Chichester Local Plan 2021 - 2039: Proposed Submission

Ended on the 17 March 2023
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Chapter 7: Employment and Economy

Meeting Business and Employment Needs

Background

7.1. The Local Plan objectives support a strong, thriving and diverse economy, improving employment opportunities for all skills whilst moving to a low carbon economy. This reflects the Plan vision and the main priorities identified in the council's Economic Development Strategy. This in turn reflects the key priorities of the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership (LEP) and the West Sussex County Economic Strategy. A key element of the Economic Development Strategy for the district is a targeted approach supporting the growth of indigenous businesses, whilst encouraging inward investment.

7.2. The Local Plan will assist the creation of new jobs in a variety of ways, most obviously through the allocation of land for employment uses, but also by less direct means, for example, by promoting town centre regeneration, supporting local services in rural areas, enhancing visitor facilities, supporting expansion of education and training, building new dwellings and facilitating improvements to transport and telecommunications.

7.3. The Local Plan also seeks to maintain an attractive environment through protecting the landscape and heritage assets which will encourage tourism and inward investment from businesses that wish to locate here.

7.4. The Chichester Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment considers the amount of employment land to provide for in this Plan. Based on a combination of labour demand (for office use) and past trends (for industrial and warehousing uses), with an allowance for flexibility, replacement of some losses and an adjustment for Covid, it recommends between 108,000 and 115,000 sqm of employment floorspace is provided for between 2021 and 2039, comprised of between 36,500 and 43,000sqm of office space, 50,500sqm of industrial space and 21,000sqm of warehousing (all rounded to the nearest 500sqm).

7.5. The Local Plan makes provision for the identified needs through a combination of different sources as outlined in the policy below. In addition to completions and pipeline supply, employment is provided for through bringing forward some allocations of land from the Local Plan Key Policies 2014-29, where the employment space has not yet all been delivered at:

  • Land west of Chichester (see Policy A6). Phase one has an existing permission. A further 22,000sqm of employment space could be delivered in phase two;
  • Land at Chichester Business Park, Tangmere (see Policy A19) an existing permission covers most of the site, with just one plot remaining without permission;
  • Land at Shopwyke (see Policy A7). Employment land at Glenmore Business Park is now complete but a further 4,000 sqm is covered by an outline permission covering the rest of the SDL.

7.6. Site allocations in the Site Allocations DPD 2014 – 2029 at:

  • Land at Kingsham Road [44]– 7,200sqm office space

7.7. And a new allocation at:

  • Land south of Bognor Road (see Policy A20) a minimum of 28,000sqm

7.8. In addition, provision is made within some of the new strategic site allocations (Chidham and Hambrook and Land East of Chichester) for flexible working space to be provided within local centres/community hub buildings, and local provision will also be made through neighbourhood plans, and at the Southbourne Broad Location for Development.

7.9. Elsewhere, planning policies will:

  • Safeguard existing employment sites from unjustified loss to other uses, whilst providing some flexibility to allow for leisure and community uses where clearly justified; and
  • Encourage refurbishment and intensification of existing employment sites
  • Provide for new employment sites within existing settlement boundaries

7.10. Policy A21 safeguards land to the east of Rolls Royce for employment development related to Rolls Royce. This is not included in the employment figures below as it relates specifically to future operational needs for Rolls Royce rather than to the broader employment requirement identified in the HEDNA.

Policy E1 Meeting Employment Land Needs

To contribute towards sustainable economic growth, provision will be made for a net additional 108,000 to 115,000sqm of new floorspace for office, industrial and warehousing use, in addition to other employment-generating uses, through the following sources of supply:

Category

Floorspace (m2)

Employment floorspace requirement for the full Plan period (1 April 2021 to 31 March 2039)

Identified need from HEDNA

108,000 to 115,000

Identified sources of supply

Employment floorspace completions (1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022)

3,695

Floorspace supply

(1 April 2022 to 31 March 2039)

Permissions

53,655

Allocation in Site Allocations DPD 2014 - 2029

7,200

Proposed allocations in this Plan (see Strategic Site Allocations Chapter)

Brought forward from adopted plan (remaining employment space without permission):

Land West of Chichester

Chichester Business Park

New allocations:

Land South of Bognor Road

22,000

92

28,000

Total supply for the full Plan period (1 April 2021 to 31 March 2039)

114,652

Proposals for employment related development on unallocated sites will be supported in accordance with Policy E2 of this Plan. Proposals for significant new office development will be encouraged in Chichester city centre in accordance with Policy A1. Smaller-scale office developments will be supported in other settlements in accordance with Policy E2.

Existing Employment Sites

7.10. To support a thriving and adaptable local economy, there is a need to maintain a flexible supply of employment land and premises. However, opportunities for new employment sites are limited and therefore, it is important to make best use of the existing stock of employment land and floorspace. This means retaining suitable employment sites and encouraging their refurbishment, upgrading and intensification to meet modern business needs.

7.11. The council has regularly reviewed the suitability of existing employment sites to contribute towards meeting the economic needs of the area. Where justified, a small number of sites have previously been released for other uses. The evidence of need prepared for this Local Plan in the form of the Chichester Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment (2022) indicates that there is a significant need for net additional employment floorspace across the Plan Area. The broad strategy to meet the employment floorspace needs is set out in the strategic employment Policy E1.

7.12. As well as proposing new strategic allocations for new employment floorspace, the strategy is also reliant on protecting existing employment sites from losses to other uses where these remain suitable for business, industrial and related employment uses. The council will encourage the refurbishment, upgrading and intensification of these sites to make them more commercially attractive.

7.13. The focus of employment floorspace provision within the plan area is on uses within Classes B2 (General Industry), Class B8 (Storage and Distribution) and Class E(g) (offices, research and development and any industrial process that can be carried out in a residential area without detriment to amenity). Other uses providing employment may be considered appropriate on existing employment sites where they are of a similar character in terms of providing jobs, the skills they require and their contribution to the GVA of the plan area.

