within and outside built-up areas. In framing policies and proposals every opportunity has been taken to bring vacant and derelict land in built-up areas back into industrial or business use, where appropriate.
5.2.4 Regional Planning Guidance (RPG) stresses the need to promote inward investment by making available attractive and developable sites, especially in areas of high unemployment and industrial decline. It emphasises the need for development plans to create sustainable patterns of development by reducing the need to travel, and the need to promote alternatives to the private car.
5.2.5 RPG highlights the need for development plans to fit into wider strategies for regeneration. They must also have regard to the various sources of Government and European funding and the need for development to take place through partnerships between the public and private sectors, communities and voluntary organisations.
5.2.6 The policies set out in Section 5.6 and the Community Area proposals are framed within the context of RPG, PPG4 and government guidance on sustainable development referred to in the most recent PPG's, notably PPG1 published in February 1997.
 
 
Use Classes Order 1987
5.2.7 The Use Classes Order 1987 introduced a major change to the way in which offices and light industry are classified which has influenced how policies and land use proposals in the UDP have to be framed. The Order now makes a distinction between offices which do and do not provide services principally for visiting members of the public. The former are included in a separate Class A2 whilst the latter are grouped with light industrial uses in Class B1 "Business Use".
5.2.8 Under previous Development Plan policies light industry has been acceptable on a wider range of sites than have offices. The Use Classes Order now enables light industrial premises to be changed to Class B1 office use without the need for planning permission. In effect therefore in most circumstances office development will be acceptable in the same locations as light industry e.g. within residential areas and on industrial estates.
5.2.9 An amendment to the 1987 Use Classes Order in 1995 removed the "Special Industrial Classes" B3 to B7. In response to the greater flexibility introduced by amendments to the Use Classes Order and to take account of the changing structure and activities of firms, it is proposed that the term 'Employment Uses' be adopted in the UDP to cover business (B1), general industrial (B2) and warehousing (B8) uses together. Employment uses specifically exclude general retailing.
   
 
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5.3 ECONOMIC TRENDS
Employment
5.3.1 The Wakefield District traditionally relied heavily on coal mining as a major source of employment. Since 1984 more than 15,000 mining jobs have been lost, although some 1200 mineworkers are still resident in the District. The majority of these commute to Kellingley or further afield to the Selby complex. Despite some encouragement to the coal industry in the Government's 1998 Energy Review, further job losses may occur without further investment in cleaner coal burning technology.
5.3.2 In the 1980s and early 1990s there were major job losses in engineering, glass, confectionery and the clothing and textile industries. Further losses took place in the 1990s in transport and communications, gas, electricity and water industries which were spread throughout the District and have contributed to the need to find new sources of employment. The overall number of people employed in the District fell by 4,900 (4.3%) between 1987 and 1995.
5.3.3 Unemployment has fallen from 14,445 in November 1993 to 7,641 in November 1998. This represents a fall from 10.0% of the workforce to 5.1% and is in line with the national trends. It has been recognised that claimant count methods do underestimate real levels of unemployment, particularly in coalfield areas such as Wakefield District. There were 20,000 fewer men employed in the local economy in 1995 compared with 1971 and 15,000 more women. Much of the new employment created has also been in temporary, part-time and lower paid jobs. It is estimated therefore that there is still a need to provide up to 15,000 additional jobs in the early years of the new millennium to cater for the needs and aspirations of the existing workforce and the new generation of young job seekers.
5.3.4 The provision of jobs outside the District, particularly in Leeds, has also been a major factor. The 1991 Census workplace statistics show that 5,600 more residents travelled to work outside the District than came in from outside. This represents a substantial change since 1981 when the numbers moving in and out almost balanced. The net outflow to Leeds was some 7,500 reflecting its increasing dominance as a centre for employment in the service industries.
5.3.5 Despite an increase in commuting, the District still has a 74.9% self-containment factor; i.e. the proportion of the workforce that lives and works within the District. The 1998 Travel to Work Area Review resulted in a new Travel to Work Area for the Wakefield District with the loss of Dewsbury in the West but retaining 6 wards of Selby / North Yorkshire in the East from the two former TTWAs covering the District.
5.3.6 Retailing remains one of the largest employment sectors in the District. Other growth sectors are financial and other business services, leisure and recreation, hotels and catering and other professional services.
5.3.7 Traditionally, public administration has been a major employer in Wakefield. Although Wakefield's role as an administrative centre has diminished somewhat following the abolition of West Yorkshire Metropolitan County Council in 1986, public administration was the largest employment sector in 1995, employing 26,900 people.
5.3.8 A new type of workplace which has increased in the 1990's is the call centre and West Yorkshire is a particularly attractive location. Call centres are classified B1 in the Use Classes Order 1987, and are therefore suitable development for town centres and business parks.
 
