LPP2: Site Allocations and Development Management Policies

Employment, Training and Education

5.1  As part of the evidence base for the Local Plan, the Council has commissioned regular Employment Land Reviews and updates. These have identified that the rural character of the Borough, and proximity to larger employment hubs, means that Waverley has a trend of historically modest employment growth. As of 2015, the Borough contained approximately 614,500sqm of Class B employment land, with a low vacancy rate of approximately 5%[1] . Waverley contains over 8,200 businesses, over 90% of which are small businesses employing less than 10 people[2] . There are limited numbers of large businesses in the Borough, and the Local Enterprise Partnership (Enterprise M3) does not identify Waverley as a strategic location for employment growth[3] .

5.2  Stakeholders contacted through the Employment Land Review (ELR) identified a desire for flexible premises, which are adaptable for changing business needs. Good rail access and adequate parking have been identified as important to office occupiers, while rural enterprises in particular have stressed the importance of good mobile and broadband connections. Working from home continues to be important to the economy of the Borough.

5.3  Policy EE1 of Local Plan Part 1 sets out that at least 16,000sqm of new land for B-class employment uses is proposed to be delivered over the course of the Plan Period, including through the allocation of employment land at Water Lane in Farnham and Dunsfold Aerodrome. Policy EE1 also sets out support for new economic development within settlements, the redevelopment and expansion of existing sites, and economic development in rural areas. No other new employment sites are proposed to be allocated. Policy EE2 of Local Plan Part 1 sets out that proposals involving the loss of employment sites to residential or other uses will be permitted where there is no reasonable prospect of employment uses being retained on a site. Protected employment sites were mapped as part of the Local Plan 2002. As any mapping is likely to become out of date and it is not proposed to map employment sites through Local Plan Part 2.

5.4  Since the adoption of Local Plan Part 1, changes to the Use Class Order came into effect on 1 September 2020. Uses which were previously within Class B1a, B1b and B1c are now within a new Class E: Commercial, business and service uses. However, these uses continue to be employment uses and there is still an identified need for additional floorspace to meet the need within the Borough.

5.5  There are a number of important educational and cultural institutions within Waverley which make a significant contribution to economic development within the Borough, directly employing around 14% of the working population[4] . The largest of these is the University for the Creative Arts at Farnham. There are opportunities to significantly boost the local economy by supporting development which will retain students and build on regional links such as with the video games industry in Guildford and the nearby film studio at Lasham. Schools and training centres also act as important drivers of growth and cultural development. The Council will seek to engage positively with such institutions to support their development and that of associated industries.

5.6  Improvements to infrastructure are important to economic development in the Borough. Improvements to broadband, mobile coverage, and other infrastructure are addressed by other policies in the Local Plan.

2. Waverley Economic Development Strategy 2018-2032 [back]
3. Waverley Economic Development Strategy 2018-2032 [back]
4. ONS 2018 [back]