7.14. Following changes to the Use Classes Order and permitted development rights during 2020 and 2021, changes from Class E (g) to other uses within the E class (Commercial Business and Service), to residential use or for use as a state funded school can be made under permitted development rights, subject to prior approval processes. Class B8 also has permitted development rights to change to residential use. It remains unclear if greater flexibility for commercial uses will strengthen its protection from conversion to residential. The council will monitor the number of changes of use of business and industrial units which fall under Class E to Class C3 (residential) to understand the loss of such units and the impact on the district's longer-term ability to meet the need for employment floorspace. Should the need arise to safeguard the provision of employment floorspace, the council will explore measures to provide protection such as the introduction of Article 4 Directions to restrict changes of use from employment to residential uses.

7.15. Where planning permission is required for a change of use to a non-employment generating use, applicants will need to provide evidence that the site is no longer required for employment. In particular, applicants will need to provide supporting evidence on the viability of the site for continued employment use (guidance is set out in Appendix C) including the availability of employment land/floorspace in the local area and demonstrating that genuine attempts have been made over an extended period to market the site for commercial or similar uses.

7.16. Given the limited opportunities for employment uses with direct access to the coast and reflecting the Chichester Harbour Conservancy Management Plan's planning principles, particular scrutiny will be given to the marketing evidence for marine related employment sites with the aim of preserving these uses.

7.17. Development proposals for main town centre uses (including offices) will be expected to comply with the other policies of this Plan, including the direction of such uses to retail centres and edge of centres in the first instance (see Policies E5 and E6), in line with the sequential test set out in national policy.

New Employment Sites

7.18. A new strategic employment-led site is allocated on Land South of Bognor Road at North Mundham. Land East of Rolls Royce is safeguarded for future employment development related to Rolls Royce. These policies set out the detailed site-specific requirements for development at these sites. Other strategic site allocations (including those already allocated within the Site Allocations DPD 2014 - 2029) also make provision for new employment land to come forward as part of a wider allocation.

7.19. It is recognised that there may be proposals in the future for additional employment provision outside of the strategic site allocations and existing employment sites. The review of the Use Classes Order in 2020 with the creation of the new and wider Use Class E Commercial, Business and Service Uses will also allow greater flexibility to change between uses. Significant new office developments will still be encouraged to locate within Chichester city and the settlement hubs of the plan area whilst other E(g), B2, B8 and similar employment class uses will be encouraged within the settlement boundaries of other defined settlements within the plan area. Policy NE10 deals with the conversion of existing buildings in the countryside to employment uses.

Policy E2 Employment Development

Existing Employment Sites

At existing employment sites, where required, planning permission will be granted for development within the business and industrial use classes E(g), B2, B8 of new floorspace and the refurbishment, upgrading or modernisation of existing premises, where it can be demonstrated that:

  1. There is no material increase in noise levels resulting from machinery usage, vehicle movement, or other activity on the site, which would be likely to adversely impact occupants of nearby residential properties; and
  2. The proposal is not of a scale that is likely to cause unacceptable visual amenity harm to nearby residential properties or cause harm to the enjoyment of the countryside; and
  3. The proposal would not generate unacceptable levels of traffic movement, soil, water, odour or air pollution and there is no adverse impact resulting from artificial lighting on the occupants of nearby residential properties or on the appearance of the site in the landscape or on its ecology; and
  4. Where development would result in an expansion of the existing employment site into countryside, that the development is required to meet a local need, is proportionate to its location and would not harm the character of the rural area; and
  5. For class E(g), that the sequential test set out in national policy has been met, unless the proposal is for small-scale rural development.

Existing employment sites will be retained to safeguard their contribution to the local economy. Employment uses other than those in use classes E(g), B2 or B8 which require planning permission, will be permitted on existing employment sites provided they are of a similar character in terms of providing jobs, the skills they require and their contribution to long-term economic growth. Where the proposed alternative use is a main town centre use, the sequential test set out in national policy must be met.

Where planning permission is required for alternative non-employment uses on land or floorspace currently in or last used for employment generating uses, it must be demonstrated (in terms of the evidence requirements in Appendix C) that the site is no longer required and is unlikely to be re-used or redeveloped for employment uses to meet future demand.

New Employment Sites

Development proposals for employment generating uses within Use Class E(g), B2, B8 and uses compatible with a business or industrial location will be permitted within the settlement boundaries, as defined on the policies map and provided such proposals are compliant with other relevant policies within this Local Plan.

Proposals for new office development will be permitted in Chichester city centre and the settlement hubs in accordance with the sequential test set out in national policy. Small-scale office uses will be permitted in other service villages to meet local needs and as part of the residential-led allocations provided for in the strategic policies.

Development proposals must demonstrate that:

  1. There is no material increase in noise levels resulting from machinery usage, vehicle movement, or other activity on the site, which would be likely to adversely impact occupants of nearby residential properties or be of a scale that is likely to cause harm to the enjoyment of the countryside; and
  2. The proposal would not generate unacceptable levels of traffic movement, soil, water, odour or air pollution and there is no adverse impact resulting from artificial lighting on the occupants of nearby residential properties or on the appearance of the site in the landscape or on its ecology.

The council will require new employment development, where feasible, to provide for an appropriate range of unit types and sizes to accommodate the needs of start-up and move-on businesses within the plan area.

Addressing Horticultural Needs

Background

7.20. The southern part of the plan area accommodates a horticultural industry which has taken advantage of the comparatively high light levels experienced in the area to become nationally and internationally competitive. The council has a long-standing track record in supporting this industry through the designation of four Horticultural Development Areas (HDAs) around Tangmere, Runcton, Sidlesham and Almodington.