 
Land Use
5.3.9 The demand for land for industry and business rose dramatically after the beginning of 1986, as the national and local economy expanded following a period of stagnation and low levels of building activity. By far the largest developments have been the Coca-Cola / Schweppes and Nacanco factories which took 29 hectares of land at Wakefield 41. Apart from this the most significant feature in recent years has been the requirement for sites of 2-8 hectares for distribution warehouses, mainly at the industrial estates in the motorway and A1 corridors - Wakefield 41 Industrial Park, Normanton Industrial Estate, Whitwood Freight Centre and Dale Lane, South Elmsall. This demand has resulted from a number of firms, particularly supermarket chains, replacing their existing distribution networks with a few large warehouses, and the recognition that Wakefield District is one of the best locations in the north of England for distribution activities.
5.3.10 There has also been a steady, though less dramatic, rise in the demand for smaller sites. This has been more widespread throughout the District and has arisen mainly from local service and manufacturing firms wishing to expand or reorganise their operations.
5.3.11 One of the factors influencing the demand for smaller sites is the national trend for large firms to subcontract parts of their operations to small specialist firms. There has been an expansion in the number of small service sector firms involved in such activities as subcontracting in the building industry, repairing and servicing electrical equipment and vehicles, haulage, hiring, catering and office cleaning. Many require a small unit on an industrial estate or in an industrial area.
5.3.12 Even though manufacturing employment has been falling for many years, national figures demonstrate that the demand for new industrial floorspace and land has continued to grow, as firms adopt modern methods of production which require more space within and around buildings.
5.3.13 Wakefield has the smallest commercial office market of all the West Yorkshire Districts. Wakefield city centre dominates the commercial office sector. The growth in office floorspace has coincided with the expansion of service sector employment noted above. However, there has been very little new office building in the centre in recent years, nearly all the new floorspace has been in the form of conversions from other uses.
5.3.14 Since the early 1980's there has been a growing demand for office accommodation outside established town centres. A change of emphasis in office policies was introduced in the original UDP to permit office uses which did not need to be located in town centres to develop on industrial estates. A number of free standing office buildings forming administrative centres for firms with activities elsewhere have been built at Wakefield 41 and Normanton Industrial Estate, together with business park developments at Wakefield 41 and Monckton Road, Wakefield. About 23,000sq.m of new B1 office floorspace has been completed in the District during the UDP period. Over two-thirds has been built in the Western Plan Area.
 
 
Investment
5.3.15 Since 1989 the District has been eligible for Objective 2 funding from the European Commission as a Declining Industrial Region. It has also benefited from funds from the RECHAR and RETEX programmes for coal and textile areas. A number of major schemes have been undertaken with European funding including the reclamation of the Glasshoughton colliery site with the help of English Partnerships and the private sector. Existing European programmes finish at the end of 1999 but it is hoped that there will be a further successful bid for the District for support after that date. Schemes promoted under the existing programmes and any new funding after 1999 are likely to have implications for land use in the District. Other external funding through the Assisted Area Programme and the Single Regeneration Budget may also have land use implications.
   
 
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5.4 ISSUES
5.4.1 A number of issues arise from the trends outlined above which need to be addressed in the UDP:
 
  • The disparity between the areas of highest unemployment and those where most new development is taking place.
The greatest need for new jobs is in the south east of the District, whilst the majority of new development is taking place in the motorway corridors of the north and west. A balance needs to be struck between the needs of developers and those of each community to be provided with local job opportunities. If the local authority attempts through its land use policies to divert development away from the areas of demand too rigorously, there is a chance the sites will not prove to be attractive and job opportunities will be lost to the District. An alternative solution may be to improve transport services from the areas of high unemployment to the parts of the District where jobs are being provided.
 
  • How to capitalise on the potential growth in service industries.
Wakefield city is the main service centre. Many service sector firms who service or supply other firms or individual households want to be located in or near the main centres of business and population. Service sector jobs are being created in and around Wakefield and it seems that the City and its immediate surrounds offer the greatest potential for further growth in the service industries. Policies are required which harness this potential to the benefit of the District without creating unacceptable levels of congestion or infringing environmental constraints.
 
  • The need to take advantage of present and proposed transport links.
Parts of Wakefield District already enjoy good communications by road, rail and canal. The District has benefited from the Government's increased expenditure on the national road network and from rail electrification. The success of the application to the EEC for recognition as a Declining Industrial Region under Objective 2 of the Reformed Structural Funds has also brought an increase in the amount of money available to support infrastructure schemes, including transport. Advantage needs to be taken of resulting opportunities to further industrial and commercial development.
 
