Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Service and Infill Villages BL1 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 1054657//1
Respondent Church Commissioners for England [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Deleted User
Response Date 26 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted
Comment

 

We write on behalf of our clients, the Church Commissioners for England, to make representations on the consultation draft ‘Sites and Policies Plan’ published in February 2013. Our representations focus on the policies and planning issues associated with (and relevant to) the newly proposed mixed use site allocation for Bleadon Quarry, Bleadon (site allocation policy BL1). In summary, we are concerned that the proposed policy is ‘the thin end of the wedge’ and that employment use may be lost entirely from the site, contrary to CS20. A robust approach to the protection of existing employment sites is sought.

The existing employment site at Bleadon Quarry has provided valuable local employment for many years. Whilst the owners have indicated that it is their intention to scale down operations, the Sites and Policies Plan does represent an opportunity to plan proactively for its future. We are of the opinion that the site should remain principally as an employment opportunity and should be protected as such in the Sites and Policies Plan. It is acknowledged however that the nature of the employment use may need to change, and to move away from the association with the original quarrying activity and the current use, being a Class B2 Use for tile manufacture. Insofar as there is a case (for environmental reasons) for a minor element of residential development where the site adjoins the existing dwellings, we are concerned with the suggestion in the draft plan that the site ought to accommodate as many as 25 dwellings. This will undermine the ability of the site to make a useful contribution towards local employment in the future. This site must be protected for employment purposes, and the proposed mixed use designation is a threat to that. It is our view that any more than a small number of dwellings on this site would compromise its ability to contribute towards employment needs within the Plan period and beyond, and a useful employment opportunity may be lost.

 

Ensuring that as much of the site as possible is retained for employment use is supported by local and national planning policy. Adopted Core Strategy policy CS20 ‘Supporting a successful economy’ states that ‘The overall approach is employment-led.. Priority will be given to the reuse of previously developed land and the safeguarding of sites in existing economic use.’ Policy DM52 ‘Safequarded existing employment sites for economic use’ of the Sites and Policies Plan consultation draft reinforces this policy principle, stating that ‘Land and buildings used or last used for B1 – B8 uses will be safeguarded for economic uses.’

 

Retaining as much of the site as possible for employment use is also supported by the policies of the National Planning Policy Framework. Paragraph 17 sets out the core planning principles and states that planning should ‘proactively drive and support sustainable economic development’ and ‘promote mixed use developments’. Paragraph 18 states that ‘The Government is committed to securing economic growth in order to create jobs and prosperity’, a principle reinforced by Paragraph 19, ‘significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth through the planning system’. Furthermore, Paragraph 20 states that ‘local planning authorities should plan proactively to meet the development needs of business

and support an economy fit for the 21st century’. Finally, Paragraph 28 states that ‘planning policies should support economic growth in rural areas in order to create jobs and prosperity by taking a positive approach to sustainable new development.’ On the basis of this policy context, we consider it imperative for the employment use safeguarded under the proposed mixed use allocation policy for Bleadon Quarry, to be genuinely implemented.

We are aware of and concerned by the representation that has already been submitted by RR Planning Ltd on behalf of Marshalls Mono Ltd in relation to policy BL1, as documented on the Council’s online consultation portal. The representation made on behalf of Marshalls Mono Ltd, is for a greater proportion of the site to be allocated for residential use and subsequently a higher number of dwellings than the 25 currently specified in the proposed draft policy. The submission of an Employment Use Marketing Report in support of the representation, would suggest that the requested increase in the number of residential dwellings is proposed to be at the expense of employment use on the site. These representations demonstrate that the site owners are focused on delivering as much residential development as possible, again suggesting that a robust policy approach to protecting employment land here is essential.

BL1 – Bleadon Quarry, Bleadon:

We recommend that this policy is deleted.

 

 

 

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