7.21. In considering the needs of the industry through the plan period, the findings of the Housing and Economic Development Needs Assessment 2020 (HEDNA) and subsequent monitoring of development needs have been taken into account. Approximately, 67 hectares is identified as necessary to meet the future horticultural land need within HDAs over the plan period. However, given the historical pattern of horticultural development outside of HDAs, an additional 137 hectares of horticultural land is also forecast to be required outside of HDAs to meet future need.

7.22. In response to the findings of the HEDNA, the council has reviewed the function and capacity of the previously designated HDAs as a policy tool to meet the anticipated future needs of the industry.

7.23. The council has concluded that the existing HDAs at Tangmere, Runcton, Sidlesham and Almodington should be retained with the following principles of development to apply:

  1. Taking account of existing commitments (i.e. planning permission already granted), some of the remaining requirement can potentially be accommodated within the existing Tangmere and Runcton HDAs.

Horticultural Land Requirement

Identified Land Need within HDAs (HEDNA 2020)

67 ha

Horticultural Land Available

Tangmere HDA land currently free of permissions

38 ha

Runcton HDA land currently showing free of permissions

9 ha

Total land currently free from planning permissions within Tangmere and Runcton HDAs

47 ha

Shortfall in HDA Horticultural Land

HDA land still required

20 ha

  1. There is however, insufficient availability within HDAs to cover the forecast horticultural and ancillary development need. Land at the Runcton HDA is almost at capacity and the Runcton HDA boundary has therefore been reviewed. The HDA will be extended at its southern boundary to include a further 30 hectares of land promoted by the horticultural industry for horticultural development as shown on the policies map.
  2. Land will continue to be utilised where available, within the HDAs and then where possible, on areas of land adjacent to the HDAs.
  3. Small-scale horticultural development will continue to be focussed within the Sidlesham and Almodington HDAs.
  4. The HDA boundaries at Runcton and Tangmere have been reviewed generally, which has led to the proposed deletions to the Runcton HDA boundary as shown on the policies map.

7.24. Horticultural and ancillary development proposed outside of the HDAs will need to provide clear justification as to why the development cannot be accommodated within the HDAs.

7.25. The policy set out below identifies the horticultural needs of the plan area, and the broad strategy to meet this need whilst Policy E4 is a criterion-based policy requiring set criteria to be addressed within HDAs and additional criteria to be met for development proposals outside of HDAs.

Policy E3 Addressing Horticultural Needs

To support the growth of the horticultural industry within the plan area, approximately 204 hectares of additional land for horticultural and ancillary development is required over the plan period from 2021 to 2039.

Approximately 67 hectares is identified as required within HDAs to meet predicted horticultural and ancillary development need within HDAs. Large scale horticultural and ancillary development will continue to be focused within the HDAs at Tangmere and Runcton where approximately 47 hectares remains undeveloped. The remaining horticultural development need will be accommodated in a planned extension at the southern boundary of Runcton HDA which comprises some 30 hectares of land.

Land will continue to be utilised where available within the HDAs and then where possible, on areas of land adjacent to the HDAs. Policy E4 sets out the detailed considerations for applications in the HDAs.

Approximately 137 hectares of land is also needed outside of HDAs to meet anticipated horticultural and ancillary development land need for the plan period. Any such proposals will need to meet the additional criteria in Policy E4 which applies to horticultural development proposed outside of HDAs.

The Sidlesham and Almodington HDAs will continue to be the focus for smaller scale horticultural glasshouses.

Horticultural Development

Background

7.26. To ensure that the plan area's horticultural industry remains nationally and internationally competitive, it is important that sufficient suitable sites are available. To support this activity, the council has designated Horticultural Development Areas (HDAs) in the countryside, where glasshouses, polytunnels and related facilities (such as packhouses and grainstores), may be allowed and the impact of their large size and bulk is minimised.

7.27. There are four designated HDAs as shown on the policies map:

  • Tangmere;
  • Runcton;
  • Sidlesham and Highleigh; and
  • Almodington.

7.28. Large-scale horticultural development at Tangmere and Runcton is characterised by major expanses of large buildings, which have good access to the main road network. These businesses supply large supermarkets, garden centres and food chains, and are required to adapt and improve constantly to maintain this market. Consequently, operators seek to increase production volume, with larger premises to achieve the economies of scale required to remain viable. The council considers that the HDAs should remain available for growing and packing horticultural products and other processes directly related to their production. These other processes are classed as "ancillary development".

7.29. Smaller scale horticultural development will be focused within the existing HDAs at Sidlesham and Almodington. This is due to the nature of the land as former Land Settlement Areas formed in the 1930s, which were later designated as HDAs in 1992. Many of the horticultural businesses located in these areas are small-scale as the patchwork nature of the landholdings makes land assembly, and therefore expansion, difficult. These areas are further from the A27 than the Tangmere and Runcton HDAs and are less well served by the road network.

7.30. As set out in the spatial strategy, it is not expected that large scale horticultural development will occur in the Sidlesham and Almodington HDAs and instead, is intended to be housed within the Tangmere and Runcton HDAs. The principle to be followed in the Local Plan is to reinforce the use of the Sidlesham and Almodington areas for smaller scale horticultural/market garden operations.

7.31. Notwithstanding the extension to the Runcton HDA detailed in the strategic policy, it is acknowledged that additional land will be required by the horticultural industry to expand further through the Plan period. The preferred approach for horticultural development is for land within existing HDAs to be used first and if not possible, land adjacent to an HDA. When it can be demonstrated that no suitable land within HDAs is available, land outside HDAs may be considered. The Horticultural Development Policy is divided into two parts; the first part applies to horticultural development within a designated HDA where in principle horticultural development is acceptable. The second part of the policy is a criterion-based policy which applies to new horticultural development outside designated HDAs. The criteria in both parts of the policy are applicable to applications located outside a designated HDA.

