Waveney Local Plan

Existing employment areas

204 Warwick Court8.59 Central to meeting jobs needs and securing a supply of premises to accommodate these is protecting suitably located and designed existing premises in employment use. Rental and freehold values for non-employment uses are often much higher than employment uses. This means premises in existing employment uses can become under threat from conversion. Additionally, replacement new-build employment premises are difficult to make financially viable.

8.60 The conversion of existing employment premises to other uses reduces the supply of employment premises and reduces the choice in the market for premises, particularly for smaller local businesses. Furthermore, where non-employment uses are introduced into areas with a high concentration of employment uses, compatibility problems can arise. The noise and odours of surrounding employment uses may not be compatible with the new non-employment use leading to nuisance complaints which could undermine other existing employment uses in the locality. Additionally, some non-employment uses which attract large numbers of customers can introduce problems with car parking which can make it difficult for HGVs and other industrial traffic to circulate around the employment area.

8.61 However, not all employment premises need to be protected from conversion. Some premises are located in areas where there are already a good mix of uses or in areas close to residential properties where an alternative use may be more appropriate.

8.62 Policy WLP8.12 identifies existing employment areas and protects premises in employment uses within these areas from conversion and redevelopment to other uses. Premises within these areas can only be converted to a non-employment use (B class use) if marketing evidence demonstrates there is no demand for employment use for a period of 12 months. Details on the requirements of marketing evidence are found within Appendix 6.

8.63 The identification of existing employment areas has been based on evidence in the Existing Employment Areas Review (2017). This study identified all areas where there are clusters of employment uses and made recommendations on the most appropriate areas to be protected. The existing employment areas are identified on the Policies Map.

8.64 Outside of existing employment areas, existing premises will be able to convert to any use subject to compliance with other planning policies in the Local Plan.

8.65 Policy WLP8.12 also allows for quasi-retail uses such as car showrooms, tyre and exhaust centres and builders merchants on the main road frontages of employment areas. These uses are often not suitable in town centre locations due to their size and characteristics. If located within existing employment areas, conflicts between industrial traffic and general traffic can occur. Therefore a more appropriate location is on the main road frontages of these areas. These uses can sometimes improve the appearance of industrial areas, and by allowing them on existing employment areas, it provides a suitable developed location for these uses which are difficult to accommodate in the town centre.  

Policy WLP8.12 - Existing Employment Areas

Existing Employment Areas are identified on the Policies Map.

Within Existing Employment Areas, proposals involving the redevelopment or change of use of existing employment premises falling within use classes B1, B2 or B8, for uses not falling within use classes B1, B2 or B8 will only be permitted where:

  • Marketing evidence is provided which demonstrates the premises have been marketed for a sustained period of 12 months in accordance with the requirements set out in Appendix 6; and
  • The proposed use is compatible with the surrounding employment uses in terms of car parking, access, noise, odour and other amenity concerns.

Exceptionally, quasi-retail uses (not falling within use class A1) may be permitted on the main road frontages of Existing Employment Areas which have good access to a range of transport options. Such development should not be detrimental to the efficient and effective use of the remainder of the Existing Employment Area.

Outside of Existing Employment Areas the redevelopment or change of use of existing employment premises falling within use classes B1, B2 and B8 will be permitted.

Neighbourhood Plans may identify additional premises or clusters of premises outside of Existing Employment Areas within use classes B1, B2 and B8 for protection from redevelopment or change of use if local evidence supports it.