Consultation document

Theme 2: growing a prosperous economy

The borough has a thriving local economy, with over 60,000 jobs and 8,275 businesses. There are a range of businesses located in Elmbridge including large companies such as Amazon, Samsung, Cargill, Air Products and JTI. In recent years the borough has seen above national job and business growth as well as a high level of start-ups.

This is not surprising given the borough's location, close to London with excellent access to national and international transport links. However, work space requirements depend on the nature and size of a business and the demand is changing. It is important that our workspace offer responds to these changes to prevent valued businesses and jobs leaving the borough.

Our Local Plan must proactively promote sustainable economic growth. Through the Elmbridge Economic Strategy 2019, we are already seeking to be the premier location to start, invest and grow a knowledge business. We also want to enable the most productive use of space, place and technology to balance enterprise, environment and quality of life.

Local businesses have told us that the high cost of housing can be a barrier to attracting talent and securing staff. They have also shared their concerns that there is a limited offer of employment space to meet their needs. The Local Plan must seek to address these barriers.

Contributing to the local economy is the borough's network of separate town and local centres. These centres contribute to the individuality and distinctiveness of each area of the borough and the sense of community. Although shopping habits are changing, our centres are performing well with the number of empty shops being relatively low when compared to the rest of the country.

The new Local Plan must support the role that the town and local centres play at the heart of their communities. We should take a positive approach to the growth and management of our centres and ensure that they are able to adapt to changing consumer demands.

The role of the town and local centre at the heart of their community was a common theme throughout the responses to previous consultations. Many commented that centres were a good location for growth and new homes as they represented sustainable locations. The location of homes near to shops and services would reduce reliance on the car and pressure on the road network, help to mitigate climate change, provide for clearer air, as well as helping to support local businesses.

 

Apartment building and shops at The Heart shopping centre

 

To grow a prosperous economy, we are considering the following policy directions:

Employment land supply

  • Provide and maintain a portfolio of employment sites that responds to businesses needs including the needs of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and business start-ups.
  • Ensuring efficient use of land by densifying and intensifying new and existing employment uses in strategic locations.
  • Supporting the delivery of affordable and connected workplaces.

Mixed use development

  • Promoting employment including accommodation for SMEs and business start-ups as part of mixed-use schemes in accessible locations including town and local centres.

Vibrant town and local centres for all

  • Maintaining the existing town and local centre retail hierarchy within the borough and identifying primary shopping areas.
  • Supporting the role of town and local centres as community hubs where people live, work, shop, socialise and spend their leisure time.
  • Deliver vibrant and locally distinctive centres, each with their own identity and sense of place. Encouraging specialisation and differentials between them.
  • Pro-actively managing vacant floor space in centres by supporting and promoting 'pop-up' and 'meanwhile' uses where appropriate.
  • Supporting café, restaurant, community, leisure and night-time/evening economy uses in centres.
  • Promoting public realm improvements within centres to create attractive spaces for the enjoyment of users and visitors which aid to bring people together, supporting social cohesion.
  • Supporting the borough's visitor attractions and promoting access to the borough's historic and cultural offers.

 

A group of people sitting at a table

Connectivity and movement

  • Supporting the delivery of high-quality digital infrastructure as well as ensuring full-fiber connections to all new residential and business developments.
  • Supporting transport improvements that increase capacity, improve user experience and ease of movement.
  • Ensure services and facilities are located to reduce reliance on the car and increase pedestrian footfall and that streets and public spaces are well designed to encourage walking and cycling.

Q6

Do you agree with the proposed policy directions?

530 people have answered this question.

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Q7

Do you have any other comments (for example, other issues or directions we should consider?)

443 people have answered this question.

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