7.32. The policy for development outside HDAs requires applicants to demonstrate why the development cannot be located within an HDA. It is important therefore for the applicant to provide reasons why the new development cannot be located within an HDA. For example, why the land within HDAs is not available for development. This may need to be substantiated with evidence such as an enquiry log including how it was followed up and why it was unsuccessful i.e. whether the marketing price was realistic.

7.33. Where it can be demonstrated that development within HDAs is significantly hindered, particularly at Runcton and Tangmere, the council will, where appropriate, investigate the use of its compulsory purchase powers, when all other avenues have been exhausted, to enable the expansion of the horticultural industry.

7.34. When considering the proposals for new development outside HDAs, attention will be given to transport and accessibility, visual impact on the landscape and the amenity of local residents. In addition, that soil, water, air, noise and light pollution levels are minimised and mitigated.

7.35. Water resources are managed by the Environment Agency through a Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) approach. This assesses how much water is available in each catchment, how much is allocated to people and how much is needed to sustain the environment. The Arun and Western Streams Abstraction Licensing Strategy (March 2019) sets out the current situation within the Chichester District.

7.36. Any future applications for abstraction licences will be considered in accordance with the Strategy, taking into account the needs of the environment and existing abstractors. Any proposals for horticultural development should consider any potential impact on water resources and consider mitigation measures to reduce its impact and maintain security of supply.

Policy E4 Horticultural Development

Large scale horticultural development will continue to be focused within the existing HDAs at Tangmere and Runcton. The Sidlesham and Almodington HDAs will continue to be the focus for smaller scale horticultural glasshouses.

Within designated HDAs, as shown on the policies map, planning permission will be granted for new horticultural and ancillary development where it can be demonstrated that the following criteria (1-10) have been met:

  1. There is no significant adverse increase in noise levels resulting from machinery usage, vehicle movement, or other activity on the site, which would be likely to unacceptably disturb occupants of nearby noise sensitive properties or the environment, including wildlife, or be likely to cause unacceptable harm to the enjoyment of the countryside;
  2. The proposal does not generate unacceptable levels of soil, water, odour or air pollution and there is no significant adverse impact resulting from artificial lighting on the occupants of nearby sensitive properties or the environment, or on the overall landscape generally;
  3. New planting is sufficient to benefit an improvement to the landscape and increases the potential for screening;
  4. Adequate vehicular access arrangements exist or will be provided from the site to the road network to safely accommodate vehicle movements without detriment to highway safety or result in unacceptable harm to residential amenity;
  5. The height and bulk of development, either individually or cumulatively, does not damage the character or appearance of the surrounding countryside, and mitigation measures are included to address any detrimental effects e.g. in order to mitigate the height and bulk of new horticultural structures;
  6. It can be demonstrated that adequate water resources are available or can be provided and appropriate water efficiency measures are included; and
  7. Acceptable surface water drainage capacity exists or can be provided as part of the development including sustainable drainage systems or water retention areas;
  8. The proposal ensures that development avoids harm to protected species and existing important habitats and features and facilitates the achievement of biodiversity net gain.
  9. The proposal retains and enhances existing connecting habitats as well as facilitates the creation of new levels of habitat connectivity within the site and to the wider Green Infrastructure network and identified Strategic Wildlife Corridors. The proposal ensures the impact of development on the strategic wildlife corridors has been minimised, including through the provision of appropriate buffers along linear features in relation to important habitats which are being retained and/or created, whilst minimising light spill into corridors.
  10. The proposal successfully avoids and/or mitigates potential impacts on the Pagham SPA/Ramsar, including contributing to any strategic access management issues (including on-site mitigation where required as part of the Habitats Regulations Assessment), and potential for loss of functionally linked supporting habitat.

Outside HDAs

The policy approach for horticultural development is for land within existing HDAs to be utilised first. Where no suitable land within HDAs is available, development proposals for horticultural and ancillary development on land adjacent to HDAs is preferred followed by land elsewhere in the plan area. All development proposals on land outside HDAs will need to address the criteria above (1-8) as well as the additional criteria (9-12) below:

  1. There is a horticultural justification for the development, and it can be demonstrated that the proposal cannot be accommodated within existing HDAs;
  2. The land is sufficiently well drained, level and of a quality to be suitable for horticultural development;
  3. Necessary infrastructure and services are available or will be provided; and
  4. Long views across substantially open land are retained.

Planning applications for horticultural and ancillary development will need to consider the policies concerning biodiversity; wildlife; the natural landscape; and pollution. The accommodation for agricultural, horticultural and other rural workers policy may also be relevant.

Retail Strategy and New Development

Background

7.37. The overall strategy for the plan area is to improve the vitality and viability of the district's city, local centres and village parades by:

  • Safeguarding the commercial function and character of each centre;
  • Enhancing the appearance, safety and environmental quality of the centres;
  • Encouraging a diversity of uses within centres, enabling a range of retail, leisure, social, education, arts, cultural, office, commercial and, where appropriate, residential uses;
  • Improving and enhancing the resilience of the centres;
  • Promoting the short and long-term reuse for vacant buildings;
  • Enhancing the early evening and night-time economy;
  • Improving access to the centres by sustainable modes of transport and encouraging multi-purpose trips.

Defining the hierarchy of centres

7.38. Chichester city is considered to be a sub-regional centre. Its geography results in the city being a dominant centre for its immediate catchment area. However, as a major tourist and visitor destination, due to its heritage and cultural offer in particular, Chichester city draws spend from beyond its primary catchment area. As such, the city provides a 'multi-layered' retail offer, from fulfilling day to day convenience shopping needs to a specialist retail role through the variety of specialist and independent shops on offer within the city centre (or town centre as defined in the NPPF), as well as retail warehouse parks at Barnfield Drive and Portfield.

7.39. In addition, there are local centres at Selsey and East Wittering which provide a large range of convenience shops. A further local centre will be developed at Tangmere as the strategic development location is developed.

