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STONE HILL

PARK

LIVE WORK PLAY

SHP1-4.2

Planning Statement
Addendum:
Economic Need

A brighter future for


Thanet and East Kent

Contents

Contents
1.

INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................................. 3

2.

SUB-REGIONAL CONTEXT .............................................................................................. 7

3.

LOCAL ECONOMIC AND EMPLOYMENT ANALYSIS .................................................. 22

4.

EMPLOYMENT LAND IN EAST KENT ............................................................................ 30

5.

FUTURE ECONOMIC POTENTIAL AND DRIVERS. ...................................................... 37

6.

FUTURE GROWTH POTENTIAL ..................................................................................... 41

7.

THE APPLICATION SITE OPPORTUNITY ..................................................................... 47

8.

EXAMPLES OF SUPPLY LED GROWTH ..................................................................... 51

9.

CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. 61

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

1.
1.1

Introduction
The Application site was, until 2014, operated as a commercial airport with limited
passenger and businesses services flying into and out of the airport.

The airport

ceased to function in May 2014 as a result of falling usage, a long term trend that the
airport has never been able to successfully reverse. The closure of the airport resulted
in approximately 144 redundancies. Since closure all operational assets have been
disposed and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commercial aerodrome licence
surrendered.
1.2

As a result the prospects of returning to an operational airport use are low, particularly
one that would be financially self-sustaining. Since its closure the airport site has been
purchased by a new owner. Recognising the lack of a viable future as an airport the
new owner is, therefore, seeking to make best use of the land and wider infrastructure
assets. As such, alternative uses for the Application site are being explored.

1.3

Having been commissioned to review the economic potential of the former Manston
airport site it is Bilfinger GVAs strong belief that there is a need to fundamentally revisit
the economic future for East Kent following the closure of Manston Airport. Much of
the previous economic evidence for the sub-region (and Thanet in particular) has
been founded on the assumption that Manston would continue to function.

1.4

As has been demonstrated by the closure of the airport and subsequent feasibility
reviews by Thanet District Council, these assumptions are no longer sound.

It is

therefore crucial to understand how the former Manston airport site1 could continue
to play an important role in the Thanet and East Kent economy despite the cessation
of aviation activity.
1.5

Given the scale of the Application site any future employment role will
understandably

be

influenced

by

(and

influence)

economic

and

business

performance at the county-wide and East Kent level as well as those within Thanet

Henceforth referred to as the Application site in this report

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

itself. It is therefore vital that any future understanding of the economic potential is
rooted in a combination of strategic and local trends.
1.6

The loss of the airport, the strengthening of the Kent economy, the range of new local
economic drivers in East Kent and the potential to deliver major new economic
capacity in the District within the Application site suggest that the approach to
economic growth and employment land allocations could and should be
reconsidered.

1.7

This report provides a series of analytical steps and outputs to identify the potential
economic opportunity for Thanet and the Application site specifically. It considers a
range of influences and drivers on the local economy and property market that could
drive the economy in a direction that is substantially different to that envisaged within
the TDCs existing evidence base.

1.8

The report, in line with the strategic guidance provided by the NPPF and NPPG, then
draws on this information to provide an enhanced employment land forecast that
helps to inform the opportunity at the Application site and support the allocation of
additional employment capacity beyond the expectations of the existing evidence
base.

1.9

The forecasting approach considers specific sectoral impacts and opportunities that
have been identified through the initial research.

The forecast considers the

employment land impacts of a different scale and mix of growth in key opportunity
sectors that the existing evidence base has not addressed. As such it provides a
starting point for a new way of thinking about Thanets economic future and role in
the Kent-wide market.
1.10

Overall, drawing each strand of evidence together into a single forecast, the report
demonstrates that, by considering an alternative future for the Application site TDC
can achieve growth that is equal, if not greater, than could be achieved with
Manston continuing to operate as a loss-making airport, which is clearly not an
option.

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Report Structure
1.11

The analysis within this Report is structured into 5 key analytical sections, each
focussed on evolving the evidence to support an alternate economic forecast and to
test the potential economic future for the Application site.

1.12

The report starts by considering the strategic context and performance of the Kent
economy, to identify where it may present opportunities for Thanet (and in turn
Manston), it then considers more local and East Kent opportunities, provides a new
growth forecast and considers the capacity of Thanet to accommodate this growth
without the Application site.

1.13

It goes on to define the specific Manston opportunity and draws parallels with other
locations to identify where supply led employment growth has been successful in
similar circumstances.

Ultimately, the findings provide an overarching direction for

the Application site. The content is organised as follows:


Section 2 - Sub Regional Context provides analysis of Kent wide economic and
property market context.

It identifies opportunities for the development of the

Application site and also potential competitors for occupiers.


Section 3 - Local Economic and Employment Analysis considers the Thanet
economic context, the characteristics of the business and workforce base and the
future growth forecasts for Thanet.
Section 4 Employment Land in East Kent considers the current portfolio of sites and
how these are geared to meet future demand.
Section 5 Future Economic Potential and Drivers identifies the local drivers of
future growth within Thanet and the sectors these can influence.
Section 6 Future Growth Potential builds on the analysis of economic drivers and
opportunities in preceding sections to provide an updated understanding of
employment land requirements if these opportunities are fully realised.
Section 7 The Application site Opportunity identifies the strengths of the potential
offer at Manston and how this supports a supply led approach to growth that
complements the wider site and premises offer in Thanet.
Section 8 Examples of Supply Led Growth provides reference cases of where
other similar large land assets have been successfully brought forward to augment
the economic offer of an area and work alongside the existing site portfolio by
providing a differentiated offer.

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Section 9 Conclusions sets out the strategic findings and basis for allocating the
Application site for future employment development

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2.

Sub-regional Context
Key Findings

Kent has a strong base of manufacturing and industrial activity that underpins
employment within the County.
Future growth forecasts highlight that employment within advanced manufacturing,
transport and distribution sectors is likely to grow, further strengthening the importance
of the sector to the Kent economy.
Property market trends demonstrate ongoing requirements for industrial space, much
of which is currently not met by the existing supply portfolio.
The future supply pipeline is constrained in terms of its:
o Scale
o Focus of activity
o Type of offer
Demand for large industrial sites and units is strong, but supply has decreased.
There are limited strategic sites within Kent that can offer scale, accessibility and links
to key economic drivers.