  • The need to encourage the appropriate re-use of previously developed or 'brownfield' sites.
In accordance with government advice on sustainable development the Council welcomes appropriate proposals which contribute towards the re-use of previously developed land, particularly in Employment Zones and urban areas.
 
  • Take advantage of the opportunities for development of large scale brownfield sites.
The Council recognises that there is a small number of large, potential development sites, on or near which there has been a significant change in circumstances since the UDP was adopted. This may relate to the closure of a colliery, for example. The Council sees these as opportunities for major mixed use schemes which incorporate the principles of sustainability. Appropriate sites are identified in the Plan.
   
 
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5.5 OBJECTIVES
5.5.1 Within the four key aims of the UDP it is the Council's objective to provide houses, jobs and services sufficient to retain the District's projected natural increase in population. Of particular concern is that net out-migration does not occur as a result of a lack of job opportunities. Similarly, it is not intended to deliberately attract additional population or to create employment opportunities beyond those required by the resident population. In line with current thinking Regional Planning Guidance emphasises the need for development plans to create sustainable patterns of development by promoting alternatives to the private car and reducing the need to travel. However, in assessing the need for employment land account has been taken of the point made in RPG that in coalfield areas sites with good access to the national motorway network, rail services and inland waterways should be identified particularly where this would make use of previously developed or derelict land. The need for a small number of very large, accessible sites in the region, which are attractive to large scale manufacturing and distribution is also recognised in RPG.
5.5.2 Whilst it is recognised that the mainstay of the economy and employment will be provided at least initially by existing companies within the District, there is a need to attract new firms to the area and to encourage the formation of new enterprises, so that the local economy is not so dependant upon the fortunes of one or two industries as has been the case in the past. One of the objectives of the Plan is therefore to:

(i)

facilitate the diversification of the local economy and to provide a balanced range of employment opportunities.
 
5.5.3 While high unemployment still exists in the south east and north east of the District, parts of the city of Wakefield especially Wakefield East ward show persistently high levels of unemployment as well. This has been recognised in the Objective 2 programme by the identification of target areas in the District, including a crescent shaped zone around the city centre, the Wakefield Croissant, as in need of special assistance. These are known as Priority 5 Areas. The other priority areas, some of which overlap, are those selected as RECHAR target areas and those parts of the District which have benefited from SRB funding. A second objective is therefore to:

(ii)

improve the relatively high unemployment rates in priority areas of the District.
To this end policies are proposed which promote industrial and commercial development in areas with the greatest need for jobs. This objective complements the aim of revitalising the coalfield communities.
 
5.5.4 Enhancing Wakefield's existing role as a service centre and promoting other towns as service centres will bring maximum benefit to the District as a whole. One of the Plan's objectives is therefore to:

(iii)

facilitate the further development of Wakefield and other towns as service centres.
As noted already the Council has been adopting a flexible approach to the location of offices. It will be necessary to continue to cater for different types of business use if this objective is to be achieved.
 
5.5.5 In accordance with advice on sustainable development, the Council also affords high priority to the encouragement and support of existing industry and commerce within the District. Along with other agencies, it offers advice and assistance to local business, including help with finding suitable sites and premises to those firms who wish to expand or relocate locally. The Plan must seek to ensure that sufficient land is available in appropriate locations to meet the needs of existing firms. A fourth objective of the Plan must therefore be to:

(iv)

encourage existing industry and businesses within the District to flourish and grow, where appropriate.
   
 
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5.6 POLICY JUSTIFICATION
5.6.1 The policies for development related to employment set out below give substance to the guidance, aims and objectives dealt with above. Policies have been developed to meet all four key aims of the Plan, but mainly cover the first two - fostering economic growth and revitalising the coalfield communities. Their intention is to give a clear indication about where new development will be permitted and where different types of use will be encouraged to locate. In addition they provide guidance about expansion by existing firms and about proposals which are not in general accordance with the Plan's intentions for a particular locality.
5.6.2 In formulating policies in the UDP, previous Structure and Local Plan policies were reviewed to assess their effectiveness and continuing relevance. Certain aspects of approved Structure Plan policies were no longer appropriate and have been discarded. The Structure Plan sought to exclude major warehousing from Main Urban Areas and made provision for extensive uses with low employment densities in the motorway corridors. The main argument for these policies was based on the premise that warehousing employs fewer people per unit of floor area than does manufacturing, and that valuable urban land should be used to provide the maximum number of jobs. This is in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.
5.6.3 Job densities in manufacturing have been falling and the difference in average job density between manufacturing and warehousing, which was once substantial, is becoming smaller. Densities also vary widely. The division between industry and warehousing is therefore too crude a basis for policy formulation. The following policies and Community Area proposals show which Employment Zones are particularly suited to which type of activity and will provide the basis for determining planning applications. The Council will, however, through its promotional activities seek to maximise manufacturing employment in the District, since the jobs provided are usually more highly skilled than in warehousing.
5.6.4 It should be noted that all proposals for industry and business development will also be subject to Environment, Transport, Open Land and Retail policies in addition to those included within this Chapter.
 
