Policy E2: Other Employment Sites
Support will be given to the development of Fowler’s Yard (Durham’s Arts Quarter) as shown in Proposals Map 5 including craft workshops, creative spaces and associated sales and services, to ensure the fullest utilisation of existing buildings and unused space and land.
Support will be given to the development of windfall brownfield sites in Our Neighbourhood for mixed use office and business enterprises and residential, including units for older people, people with disabilities, young professionals and families with children.
4.150 Fowler’s Yard is an area already thriving as independent craft workshops, creative spaces and associated retail sales and services It is greatly appreciated as such and worthy of safeguarding against uses that would reduce its unique appeal as a creative space for local artists and practitioners.
4.151 Blagdon Depot is a site in the Green Belt and in Flood Risk Zone 2 and as such may not be available for development. However should the issues identified be resolved and an opportunity arise to improve the existing provision, or develop the site further, this would be welcomed subject to conformity with the relevant policies within the Plan
4.152 Any brownfield windfall site that offers the opportunity for regeneration through redevelopment and refurbishment will be considered. Development of such sites will provide a wide range of mixed-use office space in terms of size, quality and cost and the prospect for affordable lower-cost business space. This will provide an entry level for start-ups and small enterprises and more and equal employment opportunities for a broader range of employees and employers. The potential development site must be easily accessible to the City Centre and transport hubs for pedestrians and cyclists.
Justification for Policies E1 and E2
4.153 Businesses and residents have requested more land for commercial use: the sites identified in Policies E1 and E2 are the only suitable land available in Our Neighbourhood which could be used for this purpose. To improve the economy of Durham City it is important to encourage new employment opportunities and to safeguard and assist expansion of existing businesses within the area. A good variety of serviced employment sites will help to attract new businesses, and making available underused space as offices for established businesses will increase the employment opportunities for local people, attract new employees from outside the area, and encourage the retention of graduates from Durham University. New employment opportunities within the City will increase the numbers of people who use the City, and will also strengthen the relationship between local business and Durham University.
4.154 In accordance with guidance in the NPPF Chapter 11: Making effective use of land (para. 117) commercial development will be directed to brownfield sites. In satisfying the sustainable design principles of Our Neighbourhood Plan, new development will avoid unacceptable impacts on local, national and international designations and physical constraints such as flood risk and topography. These considerations are also included within the emerging County Durham Local Plan. So far as flood risk is concerned, it would be highly desirable to have all brownfield employment sites located in Zone 1 (low probability of flooding).
4.155 Windfall brownfield sites which become available should be used to improve the economy in Our Neighbourhood by providing office space for A2 Professional Services and B1 Business as there is a shortage of office space as evidenced by the business professionals who were interviewed during the initial consultation for the Neighbourhood Plan. Accommodation on these sites will be considered in Our Neighbourhood for local housing needs where there is a shortage and particularly for those in need as defined by the NPPF Chapter 5: Delivering a sufficient supply of homes (para. 61); the elderly, those with disabilities, families and young professionals as there is evidence of a shortfall of this type of housing in Theme 4: A City with attractive and affordable places to live.
Proposals Map 5: Economic Designated Sites
An interactive version of this map is available at http://maps.durhamcity.org.uk/npf/Proposals_Map_5.php