Implications

2.1

A lack of sites could limit the growth potential of the County in the future.
Supply within East Kent is particularly weak meaning its economy could continue to
lose ground compared to the Thames Gateway and Ashford/Maidstone.
Manston, therefore, provides a strategic opportunity to broaden the supply portfolio in
East Kent and attract activity that would otherwise go elsewhere.

This chapter sets out an understanding of the broad context for the future of the
Application site in terms of the regional and sub-regional economic strategy and
direction set by Kent County Council and the South East LEP. It considers the wider
economic setting by looking into the state of Kent and its sub regions economy. To
identify potential opportunities and competition for Manston it addresses: inward
investment drivers, economic forecasts, the commercial property market and
regional comparator sites.

2.2

These are all likely to influence development at the Application site. Importantly they
will also help identify where Manston can deliver growth that is additional within the
East Kent sub-region rather than duplicating or substituting what could already be
achieved elsewhere.

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The Application Site


2.3

The Application site is strategically well located in the district of Thanet, within the East
Kent sub region2 (Figure 1). The Application site lies at the centre of the sub regions
core economic drivers of Canterbury, the Ports of Dover and Ramsgate, and the
growing knowledge cluster at Discovery Park.
Figure 1: The county of Kent and districts

The
Manston
Site

2.4

The Application site itself occupies approximately 320 Ha of land that includes the
former operational airport, its runway, ancillary service areas, buildings and
operational spaces. The eastern edge of the Application site is located approximately
2 miles west of Ramsgate port. It is on the edge of the Ramsgate urban area,
surrounded by open space and agricultural land.

2.5

The Application site benefits from excellent road links, and has benefitted from
significant investment in the local road network via the East Kent Access Improvement
Scheme. The B2050 (Manston Road) runs through the Application site connecting to

East Kent Sub-region includes the borough of Thanet, Dover, Canterbury, Ashford and Shepway.

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the A299 to the south, which in turn connects to Canterbury to the West (via the A28)
and Sandwich and Dover to the South (via the A256).

Kent Economic Context


2.6

Kent County comprises thirteen local authorities. It can be broadly characterised into
three main sub-regions- East Kent, West Kent and the Thames Gateway3. Kent County
Council has responsibility for setting the strategic direction for economic growth within
the County, working in partnership with the district-level authorities and the South East
LEP.

Economic Aspirations
2.7

The County Council has set ambitious growth targets and aspirations for economic
progress in terms of the scale of growth, physical regeneration and sector
development. In general, through successive economic and regeneration strategies
the approach adopted has been to align housing and economic growth, providing a
more sustainable approach to growth over the long term.

2.8

Kent is playing a leading role in the South East LEP area economy, through brownfield
opportunities in the Thames Gateway, major knowledge hubs such as Discovery Park
(one of two Enterprise Zones within the SELEP area), first class higher education
provision, maximising HS1 opportunities and regenerating its coastal communities.

2.9

From major office aspirations aligned to Ebbsfleet and Ashford International Stations
to large distribution parks in Swale and Medway there is a significant quantum of the
full range of B class floorspaces permitted on major new strategic employment sites.

Main Industries in Kent


2.10

Table 1 shows employment by industry in Kent in 2013, the latest available data. It
shows that Kents major strength (in terms of scale of employment) is within the

East Kent comprises of Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Shepway and Thanet. West Kent includes Maidstone, Tunbridge
Wells, Tonbridge and Malling, Sevenoaks; and Thames Gateway includes Dartford, Gravesend, Swale, Medway,
Sheerness

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Wholesale and Retail sector, with almost 20% of the population employed in this single
sector.
2.11

More broadly there is also a strong representation of employment in production and


related activities such as manufacturing and transport and storage, highlighting the
ongoing attractiveness of the County to these activities.
Table 1: Employment by Industry (2014)
Industry

G : Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and


motorcycles
Q : Human health and social work activities
P : Education
N : Administrative and support service activities
I : Accommodation and food service activities
M : Professional, scientific and technical activities
C : Manufacturing
F : Construction
H : Transportation and storage
O : Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
K : Financial and insurance activities
J : Information and communication
R : Arts, entertainment and recreation
S : Other service activities
L : Real estate activities
E : Water supply; sewerage, waste management and remediation
activities
D : Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply
A : Agriculture, forestry and fishing
B : Mining and quarrying
T : Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods-and
services-producing activities of households for own use
U : Activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies

18.3%
12.4%
10.2%
8.9%
7.4%
6.7%
6.4%
6.3%
5.6%
4.1%
3.4%
2.5%
2.3%
2.0%
1.9%
0.8%
0.4%
0.3%
0.1%
0.0%
0.0%

Source: NOMIS, 2014 Figures may not sum to 100% due to rounding

Future Economic Focus


2.12

Kents future economic growth is likely to be focussed on building upon its existing
strengths and assets. This will draw on the Countys existing business and employment
base, the knowledge assets it accommodates and the strategic connections the
County offers both to the UK and Europe.

Future directions will be built on the

Countys potential (and existing strength) as a value added manufacturing sector, its

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increasingly modernised land based sector, the life sciences and wider creative and
professional service occupations.
2.13

Each of these sectors have unique drivers in terms of location and growth
opportunities. Kent is well placed to meet all of these; however it is impossible for all
places to attract all activities given differing local circumstances.

The East Kent

economy has traditionally been underpinned by the production activities of


manufacturing and engineering, agriculture and food production, pharmaceuticals
and tourism. Given local skills, infrastructure endowments, business assets and land
supply it is these sectors that can evolve and drive future growth.
2.14

As key elements of the Kent economy, and a key opportunity for East Kent, it is
important to understand how some of these sectors will perform in the future to
understand if there is potential for growth.