 
Land for New Employment Uses
5.6.5 The three Local Plans prepared in the mid 1980's proposed considerable new land allocations for industry in addition to the established industrial areas of the District. In view of the low rates of industrial building experienced in the early 1980s it was anticipated that these allocations would be sufficient for about ten years. As noted earlier, however, the rate of new development increased rapidly after 1986. In several instances the Local Plan land allocations had largely been taken-up before the original UDP was adopted.
5.6.6 Sufficient land was allocated for employment uses in the UDP to accommodate the high level of demand experienced during the period of plan preparation. However, analysis shows that there has been a slowdown in development since the adoption of the UDP. Over the last ten years the take-up of land has varied considerably but has averaged about 24 hectares a year. As a result, the availability of industrial land remains high. Therefore sufficient land remains allocated for employment purposes to meet the need for the foreseeable future.
5.6.7 As the above experience indicates, past rates of new development do not in themselves provide an adequate guide to future requirements, because demand will fluctuate in future in response to unknown economic factors. However, the Council is anxious that a high level of demand should not be thwarted by a land shortage and has taken note of this in the UDP proposals.
5.6.8 Likewise, an assessment of the number of jobs which may be needed during the Plan period to achieve full employment is not an adequate basis for allocating land, indeed Government Circulars have warned against the approach. It is unlikely that uniformly low unemployment across the District can be achieved in the next ten years however much land is allocated, as the relationship between land provision and the creation of employment is indirect. The Council is concerned, however, that the land supply should not act as a constraint on job creation and is satisfied that its proposals take account of this intention.
5.6.9 A further factor has influenced land allocations. A number of opportunities for development have arisen in the District recently which would be of benefit to the District as a whole. The impetus has been provided by the Council's attempts to attract private sector investment to participate in partnership schemes and from the prospect of EU funding. The need to exercise caution has been recognised to avoid over-allocating land. The Council has been careful to select proposals which meet its objectives concerning employment and regeneration of the coalfield areas.
5.6.10 The plan seeks to ensure that an adequate supply of readily available land is allocated and available at all times to accommodate the anticipated demand from the full range of general industrial, warehousing and business activities, and to create a balanced range of employment opportunities throughout the District. Emphasis has been given to proposing sites which complement each other and land which can be readily serviced for development.
5.6.11 At the end of December 1999 569 hectares of land were available for employment development. 174 ha had either full or outline planning permission and approximately a third (33%) is previously developed land.
5.6.12 A reappraisal of employment land needs has not been undertaken as part of the UDP alteration but will be included in the next full review of the Plan. This could result in some employment sites being de-allocated or re-allocated to other purposes. In the meantime, proposals for employment development on sites allocated for employment purpose and other sites will be taken in the light of need and relevant national and regional policy. In particular, account will be taken of the Regional Employment Land Survey to be undertaken in accordance with Regional Planning Guidance policy E3. In addition, applications for a renewal of planning permission will be reviewed in the light of issues of sustainability. Permissions that no longer met the requirements of current guidance may not be renewed.
   
 
Large Scale General Industry and Warehousing
5.6.13 Since adoption the UDP strategy has been successful in attracting new development and jobs to the M62 and A1 corridors. Almost half of the land taken for employment uses has been in the Northern part of the District. Land allocated for development associated with Wakefield Europort is beginning to be taken up. This has introduced many new companies to Wakefield and has provided vital employment opportunities. The demand has arisen as firms have rationalised their distribution networks and have recognised Wakefield as an attractive location with good access to Northern markets. Morrisons Supermarkets is a prime example of this. This same factor of location may attract more manufacturing industry to move into the District following the example of Coca-Cola / Schweppes and Pioneer. This may particularly be the case if congestion in the South-East grows worse or if the newly established Regional Development Agency is involved in the identification of strategic sites. It is therefore necessary to ensure that attractive sites for major industry and warehousing uses are available close to the motorway and trunk road network. If there is access to existing or potential rail or waterways links, developers will be encouraged to maximise the use of this, in accordance with policy T2.
5.6.14 As part of the strategy to create new employment opportunities and to revitalise the most deprived parts of the District it is necessary to attract major industrial and warehousing development to those areas affected by the decline of traditional industries. Policy I1 is intended to achieve this:
 
 
I1 LARGE SCALE GENERAL INDUSTRY AND WAREHOUSING WILL BE ENCOURAGED TO LOCATE ON THOSE SITES, IDENTIFIED IN THE PLAN, WITH GOOD ACCESS TO THE MOTORWAY, TRUNK ROAD, RAIL, AND WHERE APPLICABLE, WATERWAYS NETWORKS, AND TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES.
 
