Draft Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report

Ended on the 15th January 2010
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6 Industrial and employment areas

6.1 Introduction

6.1.1 This chapter sets out for Harlow’s industrial and employment areas the policy context; the key sustainability objectives that need to be considered, the situation now (including any problems); the situation without the plan (i.e. the business-as-usual scenario); and issues which we think should provide a particular focus for the appraisal of the Core Strategy and other DPDs.

6.2 What’s the policy context?

6.2.1 National Planning Policy Guidance 4 (PPG4)54 addresses the location of new business developments with the key message that “economic growth and a high-quality environment have to be pursued together". It adds that the locational demands of industry should be a key consideration in drawing up plans. Consultation has recently closed on a new PPS4: Planning for Prosperous Economies55. This PPS will consolidate all national planning policy on economic development in urban and rural areas and town centres.

6.2.2 Policy E3: Strategic Employment Sites of the East of England Plan states that “Local Development Documents should identify readily-serviceable strategic employment sites of the quality and quantity required to meet the needs of business". Harlow is listed as a regionally strategic location at which sites should be provided, in order to assist regeneration and ensure growth. Policy HA1: Harlow Key Centre for Development and Change of the Plan sets out a strategy for Harlow as a Key Centre for Development & Change and a Priority Area for Regeneration, developing this role as a “strategic employment location to 2021 and beyond". In addition, Harlow and the surrounding area (Braintree / Brentwood / Chelmsford / Epping Forest / Harlow / Maldon / Uttlesford) has a growth target of 56,000 jobs and will host a proportion of the 68,000 jobs growth envisaged for Hertfordshire.

6.2.3 The East of England Plan states that “the expansion of Harlow provides a major opportunity to address the substantial need for economic and physical regeneration of the post war new town, to meet a significant proportion of the development needs of the London Stansted Cambridge Peterborough growth are to 2021 and beyond, including in regard to employment activities related to the growth of Stansted Airport and housing, and to enhance Harlow’s sub-regional status as an important centre for the surrounding areas of Essex and Hertfordshire".

6.2.4 The Harlow Regeneration Strategy 2006-200956 sets out the following 5-10 year targets in relation to employment and industrial sites:

  • New employment opportunities through investment in existing employment areas

  • The creation of new areas such as the Nortel employment area

  • Greater diversity of employment with a strong small and medium enterprises (SME) sector and high rates of new business formation and entrepreneurship

  • Recognised clusters of economic specialism in key sectors of importance to the regional economy such as Research and Development (R&D)

  • Regeneration of the older employment areas.

6.2.5 The Harlow Replacement Local Plan57 proposed an additional 50ha of employment land to be made available for development in Harlow. It released green field land for this purpose, stating that there is no suitable previously developed land (PDL) available for re-use. The plan states that “allocating employment land near to existing employment land provides synergy for the new development". It allocated land adjacent to Nortel (existing employment site) and at Newhall (to achieve a mixed-use development). The sequential approach is to be applied in the determination of development proposals on unallocated sites. The plan also states that the best use should be made of existing employment land, through the reuse and intensification of PDL. Furthermore, land in existing general employment areas is also safeguarded from development for other uses.

6.2.6 The Harlow Employment Study (2009) was commissioned to inform options for the LDF Core Strategy and the Regional Spatial Strategy review. Across the Growth Area, within Harlow District and Growth Area locations in neighbouring parts of East Hertfordshire and Epping Forest Districts, this study:

  • Identifies and ranks employment sites

  • Identifies primary employment locations

  • Identifies of secondary employment locations

  • Assesses the effect of decline or loss of secondary employment locations

  • Identifies requirements to strengthen secondary employment locations

  • Identifies requirements to allow a change of use

  • Presents a potential strategic hierarchy of employment locations.

6.3 What are the key sustainability objectives that we need to consider?

6.3.1 Many of the objectives set out in the Integrated Regional Sustainability Framework for the East of England – see Table 2 – are relevant in considering future impacts on Harlow’s industrial and employment areas. Particularly relevant objectives include:

  • Promote sustainable growth within environmental limits

  • Reduce poverty and inequality and promote social inclusion

  • Promote employment, learning, skills and innovation

  • Increase resource efficiency and reduce resource use and waste

  • Conserve, restore and enhance the region’s natural and built environment

  • Move goods and people sustainably

  • Meet the needs of the changing regional demographic.

6.3.2 Harlow also has a number of key priorities for 2009/10 to 2012/13 as outlined in the Council’s Sustainability Strategy and approved in January 2009 by the Environment and Community Committee58:

  • Regenerating the Town

  • Promoting a clean, green, healthy and safe environment

  • Improving Harlow for business.