By considering the Experian Business

Strategies Local Market forecasts we can identify how the Kent economy (and
employment levels) will change. As shown in Figure 2 there are positive prospects for
the three core sectors of advanced manufacturing, wholesale and land and
transport activities.
Figure 2: Sector Growth in Kent-2011-2031 (Change from base year)

Source: Experian, 2016

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

2.15

These forecasts support the earlier findings of the Rebalancing Kent Report (KCC,
2010) that forecasted positive growth in Transport and Logistics, advanced
manufacturing, the land-based economy and creative and digital industries in order
to boost Kents comparatively low GVA.

2.16

The KCC report also highlighted a strength in low carbon and environmental goods
and services (LCEGS) for Kent, highlighting the renewable energy potential of the
Thames Estuary in particular. The LCEGS sector is predicted to grow 4-5% from 20102018.

2.17

Importantly, whilst the LCEGS sector hasnt grown as quickly as the Rebalancing Kent
Report envisaged (largely as a result of uncertainty relating to Phase 3 wind arrays off
the Kent Coast) there remain opportunities to harness this sector, particularly at
Ramsgate, as we consider later. Importantly for this report we would expect many of
the LCEGS jobs growth to occur within the advanced manufacturing sector, as such
future prospects for both are considered together.

Business Demography in Kent


2.18

Kent is described as a county of small and medium sized enterprises within the KCC
regeneration framework. The economy is made up of 50,000 VAT registered
businesses, 98% of which have fewer than 100 employees. This gives the county an
advantage in terms of attracting innovative and entrepreneurial firms to Kent, which
are key to driving forward growth in the high value sectors. Forming dynamic and
open relations with businesses to enable them to grow and thrive is set out as a
priority.

Kent Property Market and Inward Investment Trends


2.19

The scale of opportunity at Manston suggests that it can introduce a new form of
economic hub into East Kent. It provides sufficient scale and profile to be a major
addition to East Kents business location portfolio, reducing any local displacement
issues by diversifying rather than duplicating location opportunities.

Whilst it will

provide space for local businesses it also provides an opportunity to make a more
strategic offer to occupiers and can attract major new inward investment into Thanet
and East Kent.

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2.20

Given it would have the potential to target occupiers that are not currently within (or
likely to start up within) the local market there may be some level of competition with
other strategic sites within Kent.

Therefore, in order to understand the scale of

opportunity but also ensure that Manston can be a truly additional asset, we need to
understand the strengths and competitive position of other strategic employment
sites.
2.21

Locate in Kents Property Market Review (KPMR, 2015) shows that inward investment
within Kent remained positive. It shows that in June 2015, there were 313 active
projects in Kent of which 210 were actively seeking new land or premises.

Total

demand was recorded at c.315,750sqm. This is an increase in known requirements


over the 2014 Report of over 50,000sqm;.
2.22

In the year to June 2015 51 businesses had been assisted by Locate in Kent, of which
46 have taken up new space, creating demand for 56,000sqm of additional
floorspace.

The KPMR highlights that the average size of unit demanded has

increased in 2015 by 56% over average unit sizes in 2014, reflecting a number of deals
for large warehouse and distribution premises.

Importantly the KPMR highlights a

strong demand for industrial space, totalling a potential maximum demand of


c.260,00sqm.

Sector-based Demand of floorspace


2.23

Looking in more depth at the demand data shows that there are a small number of
key sectors that underpin Kents industrial market.

In 2015 industrial demand was

dominated by construction (152,000sqm) manufacturing (26,000sqm) and food and


agriculture (22,000sqm), there was also strengthened demand for space for
businesses engaged in environmental technologies, which represented 16,000sqm of
demand.
2.24

Office demand also showed some interesting sector patterns with key activity within
the manufacturing sector (26% of demand 15,000sqm), followed by food and
agriculture (12,000sqm) and construction (8,500sqm).

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Figure 3: Property demand by Sector

Source: 2015 Kent Property Market

Sub-regional Demand and Supply Trends


2.25

The KPMR identified that demand was spread across Kent, albeit dominated by the
Thames Gateway and the Maidstone/Ashford area, which between them accounted
for 32% of industrial demand and 50% of office demand. East Kent showed weaker
performance with only 17% of activity within the sub-region as shown in Figure 4 for
industrial space and 33% of office demand (largely led by Discovery Park).

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Figure 4: Total office and industrial property demand by sub region

Source: 2015 Kent Property Market

2.26

East Kent shows the most polarised share of demand with a considerably higher level
of floorspace demand for industrial property than office, with demand almost 10
times higher. It also has a stark difference in size requirements for industrial premises,
with a much higher average unit size per project estimated to be in excess of
2,100sqm compared to 2,000sqm in West Kent, c.1,700sqm in Thames Gateway and
c.1,600sqm in Maidstone/Ashford.

2.27

However, the KPMR notes a strategic challenge for East Kent in terms of supply, with a
weaker supply of office and industrial properties in 2015 compared with the other sub
regions as shown in Figure 5.

2.28

In terms of supply, there is a considerable range of space identified as available


within East Kent however there are a number of issues in terms of the nature, quality
and size of space available.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Figure 5: Property Supply by sub region June 2015

Source: 2015 Kent Property Market

2.29

The greatest number of properties overall were available in the Thames Gateway
(31%), followed by East Kent (25%), West Kent (23%) and Maidstone/Ashford (21%).

2.30

The KPMR notes that across Kent the supply of space in larger sizebands (particularly
in excess of 10,000sqm) has contracted significantly whilst demand has increased.

Strategic Offer in Kent and its Sub-regions


2.31

Above we have considered the strategic demand context that will influence
commercial property activity across Kent in the future. However, understanding that
there is demand for industrial space only considers one side of the equation. To
understand and demonstrate a likely future for the Application site we must also
consider what opportunities already exist to accommodate the forms of demand
identified.

2.32

Kent has a large portfolio of strategic industrial and business sites spread across the
county that includes 19 business parks, 9 industrial parks, 6 major mixed use
developments, 3 large-scale regeneration sites and 3 major science parks. Beneath
this strategic level there are a large number of smaller, more locally focussed
employment locations.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

2.33

Locate in Kent (maintain a register of strategic employment opportunities for inward


investment purposes, these are shown in Figure 6
Figure 6: Major Sites- Locate in Kent

Source: Locate in Kent, 2015

2.34

The Locate in Kent register keeps track of all types of strategic employment sites, from
major office locations through to specialist science parts. Therefore not all of the 41
sites will be targeting similar types of activity that the East Kent market is likely to
attract. To provide a better understanding of where the Application site may fit into
the Kent portfolio we have identified the sites that most closely compare to Manston
in terms of scale, nature, likely occupiers and location, these are shown in Table 2.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 2: List of Comparator Sites

Sub
region

Local
Authority

Scheme/ Site

Use Class

Ashford

Sevington

B1c, B2, B8

Discovery
Park
Enterprise
Zone

Development
Capacity Area
(sqm)- approx..