5.6.15 Problems have been experienced in recent years with finding sites for large scale development. Both the Coca-Cola / Schweppes and Pioneer developments took land which was in the Green Belt. The possibilities for reserving larger sites for single uses through the Plan, except where the Council owns the land, are limited. The Council will, however, expect developers and owners to ensure that piecemeal development does not proceed on major sites when suitable alternatives exist. The Council will also consider issuing Supplementary Planning Guidance on phasing in appropriate cases. In extreme cases where a suitable site cannot be found on existing allocated land consideration will be given to the release other land for industrial purposes in accordance with the policies in this Plan.
5.6.16 Wakefield is already well provided with good communications by road, rail and waterway. A limited programme of strategically important highway schemes is being implemented to improve environmental conditions. Road schemes may be justified in former coalfield areas where access is difficult, as specified in the Coalfield Task Force 1998 Report, for example South Kirkby Colliery site. For further details see the Section on Transport. The attraction of the District to distribution activities has been referred to. Further opportunities have arisen from the opening of the Channel Tunnel and the Single European Market.
5.6.17 Distribution does, however, give rise to large volumes of traffic and it is important that alternatives to road transport are used wherever possible. Sites which can be accessed by road and rail and are suitable for freight interchange points or for firms which generate wagon / train loads are important in this context and their use for this type of activity needs to be encouraged. The opportunities for waterway related development are fewer but the same principles apply.
 
 
I2 ON INDUSTRIAL SITES WHICH ARE ACCESSIBLE BY RAIL AND / OR WATERWAYS TRANSPORT THE PROVISION OF FREIGHT TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE FACILITIES AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL OR WAREHOUSING USES WHICH MAKE USE OF THESE FORMS OF TRANSPORT WILL BE ENCOURAGED.
 
5.6.18 Sites which are suitable for rail and / or waterways related uses are identified in the Community Area proposals most notably the Wakefield Europort development (see Vol. 3 para2.1.3). Wakefield Europort opened in January 1996 and there has been a steady take-up of sites in the area, particularly since 1997.
 
 
Smaller Scale Industry and Warehousing
5.6.19 There has been a steady demand for smaller sites, of 1 hectare or less throughout the District in recent years. Much of this has arisen from local firms wishing to relocate or expand. (These are not just the traditional 'small firms' but businesses and manufacturers occupying premises which are small by comparison with the large distribution warehouses referred to above). This type of demand for land has generally been accommodated on vacant land within the established employment zones identified in the UDP, or at Normanton Industrial Estate or at Langthwaite Grange and Kinsley. At many of these locations there is now little land remaining.
5.6.20 The Community Area statements include proposals which are intended to provide an adequate supply of land for this size of development. In some instances it is intended that parts of the major allocations should be available in the form of smaller plots. Where it has not proved possible to identify suitable sites within a particular Community Area the Plan seeks to make provision in adjoining areas so that an overall adequate supply exists within each part of the District.
5.6.21 Many of the firms undertaking this size of development have acquired sites either leasehold or freehold from the Council on which they have erected properties built to their own requirements. Many do not want or cannot afford the type of 'design and build' package or speculative unit offered by some developers. It is important that land continues to be available freehold or for purpose built development. However, it is not appropriate for the Plan to determine how land should be marketed and for what size of development.
5.6.22 In the past the Council has sought to cater for those aspects of the land market not generally covered by the private sector. It will be necessary for the Council to monitor its own land holdings to ensure that an adequate supply of land is available to meet the needs of those firms requiring sites freehold or leasehold, or to ensure that land is provided through its partnership schemes with the private sector.
 
