Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan - Preferred Approach Consultation (January 2023)

Greater Nottingham Strategic Plan: Preferred Approach

Chapter Six: Approach to Employment Need

6.1 The NPPF states that planning policies should set out a clear economic vision and strategy which positively and proactively encourages sustainable economic growth, having regard to Local Industrial Strategies and other local policies for economic development and regeneration. They should set criteria, or identify strategic sites, for local and inward investment to match the strategy and to meet anticipated needs over the plan period. Policies should also be flexible enough to accommodate needs not anticipated in the Plan, and to enable a rapid response to changes in economic circumstances.

6.2 In order to fulfil the requirements of the NPPF and the PPG, an Employment Land Needs Study has been undertaken. The Study uses a variety of scenarios to assess a range of employment space needs for both industrial/warehousing space and office floorspace.

6.3 Based on this analysis, it is concluded that the regeneration scenario which predicts jobs growth towards the upper end of the Employment Land Study forecasts is the most appropriate level of growth to plan future requirements. It matches the aspirations of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Economic Plan, will assist in recovery from the Covid pandemic and help counter the likely impacts on the economy predicted for the early years of the Plan period as a result of the unforeseen rise in the cost of energy. Further details of the scenarios and the approach is set out in the Greater Nottingham Employment Background Paper.

6.4 The Councils consider that this is the minimum figure that should be planned for and in summary results in the following requirement for employment space across the HMA:

  • 294,500 sq. m of office space; and
  • 180 ha of industrial and warehousing land.

Table 1: Office Need and Supply 2022 - 2038 (all figures in square metres)













Supply rounded












Table 2: Industrial Need and Supply 2022 - 2038 (all figures in hectares)













Supply rounded












6.5 The preferred approach towards facilitating employment growth is set out below:

Preferred Approach: Employment Provision and Economic Development

Strengthening and Diversifying the Economy

6.5.1 The economy of the area will be strengthened and diversified with new floorspace being provided across all employment sectors to meet restructuring, modernisation and inward investment needs with a particular emphasis on supporting a high value knowledge based economy. This will be achieved by:

  • Providing a range of suitable sites for new employment that are attractive to the market especially in terms of accessibility, environmental quality and size, particularly where it will assist regeneration. Wherever feasible, rail accessibility for storage and distribution uses should be utilised;
  • Placing a particular emphasis on office development (falling within Use Class E(g)) as part of providing for a science and knowledge-based economy. A minimum of 294,500 square metres of new office and research development (2022 to 2038) will be provided in the following spatial distribution:


Office and Research and Development Provision

Broxtowe Borough Council

10,000 sq m

Gedling Borough Council

7,000 sq m

Nottingham City Council

234,500 sq m

Rushcliffe Borough Council

43,000 sq m

  • A range and choice of sites up to 2038 for new and relocating industrial and warehouse uses (Use Class E(g)(iii), B2 and B8). About 180 hectares (2021 to 2038) will be identified in the following distribution:


Industrial and Warehouse Provision

Broxtowe Borough Council

6 ha

Gedling Borough Council

17 ha

Nottingham City Council

21 ha

Rushcliffe Borough Council

136 ha

Strategic Locations for Employment Growth

6.5.2 Nottingham Regional Centre

Promoting Nottingham City Centre as the primary location for new offices in particular in the Canal and Creative Quarters.

6.5.3 Town Centres

Office development of a lesser scale in the town centres of Arnold, Beeston and Bulwell.

6.5.4 Strategic Sites

Promoting significant economic development at the following strategic sites:

  • Toton (Broxtowe);
  • The former Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station Site (Rushcliffe);
  • Employment allocations within existing strategic sites as detailed in Appendix A; and
  • Development of a lesser scale will be promoted within major development schemes to ensure a sustainable mix of uses, as set out in Part 2 Local Plans.

6.5.5 Universities, Higher Education and Hospital Campuses

Encouraging the further expansion of the Universities, other higher education establishments and the hospital campuses for their own purposes, together with economic development associated with them, and allocating land specifically to meet the needs of high technology users.

6.5.6 Rural Areas

Encouraging economic development of an appropriate scale to diversify and support the rural economy.

6.5.7 Safeguarding Employment Land

Appropriately managing existing employment sites and allocations to cater for the full range of employment uses.

6.5.8 Employment and Training

Working with partners and using planning obligations to provide appropriate employment and training opportunities to assist residents in accessing new jobs.

6.5.9 Strategic Distribution

The approach to the strategic distribution sector will be determined at the next stage of plan preparation. The Councils have undertaken a "call" for strategic distribution sites to inform this.

Strengthening and Diversifying the Local Economy

6.6 The local economy has experienced a contraction in traditional employment over recent decades and conversely a growth in service based employment. The strategy of successive plans has been to strengthen and diversify the local economy and given that the trend towards a more service based economy is anticipated to continue, this approach remains valid for this Plan. The impacts of the Covid pandemic add additional impetus to help drive economic recovery particularly in the short and medium terms.