49.9

Industrial- 86,700
and office- 60500

B1, B2, B8

81

Up to 120,000sqm
of employment
generating space

White Cliffs
Business Park

B1, B2, B8

57

120,000

Shepway

Link
Enterprise
Park

B1, B2, B8

32.4

52,000

B1, B2, B8

6.4

21,600

Medway

Rochester
Airport
London
Medway
Commercial
Park

B1, B2, B8

92

190,000

B1, B8

50

61,000

Dover
East Kent

Thames
Gateway
Swale

2.35

Gross
Area
(Ha)

G Park
Sittingbourne

It is our estimation that there are 7 sites across Kent that provide a similar scale or
nature of operation to what could be achieved at Manston. However, of these one is
Discovery Park, which although of a significant scale, is unlikely to be a comparator as
it seeks to utilise its assets as a major hub for the Knowledge Economy.

The

Masterplan for Discovery Park is seeking to attract a different form of growth that is
most likely to be driven by uses within B1 use classes, there are also limitations to the
scale of single occupier activity given wider site and development considerations.
2.36

Therefore, in reality, there are only likely to be 6 comparator sites. There is also the
potential for greater activity at Thamesport on the Hoo Peninsula (Medway) however
these are not yet confirmed so cannot be considered at this point.

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2.37

Overall, the largest concentration of opportunity lies within the Thames Gateway on
two sites, one within Swale and one in Medway. Within East Kent the White Cliffs
Business Park provides the most significant available capacity followed by Link Park, it
is notable that there is no strategic capacity identified within Thanet.

Below we

consider each offer in more detail.


2.38

Sevington (Ashford)-Sevington is a c. 50 Ha site in Ashford at a prominent location


close to the M20 Junction 10. The site has identified capacity for industrial space and
can accommodate in the region of 86,700 sqm of floorspace.

The site is also

expected to deliver high quality office uses of 60,500 sqm.


2.39

However, whilst capacity exists there are major barriers to delivery. Currently there is
no access to the site for its employment use and delivery of the full capacity is
dependent on the delivery of a new junction on the M20 (10a).

2.40

The site is also currently relatively remote from services and facilities; however this is
likely to change with the mixed use development of the adjacent Waterbrook site,
however this is yet to commence.

2.41

White Cliffs Business Park -Phase 2 and Phase 3 (Dover): White Cliffs Business Park
Phase 2 and Phase 3 are planned extensions to the existing White Cliff Business Park
totalling 57ha of land. Phase 1 includes modern office/ light industrial facilities. The
extension will provide total capacity of 120,000 sqm of new commercial floorspace.
The sites have been identified for mainly B1 and B2 employment use. There are
potential utilities constraints on the site relating to the suitability of electricity and
water supply capacity.

2.42

Link Enterprise Park (Shepway): Link Park (32.4 ha) is a large allocated extension to the
Lympne Industrial Estate, the first phase of which is currently under construction. The
remaining undeveloped land has outline permission for 52,000sqm for B1-B8 uses. The
site benefits from reasonable road access and a lack of any conflicting uses nearby,
however it is relatively remote from the main trunk road network.

2.43

There are no obvious development constraints and it adjoins an established


distribution site. However, take up of the new units under construction has been
relatively slow.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

2.44

Rochester Airport: Underpinned by BAE Systems and the new Medway Innovation
Centre the aspiration for the Airfield is to develop a cluster of high technology and
advanced manufacturing activities. Rochester Airfield is seen as an ideal edge of
urban business location with good transport links.

2.45

On 23 January 2014 Medway Council approved the Rochester Airport Masterplan, it


identifies potential for a range of B1, B2 and B8 uses, with capacity for 21,600 sqm of
new employment floorspace on 6.4 Ha of employment land.

2.46

London Medway Commercial Park (Medway): The site is 92 Ha, with an estimated
capacity to accommodate approx. 190,000 sqm of B2-B8 employment space with
particular opportunities for heavy industries and manufacturing activities linked to
both the existing Kingsnorth power station and the port. London Medway is situated
on the south side of the Hoo Peninsula in Medway approximately 6 miles from the M2.
The site is connected to the M2 motorway at Junction 1 via the dualled A228 and
A289.

2.47

The existing planning consent identifies 11 different development plots varying in size
from 1.2 Ha to 25 Ha. There have been recent investments in access infrastructure
and site servicing. Recent planning applications suggest that private sector demand
is growing, and it is anticipated demand will be driven by low carbon and port
related activities.

2.48

G Park, Sittingbourne (Swale): G Park is a 50Ha distribution scheme by Gazeley. G Park


Sittingbourne occupies a strategic position in the South East with proximity to major
trunk routes, rail and port facilities, The development is situated 5 miles to the north of
Junction 5 of the M2.

2.49

The site is being promoted for B1, B2 and B8 floorspace. The current major occupier is
an 85,000 sqm Morrisons distribution unit with capacity of the remaining plots
estimated to be 61,000 sqm.

2.50

Eurolink

and

Kemsley:

These

large,

established

industrial

estates

have

accommodated a significant level of manufacturing and distribution growth and can


accommodate up to a further 300,000 sqm of additional floorspace, predominantly in
B2/ B8 use classes.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

2.51

Whilst there is significant capacity within the identified portfolio it is clear that each
faces its own challenges to delivery or, in some cases, has a distinct market offer that
may prevent it attracting particular uses.

Kingsnorth provides the most clear

comparator to the potential offer at Manston both in terms of its scale, connectivity
and sector focus. However, as we will consider next, Manston is much better located
in terms of its potential relationship to existing economic hubs and drivers.

