Borsetshire Development Framework

Area Action Plan Development Plan Documents

The Economy

 

The town of Wellingborough forms the focal point of the economy of the Borough. Industrial and commercial development is primarily located on several estates at Park Farm, Denington Road, Finedon Rd, Ise Valley and Irthlingborough Rd. In addition, land directly north of the A45 (Prologis Park) is currently being developed for distribution. Aside from Prologis Park, however, there is little employment land currently available although further extensive supply is planned to the east of Wellingborough (WEAST) on land allocated in the Local Plan. The stock of office space is limited, accounting for about 7% of all employment floorspace, and is located mainly in the town centre. The WEAST proposals, however, provide for additional office space to the east of the railway station

Within the rural area, residents generally travel to the neighbouring towns to work. There are some, though limited opportunities in the villages, including employment on industrial estates at Earls Barton, Irchester and Wollaston, and on long established employment sites in the countryside at Finedon Sidings and Sywell Aerodrome. 

Approximately 63% of residents of the Borough live and work within the area. There are, however, strong employment links with Northampton, with over 12% of residents working there, whilst approximately 12% of working residents of East Northamptonshire are employed in Wellingborough.  The local unemployment rate is currently low and is similar to the national figure of 2.3%. Average weekly earnings at £348 are slightly above those in North Northamptonshire but are about 10% below the national average.

Manufacturing, whilst in decline, continues to perform an important role in the local economy, accounting for approximately 22% of the 33000 jobs in Wellingborough. In contrast, about 12.5% of employment in Great Britain is in manufacturing. Wellingborough has strong transport links with over 75% of the country’s population located within about two hours drive time. One consequence of this accessibility is that the logistics sector has developed into a major part of the local economy. The main source of growth in recent years, however, has taken place in public and local services provision. The knowledge-based sector of the local economy now accounts for nearly 11% of total employment. Whilst this figure grew by over 23% between 1998 and 2003 the percentage of the workforce employed in this sector remains below the national average.

 

The North Northamptonshire Core Spatial Strategy includes an ambitious target for the creation of 13800 new jobs in the Borough during the period to 2021. The Strategy aims to build on the area’s existing strengths, including warehousing and distribution, whilst encouraging higher value added activities, such as offices and research and development. Wellingborough has a long-term opportunity to take advantage of its position between Oxford and Cambridge by providing good quality, competitively priced employment space for businesses linked to the research capabilities of these universities. One of the key resources that the town possesses that will help to stimulate knowledge-based businesses is the Wellingborough Innovation Centre. Plans will also need to be put in place to increase access to training and develop the required skills.

The North Northamptonshire Employment Land Futures Study (http://www.nntogether.co.uk/library/docdetail.asp?docid=64) concluded that the planned scale of growth in the Borough will require the provision of about 99ha of land for strategic distribution (78ha) and offices (21ha). Owing to continued decline in manufacturing, there will not be a need to increase the overall amount of general industrial land, although there is likely to be some demand for new development of this type.  The Site Specific Proposals DPD will, however, need to ensure not only that provision is made for an appropriate scale of industrial and commercial development but that this is provided on sites that are of a high quality, well located and attractive to the market. The emerging Core Spatial Strategy indicates that a ten-year land supply should be identified with monitoring mechanisms to trigger a review.

 

 In determining the amount of land to be provided, account needs to be taken of the possible loss of existing employment sites to other uses. The existing Local Plan includes a policy that safeguards the industrial estates of Denington, Finedon Road, Park Farm, Ise Valley and Leyland. The location of these estates is shown on the map included in Appendix 1. The emerging Core Spatial Strategy further indicates that suitably located and commercially attractive employment land should be retained unless it is no longer required to meet employment needs.      

Which of the existing industrial estates referred to above should be retained for employment purposes?

Existing industrial estates

Are there any other existing employment areas that ought to be safeguarded (please specify any areas that you think should be protected)?
What measures, if any, need to be taken to ensure that existing employment areas meet market requirements?

 The existing Local Plan also contains a policy (E4) that allows for employment sites outside industrial estates to be used for other purposes where they are incapable of adaption or development for an industrial or commercial use or where existing amenity, traffic or other environmental problems cannot be overcome. Implementation of this policy has resulted in a number of buildings, particularly traditional factories, being converted or redeveloped for other uses, especially housing. The scale of this loss equates to approximately 1ha per year, which, if extrapolated over the period to 2021, would result in a reduction of 20ha of employment land. 

Should existing industrial buildings outside industrial estates be retained for employment purposes?

OPTIONS:

A: Continue the adopted Local Plan policy of allowing employment sites outside industrial estates to be used for other purposes provided that they are incapable of adaption or development for industrial or commercial use or where existing environmental problems cannot be overcome.

B: Safeguard all employment sites outside industrial estates by introducing a presumption against development for alternative uses.

C: Delete the adopted Local Plan policy, enabling all employment sites outside industrial estates to be redeveloped for alternative uses.

