Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Offices

9.25 Offices are defined as a main town centre use in PPS4. Office uses encompass both B1a office units and A2 financial and professional service units.[1] Office buildings tend to be used more intensively than any other forms of employment use (in terms of numbers of workers per given area of floorspace), therefore as key generators of movement, to help reduce the need to travel by private car, it is important to locate offices where there is good access by public transport. PPS4 stresses the importance of locating new office developments in town centre or edge of centre locations. In addition to reducing the need to travel, locating office development in the town centre promotes vitality and viability.

9.26 The ELR highlights that across the District 44% of office development has taken place on business parks and 56% elsewhere. Nothing was developed on town centre sites between 2005/06 and 2008/09. Ekosgen who are undertaking an Economic Profile of Yeovil for the Council have highlighted that more recently in Yeovil, planning permissions and Saved Local Plan allocations have supported the development of offices outside the town centre, which in the future will further displace office workers to less central locations.

9.27 It is important not to deter economic activity and there will be pressure from certain types of business uses, such as research and development, to develop more commercially attractive locations on prominent sites at the edge of towns, but at the same time planning policy is seeking to ensure that our town centres are vibrant service centres (Policy EP12). Therefore in accordance with PPS4, a sequential assessment is required for planning applications for office development where not in an existing defined town centre and where they are not in accordance with the policies in this Core Strategy and any relevant Saved Local Plan policies. If sites are identified outside the preferred location, they will need to be, or can be made to be, highly accessible by a range of transport methods. In this context, preference is given to out-of-centre sites that are located next to an established industrial estate or business park over other out of centre sites, as this will provide the opportunity to maximise the use of public transport.

Policy EP2 Office Development
 
Proposals for office development should firstly be located within the defined limits of Town Centres.
 

Where this is not possible because a sequential test demonstrates that there is no available, suitable and viable site, office developments may be acceptable on less central sites in the following order:

  1. Edge-of-centre sites (within 200m of the edge of the defined Town Centre) - preference is given firstly to edge-of-centre sites which are well connected, to the centre by pedestrian access;
  2. Out-of-centre sites with good access to sustainable transport modes - preference is given firstly to out-of-centre sites that are located next to compatible uses;
  3. Other out of centre sites.
1. Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 as amended [back]