Policy EG 3: Existing and Allocated Employment Sites
- Existing employment sites will be protected for employment use unless:
- Premises are causing significant nuisance or environmental problems that could not be mitigated; or
- The site is no longer suitable or viable for employment use; and
- There is no potential for modernisation or alternate employment uses; and
- No other occupiers can be found footnote 43.
- Where it can be demonstrated that there is a case for alternative development on existing employment sites, these will be expected to meet sustainable development objectives as set out in Policies MP 1, SD 1 and SD 2 of the Local Plan Strategy. All opportunities must be explored to incorporate an element of employment development as part of a mixed use scheme.
- Subject to regular review, allocated employment sites will be protected for employment use in order to maintain an adequate and flexible supply of employment land to attract new and innovative businesses, to enable existing businesses to grow and to create new and retain existing jobs.
11.22 The National Planning Policy Framework states that 'policies should avoid the long term protection of sites allocated for employment use where there is no reasonable prospect of a site being used for that purpose'.
11.23 In order to provide a range of employment sites, particularly for inward investment and limit the need for development on greenfield land, it is vital that existing employment sites, premises and allocations that are viable for continued employment use are safeguarded. This will make sure that job opportunities are maintained and the economic health of the borough is protected. The release of viable employment sites or premises to other uses may only be made where their loss would not cause harm to business or employment opportunities, or where there are unacceptable amenity impacts for local residents.
11.24 For clarification, this policy applies to all sites currently in use for employment purposes (B1, B2 and B8 uses in the Use Classes Order) as well as sites allocated for such uses.
11.25 There are already a number of key employment areas in the borough, including Alderley Park, Hurdsfield Industrial Estate, Bentley Motors, Radbroke Hall, Jodrell Bank, Booths Hall and Midpoint 18. These are of particular significance to the economy in Cheshire East, collectively employing over 13,000 personnel. The following provides an overview of their contribution to the borough's strong economic base together with additional key sites that form part of the borough's employment land portfolio:
- Alderley Park - Currently AstraZeneca’s largest research facility and the company’s global centre for cancer research. A development framework has been developed. The objective of this document is to maximise the employment potential of the site to deliver a life science vision, and also to look at wider uses for all aspects of the site, which would meet community/local need.
- Hurdsfield Industrial Estate, Macclesfield - As the largest traditional industrial estate in Cheshire East, it is home to a number of major multinational companies, including AstraZeneca and BASF Performance Products Ltd. This industrial estate accommodates an important concentration of activity. Work is ongoing to maximise the employment uses and land uses on the Hurdsfield Estate, to ensure it plays its role in delivering our economic vision for the borough and create growth opportunities for local and new companies seeking to locate in North Cheshire.
- Bentley Motors, Crewe - This is the town's largest private sector employer, currently employing 3,500 people. As the company’s UK headquarters, the site is home to all aspects of car production from design, engineering, manufacturing, quality, and sales and marketing. Following an announcement in July 2013 of an £800m investment by the company to manufacture its new Sport Utility Vehicle, plans for significant growth at the site are expected alongside the creation of 1,000 new jobs. With advanced manufacturing accounting for 12.3% footnote 44 of employment in Cheshire East, the Bentley site is at the centre of this growing sector, and is responsible for a growing supply chain in the nearby area.
- Radbroke Hall, Knutsford - The site currently accommodates the UK Strategic Centre for Barclays Bank Plc and is home to the Global Infrastructure and Service Delivery Teams. The site is at the forefront of a growing IT and financial / insurance service industry, of which Cheshire East has a higher concentration than in the North West region as a whole.
- Jodrell Bank, Holmes Chapel - prominently located in the heart of Cheshire East this is a unique site, which is of both historical and scientific significance as a leading facility for radio astrophysics and scientific research in the UK. The Discovery Centre also offers an important contribution to the Cheshire East visitor economy. The site is also on the UK National Shortlist for UNESCO in a bid for World Heritage Status due to its potential outstanding universal value.
- Booths Hall, Knutsford - Booths Hall combines an 85 hectare parkland setting with flexible, high quality office accommodation, which is home to a growing number of small high growth, high tech companies and major multinationals. The site offers a quality employment location in the heart of Cheshire, with good links into public transport and road/rail links. The park is a major contributor to Knutsford and the wider regional economy with many leading international and knowledge-based businesses located there. 80% of the existing occupiers operate in Cheshire East's growth sectors.
- Midpoint 18, Middlewich - This is a mixed use business park currently home to major companies such as Wincanton and Kuehne + Nagel. The current development footprint provides 128,130 square metres of mixed employment use, including office, distribution, and manufacturing space.
- Crewe Green Business Park, Crewe - This is the largest business park in Crewe; it is over 27 hectares and accommodates employers such as Air Products, Busch GVT, Wulvern Housing and DEFRA. Crewe Green Business Park, and Crewe Gates and Weston Road industrial areas are adjacent to each other and form together a diverse, influential and important area of economic activity.
- Crewe Gates Industrial Estate, Crewe - The largest industrial area within the largest town in Cheshire East. Employers located here include Expert Logistics, JTI UK, 20:20 Mobile and Bargain Booze Headquarters.
- Waters Corporation, Wilmslow - Waters Corporation have recently completed the construction of a mass spectrometry headquarters located at the 15 hectare Stamford Lodge site. This facility will provide employment to over 500 employees committed to the support and development of mass spectrometry systems. Waters is a world leader in this field of scientific innovation.
- Sanofi Aventis, Holmes Chapel - Sanofi is a globally integrated healthcare leader in the pharmaceutical industry. The site, prominently located on the edge of Holmes Chapel, is a centre of excellence for the manufacture of inhalation products for the worldwide market.
11.26 Whilst the Local Plan Strategy seeks to retain these key employment areas, it also provides opportunities for further inward investment at other established locations such as Radway Green, Congleton Business Park, Radnor Park Trading Estate and others. The Local Plan Strategy also seeks to unlock major new employment sites including Basford East and West and other developments to meet both latent demand and future projected growth. A range of employment sites are allocated around Crewe and in the south of the borough to facilitate economic growth and deliver the aspirations set out by 'All Change for Crewe: High Growth City'.
- Employment Land Review
- Employment Monitoring
(Footnote 43) To demonstrate that no other occupiers can be found, the site should be marketed at a realistic price reflecting its employment status for a period of not less than 2 years. The council will require evidence that a proper marketing exercise has been carried out including a record of all offers and expressions of interest received.
(Footnote 44) 2011 Census
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