6.4 What’s the situation now?

6.4.1 The Gibberd Masterplan for Harlow set out two large industrial estates at the North and the West of the town. These two distinct areas are still used for industrial and employment purposes and are known as, respectively, the Pinnacles and Templefields.

6.4.2 In addition to the major sites of Pinnacles and Templefields, other employment locations within the Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan within Harlow include:

  • Edinburgh Way (adjacent to Templefields)

  • The Town Centre

  • Land North of Nortel Employment Area

  • Railway Station

  • Staple Tye

  • Bush Fair

  • Gilden Way

  • Newhall

  • Church Langley

  • Burnt Mill.

6.4.3 Outside of the main employment areas the neighbourhood centres provide employment opportunities that are more easily accessible to residential areas. However, “It is considered that the neighbourhood service areas have reached their capacity for retail uses (A1/A2/A3)60". It should be noted that neighbourhood centres provide employment for residents who are not mobile and/or do not live near industrial and major employment areas.

6.4.4 There are a number of impacts as a result of the allocation of land that should be considered. The allocation of land for employment North of Nortel Networks, for example, will displace a number of sports and recreation facilities62. There are also likely to be impacts on green field land as a result of lack of PDL for new allocation of employment land, where re-use and regeneration is not an option. According to the Harlow Replacement Plan: “there are few opportunities for identifying new land for employment in Harlow, due to the separation of housing and employment areas and the constraints on developing Green Wedges and Green Belt63".

6.4.5 Traffic destined for the main employment areas currently causes congestion problems around the centre. This is largely as a result of the M11 being located to the east, rather than the west, of Harlow; as was not envisaged in the original masterplan for the town.

6.4.6 The proximity of the M11 and M25 to Harlow also means that residents in the Harlow catchment area for employment are likely to travel to competing town centres, such as Cambridge and Chelmsford. A further consideration for industrial and employment areas includes the quality of environment for employees and whether it is a desirable working location. For example, the retail warehouses at Edinburgh Way are considered to “dilute the character" of this area of employment64.

6.5 What will be the situation without the plan?

6.5.1 Without the plan, not enough land may be taken forward for employment and industrial use, as a result of which Harlow’s employment sector, economy and community more widely will suffer. In addition, land for employment may be poorly allocated – such as on green field land sites or at inaccessible locations – and may not be suitable for purpose. Existing employment land may deteriorate and not receive the necessary investment and support from the District.

(1) 6.6 What issues should be a particular focus for the appraisal?

6.6.1 In light of the information above, key issues to take into account in the appraisal in relation to industrial and employment areas include:

  • The need to appropriately allocate land for employment and industrial use in suitable locations and in the required amount

  • The need to improve the environmental quality of industrial and employment areas

  • The need to re-use employment land and allocate land on PDL where possible.


54 Communities and Local Government (1992) Planning Policy Guidance 4: Industrial, Commercial Development and Small Firms [online] available at:
www.communities.gov.uk/planningandbuilding/planning/planningpolicyguidance/planningpolicystatements/planningpolicyguidance/ppg4/ (accessed 10 September 2009).

55 Communities and Local Government (2009) Planning Policy Statement – Consultation Paper on a new Planning Policy Statement 4: Planning for Prosperous Economies [online] available at:
www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/consultationeconomicpps (accessed 25 August 2009)

56 Harlow Council (2007) Regeneration Strategy and Implementation Plan 2007-2009 [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/business_services/regeneration_unit/harlow_regeneration_strategy.asp (accessed 10 September 2009).

57 Harlow Council (2006) Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/environment/planning/harlow_replacement_local_plan.aspx (accessed 10 September 2009).

58 Harlow District Council (2009) Harlow Sustainability Strategy [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/corporate_services/policy_and_performance/sustainability_strategy.aspx (accessed 10 September 2009).

60 Harlow Council (2006) Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/environment/planning/harlow_replacement_local_plan.aspx (accessed 10 September 2009).

61 (2009) Harlow Employment Study - Additional Analysis and Commentary - Draft Report for Discussion [not available online]

62 Harlow Council (2006) Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/environment/planning/harlow_replacement_local_plan.aspx (accessed 10 September 2009).

63 Harlow Council (2006) Adopted Replacement Harlow Local Plan [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/environment/planning/harlow_replacement_local_plan.aspx (accessed 10 September 2009).

64 PACEC and Halcrow Group Limited (2005) Harlow Regeneration Strategy – Final Report [online] available at:
www.harlow.gov.uk/about_the_council/council_services/business_services/regeneration_unit/harlow_regeneration_strategy.asp (accessed 10 September 2009).

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