Section 1 - Publication Draft Local Plan

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5. Providing for Employment

5.1 A key objective for the area is to strengthen and diversify local economies to provide more jobs and to achieve a better balance between the location of jobs and housing, which will reduce the need to travel and promote sustainable growth.

5.2 Braintree District's employment is relatively focused on industrial-type sectors, including construction and manufacturing. London Stansted airport, in neighbouring Uttlesford, plays a significant role in employing residents of the District and through the indirect economic benefits associated with proximity to such a large employment hub.

5.3 Retail is the second largest sector by employment and plays an important role in sustaining the District's three key town centres. The financial and insurance sector, where Braintree District traditionally has a relatively small proportion of employment, has seen some strong growth in recent years. This may be a growth sector in the future.

5.4 Colchester is the dominant urban centre within the Essex Haven Gateway. The Borough has developed a strong economy, linked to its "central place" functions and to the town's historic character, cultural activities and the university. Major retail and leisure services are also located both within and adjacent to Colchester town.

5.5 Health, education and retail each provide over 10% of employee jobs and collectively contribute 42% to the Borough's total employment.  A further six major Groups each account for between 5 – 10% of total jobs: Manufacturing; Construction; Accommodation and Food Services; Professional, Scientific & Technical; Business Administration & Support Services; and Arts, entertainment, recreation, etc.

5.6 Tendring District has a diverse economy with local employment across a range of activities. Health, retail and education are the largest sectors in terms of the number of jobs and together represent 45% of the District's total employment.

5.7 Within the western part of Tendring district, the economy and labour market of Manningtree is influenced by its relative proximity to Colchester and good transport links to London. The interior of the District is largely rural and is characterised by a high-quality environment, interspersed with small settlements.

5.8 Opportunities have been identified for Tendring to develop potential future strengths in offshore wind and the care and assisted living sector.

5.9 As part of the work to assess housing requirements, an analysis of economic forecasts was undertaken together with demographic projections to establish the inter-relationship between population growth, forecasts of new jobs and the number of new homes needed to accommodate these levels of growth. Employment Land Needs Assessments have been carried out by each authority which set out the amount of employment land that is required within the Plan period.

5.10 Braintree, Colchester and Tendring commissioned work to explore the employment opportunities associated with the development of innovative Garden Communities based on the likely demographic profile of these new communities and to develop quantified scenarios for future employment growth.  The consultants concluded that assuming political commitment and proactive delivery on the part of local authorities, Garden Communities had the potential to deliver one job per household, in line with the Garden Communities charter, and to support employment growth in surrounding areas. The Tendring Colchester Border Garden Community is considered to perform the best in employment terms given the opportunities provided by its location adjacent to the University Essex, but the other two Garden communities also are well-placed to take advantage of employment opportunities in new technology-based businesses, construction of the Garden Communities, access to employment opportunities in Colchester and Braintree town centres, meeting the growing need for local services, and accommodating elements of the logistics supply chain

5.11 Employment forecasts for the three authorities accordingly factor in the longer-term aspirations for employment growth arising from the positive spin-offs associated with Garden Communities.  It is important to note, however, that while job numbers can be expected to grow at a consistent rate, current trends point to overall lower requirements for additional B1 floorspace.  This reflects the growth of home working enabled by enhanced digital connectivity; the continuing decline of manufacturing with its need for large floor areas; and the prevalence of 'hot desking' leading to lower requirements for office floorspace. 


(17) Policy SP4 - Providing for Employment and Retail

A strong, sustainable and diverse economy will be promoted across North Essex with the Councils pursuing a flexible approach to economic sectors showing growth potential across the Plan period.

Employment forecasts have been developed using two standard models (East of England Forecasting Model (EEFM) and Experian 2016) which forecast total job growth for each of the local authorities based on past trends. Each local authority has been advised on the most appropriate modelling figure to use in the context of reconciling job and housing demand. These figures are set out for the housing market as follows for the period 2013-2037:

Annual Jobs Forecast:

Braintree (EEFM)

490

Colchester (EEFM)             

928

Tendring (Experian)            

490

In terms of specific B use land provision, each local authority has undertaken work to establish what quantum of employment land would be required within the Plan period to meet the demand identified below for additional B use employment land. These B use employment areas are distributed between each local authority area and based on achieving a sustainable balance between jobs and the available labour force through population growth.  As noted above, calculations of employment land required are affected by a range of issues that lead to different employment land portfolios for each local authority area, resulting in a proportionately greater quantum of new floorspace per job in Braintree and Tendring than in Colchester. This is a function of the prominence of higher density office requirements in Colchester and lower density logistics and industrial uses in Braintree and Tendring.  The table below sets out the three authorities' employment land requirements for the period 2016 – 33 for two plausible scenarios, baseline and higher growth  These two bookends provide flexibility to allow for each authority's supply trajectory to reflect their differing requirements.

Hectares of B use employment land required:


Baseline (2012 Based SNPP)

Higher Growth Scenario

Braintree

23

43.3

Colchester

22.0

55.8

Tendring

20.0

38.0

North Essex

65ha

137.1

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