City and Local Centre Boundaries

7.40. The designation of town centre boundaries is important when applying the sequential approach, to direct town centre uses to sustainable locations and to determine whether an impact assessment is required. In line with the NPPF, a city centre boundary has been defined for Chichester city (shown as town centre boundary on the policies map) which will be the basis for applying the sequential test. The primary shopping area for the city centre is still retained as a focus for the concentration of retail development, though recognising that this area will comprise a range of town centre uses which complement the retail sector.

7.41. The Selsey local centre boundary has been designated through its Neighbourhood Plan (2021), whilst the East Wittering local centre boundary has been defined in the Site Allocation Development Plan Document 2014 – 2029 (as set out in Appendix H the East Wittering local centre boundary has been saved).

Impact Assessment

7.42. An impact assessment will be required for retail and leisure proposals outside the defined city and local centre boundaries, which are not in accordance with the Local Plan and which exceed the thresholds set out in Policy E5 below. Where an impact assessment is required, it will need to successfully address the issues set out in national guidance and policy.

Future Retail Floorspace Requirements

7.43. The Retail Study Update Report 2022 identifies the floorspace requirements for future retail development up to 2039. It demonstrates that the overall retail and food/beverage floorspace projections for Chichester city up to 2035 can be accommodated by the existing stock rather than new development.

7.44. The report also considers needs for retail and food/beverage floorspace in Selsey, East Wittering/Bracklesham and elsewhere in the plan area. It only identifies a modest need over the plan period for the rest of the plan area (1,300 sqm)[45]. As there is sufficient vacant floorspace to meet the needs for Selsey and East Wittering/ Bracklesham over the first 10 years of the plan period, no additional allocations are considered necessary in those areas.

Table 7.1: Convenience and comparison goods retail and food/beverage floorspace projections up to 2039 (sq.m gross)

Convenience goods retail

Comparison goods retail

Food/beverage

Total

Chichester City

1,600

4,500

3,700

9,800

All other areas

300

200

800

1,300

Total

1,900

4,700

4,500

11,100

Policy E5 Retail Strategy and New Development

Retail and hospitality Needs

For the period to 2035 provision will be made for 6,600 sq.m (gross) of comparison and convenience goods retail floorspace and food/beverage uses across the plan area, primarily through the re-occupation of vacant floorspace, as well as limited new development within strategic housing sites.,

Retail and hospitality floorspace provided as part of the strategic sites will need to meet the requirements set out in the site allocation policies and should be suitable in scale to the level of growth proposed as part of the allocation and shall not have a significant adverse impact upon the vitality and viability of existing centres.

Hierarchy of Centres

The vitality and viability of the city and local centres will be maintained and enhanced. The scale, character and role of the centres define their position within the hierarchy.

The network of centres within the plan area is as follows:

  • Chichester city centre (defined as town centre on the policies map); and
  • Selsey and East Wittering (defined as local centres on the policies map)

In order to maintain and safeguard the established hierarchy of centres, main town centre uses will be directed to the city and local centres defined in this policy and in accordance with other Local Plan policies in relation to specific uses. Proposals for main town centre uses outside the city and local centres will be subject to the sequential test as set out in the NPPF and the Planning Practice Guidance (except where they comply with the strategic allocations policies or Policy E7 Local Centres).

Where proposals for main town centre uses outside of existing centres can be demonstrated to pass the sequential test, such proposals should be of a scale that is appropriate for the role and function of the centre and should not unbalance the hierarchy.

In addition to the small-scale rural uses exempted by national policy, proposals for small-scale retail and leisure uses (including those in Use Class F2) that meet the day-to-day needs of local people will not be required to apply the sequential test.

Proposals for retail and leisure uses outside a defined city, local centre must be subject to an impact assessment where the floorspace of the proposed development exceeds the following thresholds:

  • Chichester city centre over 2,500 sq.m gross floorspace
  • Local centres: over 500 sq.m gross floorspace

Uses proposed outside of existing centres

All proposals for new main town centre uses including retail and leisure development outside of designated centres must also satisfy all the following criteria:

  1. Servicing and customer traffic can be safely and conveniently accommodated by the surrounding road network;
  2. The proposal is easily accessible by the highway network and public transport and includes provision for access by cycle and on foot;
  3. The design of the buildings will not detract from the character or appearance of the site or the surrounding area;
  4. The site proposed for such development is not required for other uses such as employment uses or housing; and
  5. The proposal has no significant adverse effects on the occupiers of neighbouring properties.

Chichester City Centre

Background

7.45. Chichester city centre (defined as town centre on the policies map) contains an extremely well established retail core situated within its historic street pattern, enriched by a wide array of historic buildings, a high-quality public realm, along with an extensive offering of complementary hospitality and cultural uses. The result is a vibrant centre, augmented by a largely affluent catchment population, all of which ensures that the centre is economically resilient, and well placed to withstand the wider economic challenges facing the retail sector.

7.46. The vitality of the city centre depends strongly on its attraction as a high-quality shopping destination. Its traditional role as the main focus for retail activity has been challenged to a certain extent in recent years by out of centre retail development, the rise in online shopping and more recently the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has accelerated the rise in online shopping, while also damaging traditional bricks and mortar shopping. It is important that the city centre continues to retain and develop its retail, hospitality and leisure offering in order to retain existing market share and attract new trade. However, the historic character of the city centre may mean that potential future retail development may be constrained in some respects.

7.47. In order to maintain and enhance Chichester city's retail position, opportunities should be taken to improve the overall experience for people visiting the city centre. The Chichester Vision outlines various ways to enhance the city experience, including the early evening and night-time economy, the built and natural environment and reducing the dominance of traffic congestion and surface car parks.

