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1.6 - Planning for the Local Economy and Employment Land

What the Government say:

Planning for the Local Economy and Employment LandThe planning system has “an economic role – contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure”[1].

“Local planning authorities should set out a clear economic vision and strategy for their area which positively and proactively encourages sustainable economic growth”.....; “support existing business sectors”.....; “identify and plan for new and emerging sectors likely to locate in their area”[2]

What the Borough’s Local Plan needs to do:

The Local Plan will need to reflect the Council’s economic vision for the Borough and ensure that the necessary amount of land is available in the right locations to enable the vision to be delivered. In particular, it will need to take into account the road network to ensure that land put to economic use is viable when considered against transport and access costs.

The Local Plan will need to support existing businesses by seeking to maintain and improve the quality of the employment areas in the Borough whilst enabling businesses in existing poor quality premises to relocate to more suitable locations within the Borough.

The Local Plan will help to attract inward investors to deliver existing and new commercial opportunities. The food and drink sector is a growing sector in the Borough and the Local Plan will need to focus upon meeting the specific needs and requirements of this sector.

The Current Situation:

The Borough’s property portfolio is very diverse. It meets the needs of very small companies in multi-let properties as well as purpose built plants serving very large companies. Many companies have been present in the Borough for a long time and have an established presence. However, the employment areas in which they are located are unable to expand because they are surrounded by other uses. For example, many of the employment areas neighbour housing estates. In addition, buildings on the employment areas can fall into uses other than the business industry, commercial and distribution sectors and therefore limit the opportunities to provide jobs relating to these sectors in the Borough. This can have a detrimental effect on the overall economic competitiveness of the Borough.

Therefore, the new employment land currently earmarked to be provided in the Borough is intended to make up for the land within the existing employment areas that is lost to alternative uses[3].

The Council collaborates with other councils and stakeholders in Leicester and Leicestershire, including the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership to ensure that the various economic sectors are supported across the area. Sector Plans are currently being prepared by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership and these will help to ensure that the Local Plan meets the needs of those sectors that have an existing or anticipated future interest in the Borough.

The Council has a clear economic vision and strategy for the growth and development of the Borough[4]. The key economic focus is to support the growth of the local economy meeting the needs of both local home-grown businesses and larger multi national companies whilst providing opportunities, support and advice for inward investors and developers. The emphasis is on continuing to meet the growth needs of key sectors such as food, construction and distribution sectors which have developed based on the areas assets and strengths. The Council has identified a number of key projects to assist in the delivery of this strategy.[5]

The Council launched its Investor Prospectus in March 2015. This seeks to promote a number of key sites in the Borough in order to attract new and existing businesses to establish themselves in the Borough.

Town and Local Centres and Regeneration

The Challenges for the Future

Quick Questions

Detailed Questions

The job density for the Borough of Oadby and Wigston is 0.54[6] which means that there is roughly one job in the Borough for every two residents of working age. This means that a large proportion of people who live in the Borough work elsewhere and is reflective of the location of the Borough adjacent to Leicester. We need to ensure that the appropriate amount and type of land is available to meet the needs of existing businesses wishing to expand and also new business sectors that want to develop a presence in the Borough.

There is the potential to establish the Borough as a centre for specific sectors such as the food, construction and distribution sectors by expanding the clusters of such businesses that currently exist in the Borough. For example, 10% of the Borough’s employment is in the food and drink sector.

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