Residential use on factory site held no risk to employment need

An outline proposal to redevelop a former textile factory in Nottinghamshire with 1,400m2 of office space and up to 100 homes has been allowed because an inspector judged that there was no need for the site to be wholly retained for employment to meet local planning policy.

The council accepted that there was at least a 15-year supply of employment land in the area. However, the site was located in a part of the borough with stronger links to Nottingham itself. The council suggested that if employment land were not protected, residents would increasingly commute into the city, breaching government policy to reduce the need to travel to work.

The inspector noted that this section of the borough had more than three years' supply of employment land and more than its fair share of the existing stock based on population. On these grounds, he decided that the proposal complied with a local plan policy requiring sufficient suitable sites for employment purposes in the immediate locality and in the wider area, both in the short term and over the plan period to 2011.

It was common ground between the parties that the existing buildings could not be reused for employment owing to their state of disrepair. The inspector accepted the appellants' evidence that the site was no longer suitable for employment uses in highway terms and was unlikely to be financially viable.

He noted that the proposal could generate at least 77 jobs and that the textile factory had provided 75 jobs. He reasoned that a job shortfall in particular areas and resultant increases in commuting distances would not occur if the appeal development were allowed to take place.

DCS Number 100-050-565

Inspector Michael Ellison; Inquiry.


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