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Employment premises and sites

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A key feature of Government guidance and of the Preston, Chorley and South Ribble Employment Land Review 2009 findings is that it is essential to have a wide range of different sites for different employment users to help achieve economic growth.

A range of existing and proposed sites were evaluated into categories taking account of market attractiveness and other factors. Generally the modern estates and business parks scored highly on the assessment and are categorised 'Best Urban' or 'Good Urban'.

Older individual premises generally scored less well, being classed as 'Other Urban' premises because they are less suited to modern needs. However, in the main these premises are quite acceptable to firms that use them and cater for businesses that require affordable accommodation with lower rental levels.

These premises are invariably close to residential areas and close to local supplies of labour making journeys to work short and inexpensive.

Protection of Existing Employment Areas

All existing employment premises and sites last used for employment will be retained, in keeping with Core Strategy Policy 10: Employment Premises and Sites.

Policy 10 seeks to protect employment sites for employment use and only release employment sites for housing where proposals are supported by a viability assessment and, for housing proposals, a marketing period of 12 months.

A Supplementary Planning Document on Controlling Re-Use of Employment Premises expands on the Policy 10 criteria and definition of employment uses, and provides advice on viability, on marketing the re-use and redevelopment of a site/premises for employment purposes; on the costs of the work, and on the regeneration of the employment site.

The SPD also provides advice and information on price, tenure, advertisements, mixed use developments, non B-Use Class Developments and also includes a marketing campaign checklist.

Shopping - Retail Hierarchy 

Given the role and function of Preston City Centre, all new main town centre uses, as defined by the Framework, will be directed to the city centre. However there exists a network of Local Centres in Preston that provide an important local community role, serving a different purpose to the city centre.

Nevertheless, given the separate policy approach to the city centre, through the City Centre Plan, it is vitally important that this Plan manages retail development elsewhere in Preston, so as not to undermine the role and function of the city centre. For instance, care will be needed to avoid, for example, a single excessively large retail outlet which risks undermining the vitality and viability of the city centre.

To maintain the balance between the roles of Preston City Centre and District and Local Centres elsewhere in Preston, the Plan sets out a clear approach to the type, scale and range of development proposals that will be acceptable in centres outside the city centre.

The Council will also, where relevant, apply the sequential and impact assessments to new main town centre uses, in out of centre locations, in accordance with the guidance set out in the Framework.

Delivering the Retail Strategy

To maintain the balance between the role and function of Preston City Centre, District and Local Centres, the Council will apply the sequential test and impact assessment to new retail development and main town centre uses, as set out in the Framework.

The sequential test requires major retail, cultural and service development to be located on the most central sites in town centres before considering less central sites. A sequential test will apply to planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing centre.

The aim is to minimise the need to travel, provide a diverse range of services in one central location and make facilities accessible to all. This approach is intended to focus growth and investment in the City Centre and encourage developments of an appropriate type and scale.

Impact Assessment

The impact assessment is required for planning applications for retail, leisure and office development outside of town centres where the development is 2,500 sq m and over, to ensure they would not detrimentally impact the function, vitality and viability of Preston's hierarchy of centres.

The impact assessment will be particularly relevant to edge-of-centre and out-of-centre proposals. In assessing vitality and viability consideration will be given to pedestrian flows, vacancy rates, numbers and range of facilities, quality of the urban environment and the general performance of the centre.

The Core Strategy seeks to direct the largest development towards the City Centre, but also allowing flexibility for the market to respond to meeting needs in the District Centre, Local Centres and other areas of Preston where opportunities arise.

Development and Change of Use in District and Local Centres

Core Strategy Policy 11 (e) is worded to maintain, improve and control the mix of uses in the existing District and Local Centres so as to appropriately serve local needs.

The Core Strategy proposes a new District Centre at the Cottam Strategic Site.

The importance of Local Centres

The Local Centres play an important role in Preston's retail hierarchy as well as acting as social centres and places of employment providing the function of convenience shopping, a range of services and community facilities to a local area.

The Local Centres within Preston vary in size, with some having only a handful of units and others being larger which support a number of local shops and basic services, meeting local residents' daily (top up) shopping needs. In rural areas, larger villages may perform the role of a local centre.

The scale and type of development proposed needs to directly relate to the role and function of the District or Local Centre and the proposal should not have a significant adverse impact upon the vitality and viability of Preston City Centre (or where appropriate, other Local Centres).

Specific sites will also need to be accessible by walking, cycling and public transport.

Proposals for hot food takeaways (A5 Use Class) in district and local centres are subject to Policy WB3.

In the centres the provision of living accommodation or offices on the upper floors of the buildings will be encouraged so as to help make good use and maintenance of these upper storeys. This will not however, be a requirement where the applicant can demonstrate that the whole building will be fully utilised for other purposes.

District Centre

A District Centre is proposed in Cottam to support both the Cottam Strategic Site and the whole of the North West Preston Strategic Location.

Under the terms of Policy EP3 a range of appropriate uses will be encouraged, including a supermarket, food and drink, leisure uses, public and community uses and other uses complementary to local shops.

Local Centres

Local Centres are allocated at the following locations:

  • Blackpool Road/ Woodplumpton Road (Lane Ends)
  • Longsands Road
  • Miller Road
  • New Hall Lane
  • Plungington Road
  • Ribbleton Avenue
  • Ribbleton Lane
  • Sharoe Green

New local centres are proposed under policy MD2 within the area of the North West Preston Strategic Location.

The purpose of Policy EP4

Local Centres is to prevent the overgrowth of non-retail uses at the expense of local retail provision of the Local Centres.

It is important to the vitality and viability of the Local Centres that the retail strength and appearance of these frontages is retained where possible. However, as these centres vary in size and are affected by various local issues other uses, as listed in Policy EP4, may be more appropriate.

All new development within the Local Centres should contribute to the attractiveness of the centre and enhance the use of the centre by offering vibrant, attractive, well designed centres with a good offer for local communities and visitors.

Riversway Phase B Site Specific Policy

The Riversway Phase B Site Specific Policy, as defined on the Policies Map, has been carried forward from the Preston Local Plan due to the individual and specific approach to be taken when allocating the site.

An area of the site is reserved for a large park and ride car park, as supported by Core Strategy Policy 3.

University of Central Lancashire Cottam Campus

The Westleigh Conference Centre and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Sport Arena form UCLan's Cottam Campus.

The Cottam Campus is an important location for the University as it provides a wide range of facilities which contribute to the welfare of staff and students as well as providing important conference, function and playing pitch facilities for Preston and the wider region.

Policy EP6 ensures that there is a degree of flexibility for the University to allow for the future enhancement of the Cottam Campus existing facilities. The Council will explore the potential preparation of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) to help guide and support the expansion of the University within the University Campuses as defined by Policy EP6 and Policy HS6.

The Policy EP7 is included to enable a consistent approach to be adopted at a local level to that advocated in the Framework. The policy criteria will facilitate the growth of telecommunications whilst keeping the environmental impact to a minimum.

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