Existing industrial buildings 

The following paragraphs provide an indication of the type, scale and location of employment commitments in Wellingborough:

  • Completions  Approximately 9.75 ha of land was developed between 2001 and 2004 for a variety of employment purposes.
  • Offices  An outline planning application has been submitted for a major urban extension to the east of Wellingborough (WEAST). The submitted masterplan would, if approved, include provision for 22.35 ha for offices and light industrial purposes. Approximately 50% of this land would be included in a campus business park overlooking the River Nene and River Ise. East of the railway station, adjacent to the railway, (Station Island) the proposals include office development and high density mixed use residential and employment areas that will include offices together with light industrial and live-work units. Provision is also made for mixed-use development within a neighbourhood centre and local centres.
  • Storage and Distribution  Land North of the A45, extending to approximately 30.5 ha, is currently being developed by Prologis for strategic distribution. In addition, the masterplan for the urban extension to the east of the town includes 25.25 ha of land for distribution to the north of Finedon Rd in close proximity to the railway and therefore able to provide opportunities for rail based transport uses.
  • General Industrial  There is an estimated 55ha of land remaining for general industrial purposes. This includes 10.5 ha on Finedon Rd Industrial Estate and 11ha at Park Farm. Approximately 21ha of land is allocated for employment in the Local Plan (Policy U13) on the former Old Grammarians sports ground located to the North East of Finedon Rd Industrial Estate In addition, a further 12.81ha is included in the masterplan for Wellingborough East on land directly south of Finedon Rd

The above figures, when compared with those in paragraph 2.32, suggest a possible shortfall of up to 22ha for storage and distribution but indicate that Wellingborough East could provide sufficient land to meet the requirement for office space. The plan must, however, ensure not only that there is sufficient provision of employment land but that sites are attractive to the market and in locations that will minimise the length and number of trips, especially by motor vehicles,  and can be served by more energy efficient modes of transport (this is particularly important in the case of offices, light industrial development, and campus style developments such as science and business parks likely to have large numbers of employees). Development requiring access mainly to local roads should be located away from trunk roads, to avoid unnecessary congestion on roads designed for longer distance movement.     The Core Spatial Strategy indicates that the town centre is the preferred location for office development but recognises that certain types of business use (particularly research and development) may prefer more commercially attractive locations within the planned urban extensions to the east and north-west of the town or on other edge of town sites. At a site-specific level, strategic distribution normally requires flat sites that have excellent accessibility to the principal highway network.

Are their enough office devolpment sites?

Do existing commitments (referred to in paragraph 2.35, above) provide land for office development of sufficient quantity and quality to meet the future needs of the Borough?

Are there any sites within the town centre or on the edge of the town and in sustainable locations that should be allocated for offices, including research and development? (please indicate the location and area of the site on a map).

Are there any sites on the edge of the town and in sustainable locations that should be allocated for storage and distribution? (please indicate the location and area of the site on a map). Should any of the areas referred to in paragraph 2.35, above, as being for ‘general industrial purposes' be allocated specifically for either offices or storage and distribution?

Although the preferred development strategy outlined in the Core Spatial Strategy targets most development in the Borough to the town of Wellingborough, it also encourages local employment that creates vitality in the rural areas. Policies in the existing Local Plan seek to provide for employment opportunities by protecting a number of existing employment areas, shown on the map in Appendix 2, (Mallard Close/Baron Ave and Titley Bawk Avenue in Earls Barton; Finedon Sidings at Little Harrowden; Land at Sywell Aerodrome; and Raymond Close/Williams Way in Wollaston) whilst safeguarding other employment sites except where they are incapable of adaptation or development for an industrial or commercial use or existing amenity, traffic or other environmental problems cannot be overcome. In addition, as part of this issues and options paper stakeholders are invited to put forward sites for further consideration and possible inclusion in the plan. These aspirational sites should be submitted with a map extract highlighting the location and area of the site. Any site-specific proposals that we receive during the consultation process will be assessed against sustainability and locational criteria prior to the emergence of the Preferred Options document.

Which of the existing industrial estates referred to above should be retained for employment purposes?

Are there any other existing employment areas that ought to be safeguarded (please specify any areas that you think should be protected)?

What measures, if any, need to be taken to ensure that existing employment areas match market requirements? 

Should any new sites within the rural area be allocated for employment?  If so, please indicate the location and area of the site on a map.

Should existing industrial buildings outside industrial estates be retained for employment purposes?

OPTIONS:

A: Continue the adopted Local Plan policy of allowing employment sites outside industrial estates to be used for other purposes provided that they are incapable of adaption or development for industrial or commercial use or where existing environmental problems cannot be overcome.

B: Safeguard all employment sites outside industrial estates by introducing a presumption against development for alternative uses.

C: Delete the adopted Local Plan policy, enabling all employment sites outside industrial estates to be redeveloped for alternative uses.