Summary and Conclusion


2.52

Our analysis of the Kent context highlights that the strengths of the County economy
remain within the production sectors. Employment is concentrated within a number
of manufacturing, transport and distribution activities that reflect both the local skill
base and the strategic connections the County offers to the UK and Europe.

2.53

As shown by the Kent Property Market Report demand for commercial floorspace
within the County remains strong, with a significant focus on larger industrial premises.
East Kent in particular has attracted ongoing demand, but is challenged in terms of its
potential supply.

2.54

Industrial activity forms a key element of the future growth strategy for Kent, as
articulated by KCC, both in terms of retaining and growing existing activity but also in
attracting new growth sectors to the County. In particular there are strong growth
prospects for future activity within the green economy, advanced manufacturing
and transport sectors, all of which are forecast to experience employment growth in
Kent up to 2031.

2.55

However, whilst demand is forecast to continue there are limited significant


opportunities to accommodate this growth. There are few sites within Kent that can
provide the scale of opportunity and existing infrastructure and accessibility required
to meet demand, especially in the short to medium term.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

3.

Local Economic and Employment Analysis


Key Findings

The economic context for Thanet is challenged and is characterised by


o Low employment levels
o High unemployment
o Low skills
o High out-commuting to neighbouring areas
o High out-migration of working age residents

The District maintains a strong base of industrial and manufacturing employment that
has strengthened in key sub-sectors during the recession.

Thanet has experienced a loss of industrial floorspace provision since 2000 whilst Dover
has grown its stock, weakening Thanets competitive position in East Kent.

There is a lack of supply of large, serviced, development ready sites within Thanet and
East Kent that are orientated towards manufacturing, engineering and distribution
activity.

Implications

3.1

There is a potential opportunity to utilise the latent economic potential within the
resident workforce locally by broadening the range and choice of employment
opportunities.

The existing business and employment base provides a range of skills locally that can
attract further industrial activity.

There is a qualitative need for a different type of employment land provision that
could improve the Thanet offer and attract new occupiers to the District and East Kent
more generally.

In the previous sections we have considered the strategic economic drivers and
competition for the Application site. This identified that there is strong existing and
forecast demand for industrial and distribution activity across Kent, but a number of
weaknesses in the property supply portfolio.

3.2

The Application site has a number of competitive advantages when compared to


other strategic sites and offers the potential to attract inward investment into Thanet.
In order to understand the potential scale and nature of demand it is important to

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

consider the specific local economic drivers that will assist in attracting occupiers to
the area.
3.3

Therefore to begin to identify an alternative economic future for Thanet which has a
regenerated Manston site at its heart it is vital to understand the local context in more
detail. By developing this understanding we can understand how the Application site
can broaden local opportunities and provide a different offer to the existing portfolio
of employment land, increasing employment without simply substituting demand from
other Thanet and East Kent locations.

3.4

Our next step therefore is to appraise Thanets local economy, its drivers, employment
growth, and commercial land supply and demand provision alongside that of the
neighbouring East Kent districts.

Socioeconomic Snapshot of Thanet


3.5

Thanet comprises of 3 main coastal towns Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, and
a new centre, Westwood, located in the centre of the district, equidistant to the main
coastal towns. Thanet has a number of other coastal and rural villages. The district is
bounded by 32 km of coastline on its north and east sides, and to the south and west
lies the former Wansum Channel separating the district from its neighbours of Dover
and Canterbury.

3.6

In terms of accessibility, the district has good road links to London and the M25, via
the A299 (dual carriageway) and A2/M2 and M20. The district is well connected by
train to Canterbury, Dover, Ashford and London via HS1. The travel time to London St
Pancras from Ramsgate is 76 minutes.

3.7

It is recognised by local and strategic public sector authorities that Thanet suffers from
severe socioeconomic challenges. It has had a consistently high unemployment rate
and claimant count, which at 6.4% is almost double the UK average.

3.8

Reflecting the nature of employment locally, where there is a high share of


employment in seasonal sectors such as tourism, there is high proportion of part time
workers in Thanet. In 2011 there were 40% part time workers in Thanet compared with
33.4% in England.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

3.9

Thanet has experienced significant decline in employment in recent years, with


employment rates falling faster than the UK average. Consequently unemployment
has historically been above the UK average in Thanet and this gap is widening.

3.10

Like many coastal locations Thanet has had a transient population, with new residents
accessing the cheaper housing offer, particularly in house of multiple occupations.
This has been most acute in Margate and Cliftonville where more than 30% of resident
population move in and out of the area within a short space of time.

3.11

Thanets business base is largely located in urban areas and key sectors include
wholesale and retail and construction. Tourism & green sectors comprise a sizeable
proportion of total businesses. Home-working is relatively high in the district and is
particularly popular in Margate and Ramsgate.

Thanet Local Labour Market Economic Area


3.12

Thanet has strong functional links with the neighbouring authority areas of Canterbury
and Dover, with strong in and out commuting rates as shown in

3.13

Table 3.
Table 3: Travel to Work Analysis (2011)

In-Commuting

OutCommuting

Balance

Thanet

31,039

13,380

17,659

Canterbury
Dover

2,232
1,899

4,564
2,874

-2,332
-975

Shepway

349

655

-306

Swale

303

568

-265

Ashford
(Westminster+Southwark+Tower
Hamlets+Dartford+Bexley)

153

521

-368

78

852

-774

Source: ONS, 2011

3.14

30% of people living in the District commute out of Thanet to work. Out-commuting
levels are the greatest to Dover and Canterbury with 60% of out-commuters working in
these locations, a significant number also commute towards London.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

3.15

According to the Local Economic Assessment for Thanet (2012), there is significant out
migration of the 16-39 age group, suggesting the districts constrained economic
position is causing work age residents to move to other locations for work.

Sector Analysis
3.16

The table below identifies the particular sector strengths of Thanet in comparison to
Kent, the South East and England. These are calculated using location quotients4,
which estimate the proportion of employment locally to that within the benchmarks.
In simple terms it highlights the concentration of employment in a particular sector in
Thanet. We then compare this to the latest growth performance to understand which
sectors may be strengthened and which receding.