7.48. A key issue pertaining to the planning of town centres are the recent changes to the Use Classes Order, which was updated in 2020 and entailed significant amendments to the classes encompassing retail, commercial, community and main town centre uses, providing added flexibility for the use of units to change between commercial, business and service uses within Class E without the requirement for planning permission. It is recognised that some non-retail and main town centre uses do provide essential services, and may need to be located in town centres, but such uses, particularly if grouped together, may undermine the vitality and viability of the city centre by failing to attract visitors or by forming blank and inactive frontages. The council is therefore retaining primary and secondary frontages within the city centre, in order to manage as much as possible, the mix of uses within these areas and protect the vitality and viability of the primary shopping area and the city centre as a whole.

7.49. Primary Shopping Frontage – the most important retail frontages of Chichester city centre core have been defined as primary shopping frontages. Within the primary frontage the retail offer will be enhanced where possible and uses within Class E (particularly a) and b)) will be retained as much as possible in order to help maintain active frontages. This prime area has the highest proportion of retail uses, the highest Zone A rental values, and the highest pedestrian flow levels in the whole city centre.

7.50. Secondary Shopping Frontage – a number of 'outer' shopping streets, peripheral to the core primary frontages have been defined as secondary shopping frontages. Within secondary frontages, main town centre uses including Class E, Sui Generis and Class F will be protected.

7.51. The primary and secondary frontages are shown on the policies map and are listed in Appendix D.

7.52. It is important to maintain an appropriate mix of uses in the city centre to ensure the long-term vitality and viability of the centre. The Local Plan seeks to retain Class E uses in the primary and secondary frontages to maintain active frontages. The council will monitor changes of use from retail to residential in the primary and secondary shopping frontages and if significant adverse impacts arise from loss of Class E uses to residential use, then the council will consider the introduction of an Article 4 Direction to restrict changes of use from Class E to C3.

7.53. Applications for new shop fronts and shop signs within the Chichester City Conservation Area, will give consideration to the 'Shopfront and Advertisement Design Guidance Note' (2010) which sets out the design criteria against which the council will assess applications.

Policy E6 Chichester City Centre

Chichester city centre contains the primary shopping area within the plan area, as set out on the policies map. Within the primary shopping area primary and secondary shopping frontages have been identified. These will achieve a balance between retail and other uses, in order to ensure the vitality and viability of the city centre, both in terms of the retail economy, but also hospitality, tourism and ensure a vibrant and thriving community.

Primary Shopping Frontages

Within the primary shopping frontages in Chichester city centre, proposals for class E uses are supported, particularly those falling within the retail and hospitality components of class E. Where planning permission is required, proposals resulting in the loss of a Class E unit, or significant loss of Class E floorspace, at ground floor level will only be granted where all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The proposal, either individually or cumulatively, will not have a significant detrimental impact on existing uses/premises or have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the primary shopping area or the city centre as a whole;
  2. An active frontage is provided or maintained at ground floor level which relates well to the design of the building and to the street-scene and its setting; and
  3. Adequate marketing of the unit for Class E or other suitable main town centre uses has been undertaken as set out in Appendix C and it can be demonstrated that the premises are no longer needed for any of these uses.

Secondary Shopping Frontages

Within the secondary shopping frontages in Chichester city centre, proposals for use classes E, F.1, F.2 and other main town centre uses categorised as sui generis are supported. Where planning permission is required, proposals resulting in the loss of these uses at ground floor level will be granted where all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The proposal, either individually or cumulatively, will not have a detrimental impact on neighbouring uses/premises or have an adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the primary shopping area or the city centre as a whole;
  2. An active frontage is provided or maintained at ground floor level which relates well to the design of the building and to the street-scene and its setting; and
  3. Adequate marketing of the unit for Class E, F and other suitable main town centre uses has been undertaken as set out in Appendix C and it can be demonstrated that the premises are no longer needed for any of those uses.

Re-use of upper level floorspace

Proposals for the re-use of floorspace on the upper levels for residential, leisure, commercial and community purposes will be supported, provided that:

  1. The proposal has no significant adverse effects on the operation or viability of the existing use retained at ground floor level or occupiers of neighbouring premises. Any adverse impacts to existing uses or neighbouring premises must be capable of being adequately mitigated; and
  2. The proposal will achieve a satisfactory standard of amenity for future occupants/users including in relation to noise, odour, natural light and outlook.

Retail development outside of the primary shopping area

Additional retail development within the city centre boundary, but outside of the primary shopping area (within which new retail development is supported), will only be granted provided that all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The floorspace size reflects the character and scale of the development in the existing shopping area;
  2. The proposals respect and reflect the character of the existing area in terms of design, scale and materials;
  3. The proposals relate well to the existing area; and
  4. The proposal has no significant adverse effects on the occupiers of neighbouring properties.

For new developments within the city centre boundary, the council may introduce planning conditions to ensure an appropriate mix of uses and active frontages.

Local and Village Centres

Background

7.54. East Wittering and Selsey are defined as local centres and have a strong mix of smaller independent comparison goods retailers. They also have a good range of facilities catering for visitors, particularly cafes, bars and restaurants. Proposals which provide quality places for eating, drinking and fashion retailing would help further enhance the roles of these settlements.

7.55. For evidence required to justify a change of use please refer to Appendix C.

Policy E7 Local Centres

  1. Proposals for commercial or leisure development will be encouraged where they would contribute to the vitality and viability of local centres. Planning permission will be granted for development proposals that:
    1. Provide small-scale uses (Use Classes E, F.1, F.2, C1 and other main town centre uses categorised as Sui Generis), contributing to the vitality and viability of the area;
    2. Support small and independent businesses where possible;
    3. Proposals provide an active frontage use at ground floor and maximise opportunities for residential, leisure and office development above ground floor units where appropriate; and
    4. The proposal has no significant adverse effects on the occupiers of neighbouring properties.
  1. Where planning permission is required, proposals resulting in the loss of Use Classes E, F.1, F2, C1 and other main town centre uses categorised as Sui Generis) at ground floor level will only be granted where all of the following criteria are met:
    1. The proposal will not have a detrimental impact on the vitality and viability of the local centre or the settlement as a whole; or
    2. Adequate marketing of the unit for Class E, F and other suitable main town centre uses has been undertaken as set out in Appendix C and it can be demonstrated that the premises are no longer needed for any of those uses.
  1. Proposals for the re-use of floorspace on the upper levels for residential, leisure, commercial and community purposes will be supported provided that:
    1. The proposal has no significant adverse effects on the operation or viability of the existing use retained at ground floor level or occupiers of neighbouring premises. Any adverse impacts to existing uses or neighbouring premises must be capable of being adequately mitigated; and
    2. The proposal will achieve a satisfactory standard of amenity for future occupants/users including in relation to noise, odour, natural light and outlook