 
Business Use
5.6.23 Complementary to the approach adopted in policy I1 is the recognition of the role which key sites close to the M1 junctions and Wakefield city itself can play in attracting high-tech. and business uses to the District.
5.6.24 Attention has already been drawn to the development of Business Parks in the District, so far confined to Wakefield 41 and Monckton Road, Wakefield, but also now including the Pioneer Business Park in Castleford. Experience in Leeds and the South-East suggests that demand for further developments will increase, though the scale and pace of demand will be dependant upon the national economy. Because rental levels are higher than for standard industrial buildings business uses can usually command prime sites with good motorway access. A number of sites on the fringes of Wakefield conveniently located to the M1 motorway junctions are therefore proposed for business use.
5.6.25 A number of free standing office developments have been built at Wakefield 41 and Normanton Industrial Estate under previous office location policies. The Use Classes Order 1987 means that this type of use will generally be acceptable on any land allocated for employment purposes. Widespread use of employment land for office purposes can, however, be disadvantageous in that valuable industrial sites are taken by a form of development which could be sited elsewhere.
5.6.26 In order to cater for the demand for business parks and freestanding offices in peripheral locations specific sites have been identified where these uses will be encouraged with the aim of discouraging developers from seeking widespread permissions on employment land elsewhere in the District.
5.6.27 The development of business parks and offices in peripheral locations can have a beneficial effect on easing congestion in town and city centres at peak hours. There is however a demand for small office suites by firms who, whilst not requiring access by the general public, wish to be conveniently located for their clients or employees. Some require a town centre location, others wish to be on the fringe of or outside centres where rents are lower.
5.6.28 New office development can make a substantial contribution to the continuing viability of town centres and to urban renewal through the refurbishment and conversion of existing buildings and by taking up vacant sites. For these reasons Structure and Local Plan policies attempted to concentrate office development in town centres. As noted above this approach is regarded as too restrictive as it does not meet all the needs of the office market. Furthermore, the Use Classes Order 1987 now permits office development in locations where light industry has been accepted in the past. There is, however, a need to prevent office penetration into established residential areas both within and on the fringes of town centres.
5.6.29 Outside town centres the most acceptable location for business uses is alongside main radial roads for the following reasons:
  i) A location along main radials provides good access by public transport;
  ii) Redundant sites and buildings within the urban area can be brought back into beneficial use, contributing to urban renewal;
  iii) The amount of key industrial land taken into office use is kept to a minimum.
Policy I3 seeks to provide a balanced range of locations for business uses reflecting current needs and opportunities.
 
 
I3 BUSINESS USES (CLASS B1 OF THE USE CLASSES ORDER 1987), INCLUDING CHANGES OF USE OF EXISTING BUILDINGS FOR B1 PURPOSES, WILL BE ENCOURAGED:
  i) ON APPROPRIATE SITES WITHIN WAKEFIELD CITY CENTRE AND OTHER TOWN CENTRES;
  ii) WITHIN EXISTING URBAN AREAS PROVIDING THE DEVELOPMENT
    - ADJOINS OR HAS IMMEDIATE ACCESS TO THE MAJOR HIGHWAY NETWORK AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT SERVICES
    - IS ON A SCALE APPROPRIATE TO THE LOCALITY;
  iii) ON SITES CONVENIENT FOR JUNCTIONS OF THE M1 MOTORWAY WHICH ARE IDENTIFIED IN THE PLAN AS BEING RESERVED FOR BUSINESS USES.
    SUBJECT TO LOCAL PLANNING, TRAFFIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS.
     
 
Offices - Financial, Professional and Related Services
5.6.30 The demand for this type of office space is mainly in Wakefield city centre and the other town centres of the District and has been met through conversion and refurbishment. The business and financial services which make up the majority of this type of use are the fastest growing sector of the national and local economy. The demand for additional floorspace is therefore likely to continue.
5.6.31 In most town centres this demand can be met through further refurbishment and conversion of existing property, though there is a need to protect established residential areas from office uses. Some Class A2 office users in Wakefield city centre and on its fringes are seeking to expand to a point where the existing fabric is incapable of meeting their requirements, and pressure to move out results. In such cases dependence on a town centre location is becoming less important than finding premises which meet operational needs. However, if the level of demand is sufficiently high in the city centre to encourage rents to rise there are outstanding permissions for new office building which could be implemented and also suitable sites for further development. Capacity would therefore seem to exist within the city centre and other town centres to meet most of the demand for Class A2 office space.
5.6.32 The main need to locate this type of office use in town centres is because it maximises the public's access to the services provided. In addition conversion and rehabilitation schemes for office use have a significant role in regenerating the urban fabric. However, it is also important to ensure that non-retail uses such as building societies and banks do not occur in such numbers in the main shopping streets of Wakefield city centre and other town centres that they undermine their function as shopping centres. Policy S6 seeks to ensure that an appropriate balance of uses is maintained in these areas.
5.6.33 The only circumstances under which it is appropriate to consider A2 uses outside town centres are to meet local needs in specific locations. It is not acceptable for these uses e.g. banks and building societies to be found as widely as B1 office uses because of the disturbance and traffic they generate. They should be within an established local shopping centre or parade of shops.
 