3.17

Table 4 compares the sectors within Thanet that have a comparative strength against
wider benchmarks Kent, the South East and England. Yellow highlights a reasonably
strong specialisation (i.e. between 1.5 and 3), Green shading highlights a strong
concentration (i.e. a LQ between 3 and 4), and Pink a very strong concentration (i.e.
above 4).

LQs provide a simple yet powerful tool to compare places and employment activity. A LQ of 1

shows that employment in a sector is proportionately the same as the benchmark geography
(i.e., there is no specialisms), a LQ greater than 1 shows the sector is proportionately more
strongly represented in Thanet (i.e. there is a specialisation), and a LQ less than 1 shows a sector
is under represented.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 4: LQ Analysis

Industry

161 : Sawmilling and planing of wood

LQ to
Kent

LQ to
SE

LQ to
Engla
nd

Employm
ent
change
(%)- 200913

3.1

2.6

14.3

12.9

19

13.9

-12

222 : Manufacture of plastics products

2.6

4.3

2.8

18.2

257 : Manufacture of cutlery, tools and general


hardware

3.4

5.3

4.8

21.3

259 : Manufacture of other fabricated metal products

1.7

1.7

121.2

4.1

2.8

4.3

166.1

8.9

3.7

13.2

100

3.5

2.9

6.3

111.1

7.7

12.8

12.1

12.3

2.4

2.3

1.2

-15.8

14.7

8.1

-82.7

329 : Other manufacturing

1.3

1.2

1.1

25

331 : Repair of fabricated metal products, machinery


and equipment

1.3

1.4

1.3

74.2

381 : Waste collection

1.5

1.9

1.7

-31.4

383 : Materials recovery

0.6

1.2

1.3

880

411 : Development of building projects

0.4

0.4

0.3

-62.0

431 : Demolition and site preparation

1.7

2.9

2.0

200.0

432 : Electrical, plumbing and other construction


installation activities

0.8

1.1

1.3

-6.7

433 : Building completion and finishing

0.7

1.0

1.1

19.0

433 : Building completion and finishing

0.7

1.1

19

464 : Wholesale of household goods

0.9

0.5

0.6

220

467 : Other specialised wholesale

0.7

0.9

0.8

44.1

473 : Retail sale of automotive fuel in specialised stores

1.3

1.3

100

0.9

0.7

0.9

-34.4

1.3

1.5

1.6

-30.9

1.5

1.6

1.5

-15.9

1.3

1.5

19.9

203 : Manufacture of paints, varnishes and similar


coatings, printing ink and mastics

261 : Manufacture of electronic components and


boards
266 : Manufacture of irradiation, electromedical and
electrotherapeutic equipment
267 : Manufacture of optical instruments and
photographic equipment
271 : Manufacture of electric motors, generators,
transformers and electricity distribution and control
apparatus
310 : Manufacture of furniture
324 : Manufacture of games and toys

474 : Retail sale of information and communication


equipment in specialised stores
475 : Retail sale of other household equipment in
specialised stores
476 : Retail sale of cultural and recreation goods in
specialised stores
477 : Retail sale of other goods in specialised stores

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Industry

LQ to
Kent

LQ to
SE

LQ to
Engla
nd

Employm
ent
change
(%)- 200913

491 : Passenger rail transport, interurban

2.1

6.2

6.8

493 : Other passenger land transport

1.5

1.7

1.1

-3.2

494 : Freight transport by road and removal services

0.3

0.4

0.3

-45.6

521 : Warehousing and storage

0.2

0.3

0.2

385.7

522 : Support activities for transportation

1.2

1.1

1.5

55.6

531 : Postal activities under universal service obligation

1.1

-4.9

0.9

0.9

8.6

552 : Holiday and other short stay accommodation

1.3

0.6

0.7

39.1

553 : Camping grounds, recreational vehicle parks


and trailer parks

1.3

1.7

1.7

86.1

559 : Other accommodation

1.8

1.2

0.7

16.7

561 : Restaurants and mobile food service activities

1.3

1.4

1.3

21.7

781 : Activities of employment placement agencies

2.7

2.5

2.4

56.9

551 : Hotels and similar accommodation

Source: NOMIS, ABI/ BRES 2013

3.18

The analysis shows that Thanet has strengths within the manufacturing sector although
these tend to be of low value and medium value; some elements of these sectors
have continued to grow during the recession. The data also shows that there has
been a significant proportional increase in activities such as the manufacture of
electric components, motor parts; plastic goods and specialised electro-medical
equipment, reinforcing their importance to the local economy.

3.19

There is a weak representation within Thanets economy of warehouse and road


based freight transport, this reflects the relative location of Thanet to the UKs core
markets and reinforces the market sentiment that the District is not a location for
general distribution activity. However, there has been an increase in employment in
the sector since 2009, suggesting that some level of activity tied to servicing local
communities or business activity is happening.

Future Employment Growth


3.20

A range of forecasts and projections are available to help understand the scale and
nature of employment and economic growth within Thanet. Historically TDC have
worked with Experian to provide an understanding of future growth, although we

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

understand the recently completed SHMA draws on the East of England Forecasting
Model (EEFM) prepared by Oxford Economics.
3.21

Understandably both have different approaches to modelling and forecasting future


growth, as such both yield different results both in terms of the scale of growth and
also the mix of sectors.

3.22

Reviewing the most recent version of the EEFM (published in autumn 2014) it forecasts
employment growth of c.4,800 jobs between 2011 and 2031, an increase of 10%. The
most significant employment growth would be within Business Services (1,374 jobs,
53%), Professional Services (1,059 jobs, 67%) and Retail (961 jobs, 14%). A number of
sectors will also see significant proportional growth, albeit with lower levels of jobs
creation.

With the exception of the electronics sub-category all manufacturing

activities are forecast to contract.


3.23

The latest Experian employment forecasts (March 2016) predict a slightly greater level
of growth within Thanet than the EEFM, with growth of 5,200 additional jobs, an
increase of 11%. Experian predict that this growth will be driven by expansion of the
administrative services sector (1,500 jobs, 60%), public administration (1,300 jobs, 21%)
and the manufacture of the computing and electronic products (800 jobs, 89%).