Tourism

Background

7.56. Tourism and leisure are vital to the economy of Chichester District and their continued success is dependent on the quality of the cultural heritage, natural and historic environment and facilities on offer. However, given the environmental quality of the district, it is also necessary to balance the provision of visitor facilities against the need to safeguard the landscape, character and environment.

7.57. Visitors support a range of facilities and services which are important to the local economy and enhance its attractiveness as a location for businesses and residents. However, due to a lack of suitable accommodation, an insufficient number of tourists are able to stay overnight. To support the visitor economy, new tourist accommodation and attractions will be encouraged in areas that can accommodate additional visitor numbers without detriment to the environment. This will enable development and provide facilities that could extend the tourist season and also benefit the local community.

7.58. Chichester city and the settlement hubs are the preferred locations for new tourism and leisure development, so that new facilities are accessible to existing visitors and that new accommodation is provided where visitors can access a range of services. However, careful consideration will be given to proposals on the Manhood Peninsula where they will be affected by flood risk or result in a significant increase in traffic. It is also recognised that the natural environments of Pagham Harbour and Chichester Harbour are attractive tourism and leisure destinations albeit that these areas are also particularly environmentally sensitive to increased recreational disturbance. The council will carefully consider any proposals with the potential to lead to an identifiable increased impact on these areas to ensure that their impact is minimised.

7.59. Within smaller villages and the countryside, proposals should fully assess the potential to re-use existing buildings and extend current businesses, or re-use previously developed land, in preference to new build. If there are no other alternative sites or buildings, new sensitively designed tourism buildings and serviced accommodation may be permitted in these locations. A more restrictive approach will be taken where development would be more intrusive and environmentally damaging. Occasionally larger scale facilities may be appropriate where they are associated with enhancing visitor use or appreciation of a specific feature or location. Proposals will need to demonstrate the requirement for and compatibility with a countryside location. Where appropriate, the sequential test will be applied in accordance with the NPPF for built leisure and tourist development.

7.60. Proposals for leisure development outside a defined city or local centre must provide an impact assessment where the floorspace of the proposed development exceeds the thresholds set out in Policy E5 (Retail Strategy and New Development).

Policy E8 Built Tourist and Leisure Development

Development proposals for tourism and leisure development, including tourist accommodation, will be granted within or immediately adjoining the defined settlement boundaries of Chichester city or the settlement hubs where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been met:

  1. It is sensitively designed to maintain the character of the area and amenities of existing occupiers;
  2. It is located so as not compromise the essential features of nationally designated areas of landscape, historic environment or nature conservation protection, including impacts from visitors or users of the facility, particularly in relation to the potential for increased recreational pressures on Chichester Harbour, Pagham Harbour, Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and other designated sites;
  3. It provides a high-quality attraction or accommodation; and
  4. It encourages an extended tourist season.

Elsewhere in the plan area, small-scale development for tourism and leisure development will be granted where all the above and following criteria have been met:

  1. It can be demonstrated that the scale and use is appropriate to the location and that a demand exists for the facility; and
  2. Where proposals seek permission for new buildings, that the development cannot be accommodated elsewhere, including through the re-use, and expansion, of existing buildings in the locality, or on previously developed land, and developing within the defined settlement boundaries.

In exceptional circumstances, large scale tourism or leisure development facilities will be permitted elsewhere in the plan area where it can be demonstrated that there is an overriding and compelling justification in terms of enhancing visitor use and/or appreciation of a specific feature or location of significant recreation or leisure interest. Proposals will need to demonstrate the requirement for and compatibility with a specific or countryside location. Proposals involving the loss of tourist or leisure development, including holiday accommodation, will only be granted where there is no proven demand for the facility and it can no longer make a positive contribution to the economy. In such instances, the focus of consideration of alternative uses should be on employment-led development in the first instance, followed by provision of community uses and then affordable housing-led development. Evidence will be required as set out in Appendix C.

In all cases, proposals for tourist accommodation are expected to contribute to relevant access management strategies to mitigate recreational disturbance to SPAs in accordance with Policy NE6 (Chichester's Internationally and Nationally Designated Habitats), and Policy NE7 (Development and Disturbance of Birds in Chichester, Langstone and Pagham Harbours and Solent and Dorset Coast SPAs, and Medmerry Compensatory Habitat).

Caravan and Camping Sites

Background

7.61. Camping and caravanning provides accommodation for a significant number of tourists who visit the plan area each year. The council supports the retention of such sites, and in principle, is supportive of the development of new facilities to enable the tourism industry to continue to grow.

7.62. For the purpose of Policy E9, caravan and camping sites are those which primarily provide accommodation in temporary and mobile units such as static caravans, pitches for touring caravans and motor homes, tents or yurts.

7.63. Where possible, development of new facilities should be directed towards sustainable locations which are not covered by an Article 4 Direction. It is essential that any proposals do not have a significant adverse impact on the special qualities and tranquillity of the landscape. In particular, the Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the setting of the National Park, Pagham Harbour, or the undeveloped coast; all of which attract tourism in the first place.

7.64. The council will use seasonal occupancy conditions and/or holiday occupancy conditions to prevent the permanent occupation of the site. The holiday season will not be unnecessarily restricted, but closure periods may be necessary to prevent tourist accommodation becoming places of permanent residence.