6.7 New employment development is vital to the growth of the Plan area's economy, which supports a work based population of 297,368 (350,429 for the Greater Nottingham area). Over the Plan period, an increase of approximately 58,600 jobs in Greater Nottingham is anticipated, of which around 52,500 are expected to be in the Plan area. These new jobs are required not only to support increased numbers of workers, but to facilitate the shift from traditional manufacturing sectors, to a more knowledge based economy. The area also experiences significant problems of unemployment and low economic activity amongst its population when compared to the national average, together with a relatively low skill base. Addressing these issues by providing employment and training opportunities is a key priority. Emphasis is placed on providing a range of attractive employment sites for all sectors but with emphasis placed on providing good quality office business space and the provision of business space for the high value knowledge based sector.

6.8 The Preferred Approach recognises that all uses which generate employment, such as retail, health, education and civic/science-based institutions should be catered for. Encouragement, where appropriate, will also be given to uses (such as crèches or day nurseries) that support, or do not conflict with the main use of an employment site. Where appropriate, specific provision for these other forms of employment will be made in site specific allocations in Part 2 Local Plans.

6.9 In promoting sustainable and coordinated economic growth across local authority areas, the Councils will work collaboratively with the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership to enable the delivery of strategic planning priorities such as supporting the food and drink sector, life sciences, creative and digital, logistics, construction and professional and business services which have a strong representation in the Plan Area. The Councils will also work in close cooperation with the East Midlands Development Corporation which has a programme for major mixed use and employment developments in the region.

6.10 There is more than a sufficient supply of office and general industrial/warehousing space to meet the forecast need across the Plan area. The Employment Land Study concluded the majority of the supply of employment sites to be of average or above average in terms of quality and recommended that these sites should be retained as allocations or protected as existing employment sites. The strategy recognises the key role played by Nottingham City Centre as a regional employment centre providing jobs for both Nottingham City residents and residents of the surrounding partner Councils. On a reciprocal basis, in terms of more general industrial and warehousing land the distribution of the strategic sites identified in Chapter 5 recognises that the supply of employment sites within the administrative boundaries of Nottingham City is limited and sites should therefore be provided in sustainable locations that are also attractive to business in all of the surrounding partner Councils.

6.11 To help promote and strengthen the role played by local economies serving communities around the conurbation, a range of suitable sites for new office-based development, and industry and warehousing, will need to be provided across the area. It is important that these sites are attractive to the commercial market in terms of good accessibility, environmental quality and with some being large in size. The locations listed above display such attributes and therefore will be a focus for the creation of employment-generating development of various scales. In particular Nottingham City Centre and its distinctive "Quarters" have been identified for significant scale of office based jobs, leisure and recreational uses. The site at Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station is located within the East Midlands Freeport and, along with the Toton and Chetwynd Barracks sites, forms part of the East Midlands Development Corporation's programme for major employment growth on the western side of Nottingham. Strategic sites with employment land available also include Teal Close on the eastern edge of the Nottingham urban area and Top Wighay Farm adjoining the sub-regional centre of Hucknall to the north of Nottingham.

Strategic Locations for Business

Nottingham City Regional Centre

6.12 Nottingham City Centre will be the primary location for new offices, in particular the Canal and Creative Quarters. The Canal Quarter forms a major proportion of the southern part of the City Centre. The area offers considerable scope for a range of office led developments supported by other employment, residential and leisure uses to exploit and further expand upon the enhanced transport infrastructure and accessibility provided by the Nottingham Station Hub transport interchange and NET. The Creative Quarter will be the focus for major investment with further development in growth sectors such as, bio-science, digital media and a range of other knowledge based and creative industries.

Greater Nottingham Town Centres

6.13 Arnold, Beeston and Bulwell are large town centres with a strong retail and commercial core. These centres with their inherent accessibility to their catchment areas are important business locations and opportunities for further business and commercial development should be considered through the preparation of Part 2 Local Plans.

Toton and Chetwynd Barracks

6.14 The sites at Toton and Chetwynd Barracks located to the west of the Nottingham urban area have potential to generate significant growth providing jobs across all skill levels for both local people and new residents. Land is allocated in the Broxtowe Local Plan Part 2 at these sites for a mix of uses and includes a minimum provision of 18,000 square metres of employment floorspace including an innovation centre for new technologies and businesses to be delivered. Both sites are expected to deliver homes and jobs into the 2040s. The sites are currently the subject of a master planning exercise which will eventually be adopted as a supplementary planning document.

Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station

6.15 The power station site at Ratcliffe on Soar located to the west of the Nottingham urban area is due to be decommissioned in 2024. The site includes an existing Technology Centre for developing low carbon energy systems and planning permission on part of the site has recently been granted for an energy from waste facility. The remaining land represents a good redevelopment opportunity for research and development and for advanced manufacturing uses. It is located close to East Midlands Parkway, within the East Midlands Freeport; one of eight new Freeports in England designated by the UK Government. This Freeport is based around the East Midlands Airport and Gateway Industrial Cluster, which includes the Ratcliffe on Soar Power Station site.