3.24

Given both forecasts also work from a different base level of employment for Thanet,
to allow a general comparison we have rebased both forecasts to the latest (2014)
Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) results.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Figure 7: Property Supply by sub region June 2015

BRES

Forecast

Source: BGVA Analysis of BRES, Experian and Oxford Economics, 2016

3.25

As shown the early years of the Experian forecast predicted lower growth levels than
the EEFM, however in the medium term (2016-2020) growth is expected to occur at a
greater rate. Beyond the early 2020s Experian forecast growth to be more volatile but
(on average) to be broadly at the same rate as the EEFM.

3.26

Given the differences in the two forecasts it is clear that achieving growth in line with
Experians expectations would achieve both a greater level of employment growth
but also tie growth much more closely to the nature of the existing Thanet economy
and link with wider opportunities for Kent as a whole.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

4.

Employment Land in East Kent

4.1

Thanet does not operate in an isolated market.

The delivery of growth within

neighbouring local authorities will directly impact on the opportunities for the District
to attract and accommodate new development. In particular, businesses do not
respect administrative boundaries and will locate on the most suitable site which
enables them to serve their target market.
4.2

In this regard it is relevant to review the future demand and supply of employment
land within Thanets immediate neighbours. The nature of economic activity within
the district is predominantly locally-orientated, servicing a sub-regional demand and
drawing on the sub-regional labour market. As such, it has strong inter-relationships
with the neighbouring districts as a market, source of workers and supply chain.

4.3

In the main future growth is likely to mirror the current trend of predominantly locally
orientated activity, as such businesses seeking to exploit the East Kent market may
seek to locate in Thanet but could also consider opportunities in any of the
surrounding

districts,

therefore

understanding

employment

land

supply

and

aspirations helps to evaluate both local competition and complementarity for future
demand.
4.4

That is not to say that all businesses only operate locally, a number are servicing
regional, national and international markets from East Kent.

These tend to seek

locations with high quality environments and workspaces and good communications
and infrastructure.
4.5

Again, understanding which neighbouring areas are focussing on similar opportunities


will help to set the potential for Thanet in context, highlighting where there are unique
opportunities and considerable competition.

Review of Employment Land in Thanet and the Neighbouring Districts


4.6

We have reviewed a full range of employment evidence base and economic


strategy documents for each of the neighbouring local authorities to understand their
economic priorities, wider growth aspirations and sector focus. The review has been

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

done keeping in mind more land intensive B-class commercial use relating to use class
B1c, B2 and B8 for industrial, manufacturing and warehouse activity.
4.7

The most recent VOA statistics on industrial floorspace indicates that in the East Kent
region Thanet and Canterbury has suffered a loss of industrial floorspace of 26,000sqm
and 29,000sqm respectively between 2000 and 2012 (as shown in Figure 8). Dover has
had the highest amount of floorspace gain of 102,000sqm.
Figure 8: Commercial floorspace in Thanet and neighbouring districts

Floorspace in sq m (Thousands m2)

600
500
400
300
200
100

Canterbury- Industrial

Dover- Industrial

Thanet- Industrial

Thanet- office

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

Source: VOA

4.8

The VOA data highlights the limited scale of the office market within Thanet, with less
than 100,000sqm of floorspace provided within the District.

This reflects the

dominance of industrial activity as the major economic driver within the area.
4.9

The Thanet Local Economic and Employment Assessment (LEEA) 2012, indicates
relatively low vacancy levels in Thanet, an indication of either a stagnant property
market or a high demand for the type of property provided. However, most of the
stock within the district was considered to be poor quality which is likely to restrict the
level of demand, particularly from inward investors.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

4.10

The following table shows the summary of employment land needs and supply
assessment for Thanet and neighbouring districts of Dover and Canterbury over the
plan period.
Table 5: Summary of Employment Land in Thanet and other districts
Thanet 2009-2026

Dover 2012-2026

Canterbury 20112031

Floorspace
(m2)

Floorspace
(m2)

Floorspace
(m2)

Employment Land Need


Employment
Land Supply

Land
(ha)

Land
(ha)

Land
(ha)

206,200

15

20,000

146,874

16

Total

65

385,470

227

243,649

69

Priority
Sites

182,934

108

128,724

-162,934

103

18,150

Over/under Supply

50

53

Source: Employment Land Supply Reports for relevant local authority areas

Thanet
4.11

Economic Sectors: The latest economic forecast in Thanet (LEEA, 2012) suggests that
the economy will continue to grow in tourism and in green sectors - such as low
carbon goods and services (LCGES); renewable energy and their spin off and
supporting sectors. This is likely to include additional demand from manufacturing
and service businesses. Employment is forecast to grow by 5,000 jobs by 2031.

4.12

Employment Land: Thanet identifies a need of 15 ha of employment land up to 2031.


The total supply of the employment (B-class) land in estimated to be 65 Ha. This leaves
a potential oversupply of 50 Ha.

4.13

Most of the growth in the B-class sector within Thanet is estimated to be in B1 and B8
class (ELR, 2010). The major industrial employment location within Thanet is Manston
Park which has 47 Ha of available land for development. The rest of the sites have a
capacity range below 2 Ha.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 6: Available Industrial Sites in Thanet


Employment Land (Industrial
Focus)
Sites

Land remaining
for development
(Ha)

Site (Ha)
Manston Road (N)
Manston Road (S)

1.67
6.8

1.07
1.58

Manston Park

75.2

47.37

Hedgend
Total

2.46

1.61
51.63

Use
Class
Type

Quality Rating

Excellent
Average
B1, B2,
B8

Good
Good

Source: Employment Topic Paper (2013)

Dover
4.14

Economic Sectors: the occupier mix within Dover is biased towards the low growth
manufacturing and lower skilled occupations. Only the presence of the Discovery
Park stands out against this trend. (ELR 2010)

4.15

Employment Land: Dovers latest employment land needs are underpinned by its
Employment Land Update report, 2012, which considers in a worst case scenario that
there is no need for further employment space. It estimates that employment levels
will fall to 2018 and will only return to the previous peak in 2026, resulting in no net
employment growth across the Plan Period.