7.65. Where a proposal is located close to a site used by overwintering birds, the advice of Natural England should be sought on appropriate access management measures to mitigate any disturbance from visitors. If appropriate mitigation cannot be provided, it may be necessary to impose a condition to prevent occupation between October and March.

7.66. Applications for new caravan or camping sites will be required to provide evidence of need and justification for location. Applications for the intensification/alteration of existing caravan or camping sites should provide evidence of high demand (guidance is set out in Appendix C).

Policy E9 Caravan and Camping Sites

Development proposals for new caravan and camping sites with associated facilities and intensification/alterations to existing sites will be granted, where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been met:

  1. They meet a demonstrable need and the location identified is justified in terms of its contribution towards tourism;
  2. The proposal meets sustainability objectives by providing or contributing towards suitable walking and cycling infrastructure which connects safely and conveniently to the existing network;
  3. They are of an appropriate scale in relation to their setting and would not diminish local amenity;
  4. They are sensitively sited and designed to maintain the tranquillity and character of the area;
  5. They are sited to be visually unobtrusive and can be assimilated so as to conserve and enhance the surrounding landscape;
  6. They are located so as to avoid areas at greatest risk of flooding, and
  7. The road network and the site's access can safely accommodate any additional traffic generated.

Where planning permission for caravan sites is granted, a condition restricting the type of occupation to holiday/seasonal use will be used in order to retain the tourist accommodation and ensure it is not used for permanent residential use. The period of occupation will be dependent on:

  1. Whether the accommodation is within an area at risk of flooding, as defined by the Environment Agency;
  2. The degree of protection considered desirable in orderto avoid disturbance to sensitive sites of ecological value (including ensuring that no adverse effects on the integrity of sensitive European designated wildlife sites occurs) or to protect the tranquillity and character of the countryside, Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the setting of the National Park, Pagham Harbour, Medmerry Compensatory Habitat and the undeveloped coast; and
  3. The importance of securing the removal of touring units during the winter period where their permanent presence would be harmful to the landscape.

Notwithstanding the duration of occupancy, contributions towards appropriate access management measures or strategy will be sought to mitigate the effects of increased visitor numbers on sensitive and designated sites.

In the interests of maintaining an adequate supply of touring caravan pitches (including motor homes), proposals for a change of use to static caravan pitches should be accompanied by an assessment of supply and demand to demonstrate that sufficient touring caravan pitches will remain.

Proposals for the use of parts of existing caravan sites for winter storage of touring caravans and other forms of touring units will be granted provided that the proposal does not have an adverse impact on the landscape or character of the surrounding area.

The loss of caravan and camping sites to other uses will only be granted where there is no proven demand for the facility, and it can no longer make a positive contribution to the economy. In such instances, the focus of consideration of alternative uses should be on employment-led development in the first instance, followed by the scope for community uses and the provision of affordable housing led development. Evidence will be required as set out in Appendix C.

Equestrian Development

Background

7.67. Equestrian activities and facilities are very popular in the plan area, particularly on the Manhood Peninsula, with more commercial polo activities in the northeast of the district. The council recognises the contribution these activities make to the rural economy and the need to make provision for equestrian development. However, it is necessary to ensure that there is no harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.

7.68. Horse-related development requires adequate land for commercial enterprises and associated new buildings, generally in a countryside location. New buildings such as stable blocks, tack storage and field shelters can often appear isolated and intrusive on undeveloped land; therefore, where possible, the re-use of existing buildings will be encouraged including for any form of staff accommodation where required. Appendix C sets out the information which may be required as part of a planning application.

7.69. Associated development such as lighting, storage, waste disposal, manèges and sub-division of fields can be prominent features in the landscape and in some cases may not be appropriate. Additionally, these uses and structures as well as the re-profiling and manicured appearance of grassland for polo uses can, both individually and cumulatively, change the visual character of an area and its landscape.

7.70. It is essential that any equestrian development does not have an adverse impact on the special qualities of the landscape, for example, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or the South Downs National Park. Therefore, proposals should provide comprehensive details of the development required; such as size, materials and fencing together with a detailed scheme of land and site management. The design and materials of new horse related structures must be in keeping with the character of the rural area. As part of the proposals, the protection of biodiversity, watercourses and ground water from contamination associated with slurry disposal will be required.

7.71. Where necessary, conditions will be attached to the planning permission requiring stables and field shelters to be used only for private use and not business and commercial uses

Policy E10 Equestrian Development

Proposals for horse-related development will be granted where it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria have been met:

  1. There is adequate land for the numbers of horses kept;
  2. Existing buildings are reused where possible but where new buildings are necessary these are well-related to existing buildings, appropriate to the number of horses to be kept and the amount of land available;
  3. There is minimal visual impact on the landscape caused by the proposed development either individually or cumulatively;
  4. The proposal, either on its own or cumulatively, with other horse-related uses in the area, is compatible with its surroundings, and adequately protects biodiversity, water courses, groundwater and the safety of all road users;
  5. The proposal does not lead to the loss of viable agricultural buildings or land;
  6. The proposal does not lead to the need for additional housing on site;
  7. The proposal is well related to or has improved links to the existing bridleway network and where appropriate, contributes to the maintenance and upkeep of the bridleway network;
  8. Where the proposal is for a commercial enterprise, such as liveries and riding schools, it will need to be demonstrated that the impacts of additional traffic, lighting, noise, odour and associated activity have been minimised and where appropriate, mitigated to avoid disturbance to existing residents;
  9. Proposals will need to consider the impacts to biodiversity and be in accordance with Policy NE5 (Biodiversity and Biodiversity Net Gain).

[44] Policy CC5 Boys High School, Kingsham Road (Site Allocations DPD 2014 – 2029)

[45] For the first 10 years post adoption the requirement is 400 sqm for Selsey, 200 sqm for East Wittering/Bracklesham and 300 sqm for the rural part of the plan area.

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