6.16 The site is subject to the preparation of a Local Development Order (LDO) which would permit buildings up to around 810,000 square metres for a variety of employment uses including energy generation, advanced manufacturing, logistics, research and development, skills and training. The LDO is being prepared in order to secure the reuse of those parts of the site that will be redundant after decommissioning and to provide planning certainty to enable new businesses to be operational from 2026 to take advantage of the Freeport benefits and status.

Teal Close

6.17 The Teal Close strategic site located on the eastern side of the Nottingham urban area is part of a strategic mixed use urban extension and along with the nearby Colwick Industrial Estate, which is one of the largest industrial estates in the Plan area, is well located to accommodate new and relocating manufacturing and warehousing operations and assist in supporting the regeneration of Colwick, Netherfield and surrounding areas.

Top Wighay Farm

6.18 Located to the north of the Nottingham urban area adjacent to the sub-regional centre of Hucknall, the Top Wighay Farm strategic mixed use allocation includes a major employment site close to the Junction 27 of the M1 with frontage to the A611. The site has planning permission for a major office development designed to be a "landmark" building and potential catalyst for the development of the remainder of the site where a significant amount of business space remains available.

The Universities, Hospital Campuses and Further Education Facilities

6.19 Economic development will be encouraged where it strengthens the plan area's role as an exemplar of international science and technology. Part 2 Local Plans will identify sites where development will strengthen the knowledge-based economy and the economic role and importance of the area's hospitals and Universities, which are a vital part of the area's economy in their own right, employing thousands of staff. Establishing growth opportunities for high technology companies to locate or expand will help the conurbation to diversify its economy in line with the priorities of the Derby Derbyshire Nottingham Nottinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership and will provide employment opportunities for graduates of the area's Universities, thus retaining them for the benefit of the area's economy.

Rural Areas

6.20 The rural areas make a significant contribution and play an important role in the local economy. The continued importance of agriculture and other countryside-related activities contribute to its diversity. Development which helps to strengthen or assists with the diversification of the rural economy and which provides a source of local employment opportunities will be supported. The National Planning Policy Framework provides guidance on how best to support sustainable economic growth in rural areas and to encourage the rural economy to diversify.

Managing Employment Land

6.21 The Preferred Approach is to protect key employment sites, which are of a good quality or important in terms of regeneration and/or provide employment for less skilled workers in deprived areas. Such sites will be designated as protected employment areas in Part 2 Local Plans for predominantly Class E (g), B2 and B8 uses. Other employment sites that are no longer for purpose may be released for other uses, such as residential, to maximise the use of previously developed land.

Employment and training

6.22 In addition to making provision for employment space and in identifying the strategic growth locations which have potential to provide jobs across a range of skills levels, the Plan will also support opportunities to help reskill the workforce to access these local job opportunities. Some parts of the area experience significant levels of unemployment, low economic activity and low levels of skills, and these problems are particularly acute in Nottingham City. Employment and training opportunities, provided as part of new development, for example through the use of Local Labour Agreements (where developers agree to train and employ local labour) can enable the local population to take advantage of opportunities created by new development and assist in developing a skilled labour pool, better able to access new jobs, especially within the knowledge-based sector across the conurbation. There is strong evidence that increasing employment and prosperity across the social gradient will also contribute to improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities.

Strategic Distribution

6.23 The Employment Land Study findings include views from property agents who consider that there is a very high demand for large-scale strategic distribution facilities along the M1 corridor and 'A' roads leading from motorway junctions within the Plan area. Conversely, agents consider that the supply of available suitable sites for such large-scale distribution facilities is very limited. Whilst the demand for large scale distribution facilities has been growing strongly in recent decades, due to consumer demand and e-tail services, the impact of the Covid pandemic has in the agents' view brought forward demand by several years and that this rapid demand is likely to continue. The Study notes that large-scale storage and distribution warehousing has been constructed at Summit Park and Castlewood in Ashfield and at Nottingham 26 near Eastwood.

6.24 The Councils, working with adjoining districts along the M1 Corridor, commissioned the Nottinghamshire Core & Outer HMA Logistics Study (the "Logistics Study") by consultants ICENI to quantify the scale of strategic B8 logistics need across the Core/Outer Nottingham Housing Market Area.

6.25 The Greater Nottingham Councils are considering how to take forward the findings of the Logistics Study. The Study findings indicate there may be an opportunity for large strategic logistics parks although this Study did not take into account policy constraints such as Green Belt policy which will need to be weighed in the balance by the Councils. The Councils have undertaken a "call" for strategic distribution sites and the Councils' approach to large strategic distribution sites will be addressed at the next stage of Plan preparation.