 
I4 OFFICES FOR FINANCIAL, PROFESSIONAL OR OTHER SERVICES WHERE THE SERVICES ARE PROVIDED PRINCIPALLY TO VISITING MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC (CLASS A2 OF THE USE CLASSES ORDER 1987) SHOULD BE LOCATED IN WAKEFIELD CITY CENTRE AND IN OTHER TOWN CENTRES OF THE DISTRICT. OUTSIDE THESE CENTRES CLASS A2 OFFICE DEVELOPMENTS WILL BE PERMITTED PROVIDED THAT THE PROPOSAL:
  i) IS OF A SCALE APPROPRIATE TO THE LOCALITY; AND
  ii) FORMS PART OF A LOCAL SHOPPING CENTRE OR PARADE OF SHOPS; OR
  iii) FORMS AN EXTENSION TO AN EXISTING CLASS A2 OFFICE USE.
    SUBJECT TO POLICY S6 (NON-RETAIL USES IN SHOPPING FRONTAGES) AND LOCAL PLANNING, TRAFFIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS.
 
 
Existing Industry, Warehousing and Business Uses
5.6.34 Areas of existing industrial use are shown on the Proposals Maps as Employment Zones. In addition to the modern industrial estates there are areas of predominantly older industrial development at various locations in the District, where industry is often interspersed with other minority uses which are incompatible with the predominant industrial / business use. The objective of the following policy is to confirm that the continued existence of the industries in these areas will be supported by the Council and that new industrial expansion or redevelopment proposals will generally be acceptable. However, within these zones there may be opportunities for mixed use developments. While the Council favours employment uses as opposed to other uses in Employment Zones, proposals for mixed use will be considered in accordance with the following policy;
 
 
I5 WITHIN THE AREAS SHOWN ON THE PROPOSALS MAPS AS EMPLOYMENT ZONES, EMPLOYMENT USES WILL BE FAVOURED AGAINST OTHER USES. HOWEVER, PROPOSALS FOR MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED WHERE:
  i) EXISTING NEIGHBOURING USES ARE NOT RESTRICTED BY THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT; AND
  ii) THE AMENITIES OF THE NEW OCCUPIERS ARE NOT COMPROMISED BY EXISTING NEIGHBOURING USES.
  MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT IN EMPLOYMENT ZONES WILL NOT INCLUDE GENERAL RETAILING.
 
5.6.35 In most of these zones warehousing is also acceptable though in one or two cases the nature of the highway system or the location make warehousing undesirable. These are identified in the Community Area proposals. Under the Use Classes Order business uses will also be generally acceptable in existing employment zones.
5.6.36 The older employment zones offer the best opportunities to provide accommodation for small firms within the urban areas, through rehabilitation and redevelopment. A shortage of suitable small sites and premises has been recognised throughout the towns of the District.
5.6.37 No action is envisaged by the Council which would shorten the normal life expectancy of any dwellings included within the Employment Zones, nor to prejudice the rights of house owners to improve their properties by taking advantage of house improvement grants. The policy is intended to demonstrate that the defined Employment Zones are considered appropriate for a continued longer term existence as predominantly industrial areas.
 
 
Development Outside Employment Zones
5.6.38 The Council considers that the provision of land for industrial and business purposes proposed in this Plan is sufficient to meet anticipated needs. However, the above policies do not preclude industrial and related development outside Employment Zones. Proposals for development will be considered on their merits taking into account other policies in the Plan and development control considerations.
5.6.39 Most new jobs are likely to be created by existing firms. The importance of enabling existing businesses to expand for the economic benefit of the District is recognised. Proposals for the improvement or expansion of existing industrial concerns will be treated on merit with a general presumption in favour of granting planning permission unless there are compelling planning, environmental or transport objections.
5.6.40 In some locations there are established industrial premises which may be considered to be out of conformity with the general character of their surroundings because of the disturbance or loss of amenity they cause to the locality or adjoining occupants. In such cases it may be appropriate to refuse planning applications for redevelopment, alterations or extensions which would prolong the life of the property or exacerbate existing problems.
5.6.41 In the past a substantial proportion of industry within the District has taken the form of active collieries. Although as at July 2000, only one such colliery remained it is appropriate to note that once closed they do not carry forward any automatic right to further industrial (or any other standard) land uses. Therefore, should the remaining active colliery close, the Council will review the land use implications of the closure in the light of circumstances pertaining at that time.
5.6.42 The Council is also aware of the need to encourage the setting-up and growth of small firms. Small businesses play a key role in the economy providing a source of local employment and often acting as an attraction to larger firms who use their services or products. Small scale industry has not been a particular feature of Wakefield District's industrial tradition and there has therefore not been a stock of suitable premises. This is changing as the number of self-employed people grows and the demand for small units rises. One of the Council's main aims, through its Regeneration Department, is to encourage the establishment and development of new small businesses throughout the District and the provision of suitable accommodation.
5.6.43 Small businesses are often tied closely to a local market and require a specific location; often they cannot afford to be situated on a major industrial estate. A flexible approach is therefore proposed to the location of small firms outside Employment Zones. Such an approach is in accordance with government guidance in PPG4 on achieving mixed-use development. It will also contribute to the Council's aims of sustainability by reducing the use of the private car. Though each case must be considered on its merits, there may be many opportunities for small firms to be located alongside other uses without detriment to residents or occupants on sites which are too small to be identified individually in the Plan. Policy I7 will cater for this type of development.
 
 
I7 IN AREAS NOT COVERED BY POLICIES I1-I3 AND I5 EMPLOYMENT DEVELOPMENT WILL NORMALLY BE ACCEPTED WHERE THE PROPOSAL EITHER:
  i) FORMS AN EXTENSION TO AN EMPLOYMENT ACTIVITY OR;
  ii) IS OF A SCALE COMPATIBLE WITH THE LOCALITY OR SIZE OF SETTLEMENT.
  IN ALL CASES DEVELOPMENT WILL BE SUBJECT TO LOCAL PLANNING, TRAFFIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS. THE COUNCIL WILL CONSIDER USING PLANNING CONDITIONS AND PLANNING OBLIGATIONS TO PROTECT FROM SIGNIFICANT HARM THE AMENITY OF PEOPLE LIVING AND WORKING NEARBY.
     
5.6.44 In accordance with government guidance in PPG4 the Council will take a flexible approach to proposals for the re-use of vacant or under-used buildings for employment uses. This is particularly important in town centres as such re-use can contribute to the preservation of buildings and the vitality and viability of the town centre.
 
 
Design and Landscaping
5.6.45 One of the main aims of the Plan is to conserve the environment of the District and to rectify the damage caused by previous activities, particularly coal mining. The creation of new jobs will lead to more land being developed. This should not lead to a further deterioration of the quality of the environment and new development should wherever possible enhance the landscape through high quality design and planting schemes. This should apply not just to Business Parks which often include these features but also to general industrial and warehousing developments. Policies to achieve this are included in the Environment section of the Plan but Policy I8 is incorporated here to emphasise the importance of the issue.
 
 
I8 THE COUNCIL WILL REQUIRE A HIGH STANDARD OF DESIGN AND LANDSCAPING ASSOCIATED WITH INDUSTRIAL, WAREHOUSING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE POLICIES CONTAINED IN THE ENVIRONMENT SECTION OF THE PLAN.
 
5.6.46 It is proposed that a Sustainable Development Guide should be prepared to provide Supplementary Planning Guidance to developers. Further guidance is contained in the Designing Out Crime Guide.
 
 
Tourism
5.6.47 The Council has recognised the value of encouraging tourism related activities within the District by formulating a Tourism Strategy. Not only do these activities contribute to the range of local employment opportunities, but business tourism is an essential element of the commercial infrastructure of the District, providing hotel and conference facilities. On a broader basis tourism development also has implications for maintaining and improving the image of the District and its environment and improving facilities to be enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The Leisure section of the Plan gives the context for the development of leisure and tourist facilities other than accommodation.
5.6.48 In its Tourism Strategy 'Breaking the Barriers' the Council recognises that emphasis needs to be placed on increasing the number of hotels which have leisure facilities, increasing provision for camping and caravanning / self-catering / guesthouses / farmhouse bed & breakfast, and a commitment to flexible conferencing facilities in new-build developments or refurbishments.
5.6.49 In considering proposals for tourist accommodation the Council will adopt a flexible approach. While a boarding house or small residential hotel may be acceptable in a residential area major hotels such as those with conferencing or banqueting facilities may by more appropriate to areas allocated for employment use.
 
 
I10 PROPOSALS FOR TOURIST ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PERMITTED IF:
  i) THEY ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THEIR SURROUNDINGS IN SITING, SCALE, DESIGN, MATERIALS AND LANDSCAPING;
  ii) THEY WILL NOT SIGNIFICANTLY HARM THE AMENITY OF PEOPLE LIVING AND WORKING NEARBY;
  iii) THEY CAN BE REACHED BY A CHOICE OF MEANS OF TRANSPORT;
  iv) WHERE ASSOCIATED OFF STREET PARKING IS NECESSARY IT IS ACCOMMODATED WITHIN THE CURTILAGE OF THE DEVELOPMENT;
  v) IN TOWN CENTRES THE DEVELOPMENT SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TO THE ENHANCEMENT OF THE TOWNSCAPE.
  SUBJECT TO LOCAL PLANNING, TRAFFIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS AND OPEN LAND POLICIES.
 
 
Supplementary Planning Guidance
5.6.50 A series of Development Control Guidelines have been approved by the Council to further assist the control of development. These guidelines are listed in Appendix 1 and they will constitute material considerations in the determination of planning applications. Here attention is drawn to guidelines relating to Designing Out Crime.
 
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