Should the economy recover more

quickly the Employment Update identifies a modest need for new additional
employment space (circa 20,000sqm or approximately 5ha).
4.16

Dover District has a total of 108 ha of employment land supply identified on priority
sites. Among this supply the majority of industrial land is located on just two
employment sites, the largest of which (Discovery Park) in the evidence base is
anticipated to provide capacity for 280,000 sqm of B class space. As established by
the Discovery Park planning permission the new space delivered within the site would
be c.120,000sqm albeit not all of it would be for B Class uses, with some energy
related activity included in this figure.

4.17

What is clear from the permitted masterplan for Discovery Park is that the future
development will seek to evolve the existing nature of activity to continue to build a
knowledge orientated hub. This means that there will be no capacity for large scale
manufacturing or other industrial activity.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

4.18

The other major site in Dover is the White Cliffs Business Park which contributes 52,000
sqm. White Cliffs is seen as a key location for transport and distribution industries
linked to the operations of the Port of Dover.
Table 7: Available Industrial Sites in Dover
Development
Potential (m2)

Site name

Potential use

Site

Discovery Park Enterprise Zone

B1, B2, B8

81.1

Revised figure of
120,000

White Cliffs Business Park

B1, B2, B9

54.7

52,000

Sandwich Industrial Estate

B1, B2, B10

18.3

Old Park Barracks


Ramsgate Road
Pike Road, Eythorne
Total

B1 and B8
B2
B1, B2 and B8

5.75
15.5
9.3

988
3,700
1,350
178,038

Source: Dover, Employment Land Update, 2012

Canterbury
4.19

Economic Focus: Canterburys main economic focus is concentrated in the


manufacturing, construction; logistics and professional, scientific and technical
activities (ELR, 2012).

4.20

Employment Land: Canterbury District has identified 128,724 sq m of remaining


developable land capacity for B-class use which is currently allocated for
employment purposes. The total estimated need of employment capacity is 146,874
sq m which leaves an oversupply of 18,150 sq m of employment floorspace in
Canterbury. However, the supply is likely to increase if the Canterbury Local Plan 2014,
currently under examination is adopted by the district.

4.21

The main available land for industrial purposes is Altira Business Park (15 ha) at Herne
Bay and Canterbury Business Park (10 ha) that can together accommodate c. (14 ha)
of new industrial development beyond their existing developed land. In addition to
this the current Local Plan of Canterbury under examination has identified 6,000 sqm
of additional employment land for B1, B2 and B8 use allocation next to the Lakesview,
Hersden.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 8: Available Industrial Sites in Canterbury


Site name

Use Class

Altira Business Park

B1, B2, B8

Canterbury Business Park


Potential Land Allocation- Land Adjacent
to Lakesview, Hersden, Canterbury

B1, B2 and B8
B1, B2, B8

Land
Remaining

Site (Ha)
15

9.6 Ha

10.4

3 Ha

24

6000 sq m

Source: Canterbury, Employment Land Study, 2011

4.22

It is notable that supply within Canterbury is limited to a small number of relatively


small sites, limiting the scope for attracting larger scale employment activities to the
area.

This may indicate an opportunity for Manston, where businesses may be

attracted to the assets within Canterbury but unable to access a sufficient scale or
nature of site within it.

Summary
4.23

Low existing commercial stock: Thanet has a low existing stock of commercial
floorspace compared to Dover and Canterbury. The VOA data shows that Thanet has
suffered a significant industrial floorspace loss between 2000 and 2012 at 26,000 sq m.
whereas the neighbouring district of Dover has gained 102,000 sq m of industrial
employment stock during this period.

4.24

Greater industrial floorspace and low vacancy levels: Thanet has more industrial
floorspace than office. This reflects the market strength for manufacturing activity,
whereas the office market is weak, with little demand. Thanet also has a consistently
high occupancy rate for industrial premises.

4.25

Supply and quality of new employment stock: Thanet has the lowest employment
land supply available (65 ha) as compared to Dover (227Ha) and Canterbury (69 Ha).
The Thanet ELR notes that much of the supply of employment land is relatively poor
quality.

4.26

Qualitative Need for New Supply: Whilst there is a considerable supply of employment
land within East Kent that would appear to fulfil the identified quantitative need there
is potentially an unmet qualitative need that the Application site could address. The
majority of land identified for industrial activity is (in market terms) of a relatively small
scale, with the largest site providing 47ha of developable land.

This does not

compare well with the supply available in other Kent industrial locations such as

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Medway or Swale. There is, therefore, an opportunity to deliver a different offer to the
market that can coordinate a number of large plots that would otherwise not be
achievable on other sites. Existing interest in the Application site has suggested there
is demand for larger space in the market from a range of occupiers. Positively, given
the Application sites location, this is unlikely to solely attract large distribution sheds as
is poorly located for this activity.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

5.

Future Economic Potential and Drivers.


Key Findings

Significant range of established and growing assets that can drive future growth in the
economy through supply chain and agglomeration opportunities, including:
o Expansion of Ramsgate Port activity
o Delivery of Richborough EcoPark
o Success of Thanet Earth
o Regeneration of Discovery Park
o Development of Thanet Parkway Station

Each driver has a shortage of land to accommodate related business activity


therefore any potential benefits could be lost to Thanet and, more widely, East Kent.

Key opportunities within:


o Engineering
o Advanced manufacturing
o Production linked distribution
o Local services

There is an established record of other locations in Kent securing additional, significant,


supply led employment growth when linked to other economic assets.

Implications

5.1

Using the identified drivers as basis for enhancing key sector growth to levels expected
on the rest of the UK can deliver an additional 2,500 jobs in the District over the Plan
Period to 2031.

However, this potential can only be realised by providing development capacity that
is well connected to identified drivers and allows sufficient space for businesses to
move to the area.

Manston, as a brownfield site well served by existing infrastructure, can deliver supply
led growth to help Thanet achieve a step change in its economic prospects.

Having identified a potential qualitative need for a new form of employment land
within the current portfolio it is also important to understand the types of activities that
may drive demand for this space in order to justify allocating the space. This is also a
useful analysis to help understand what the alternate economic future for Thanet may
look like now that the airport has ceased to operate.

5.2

It is this analysis of sector drivers and the potential scale of growth that can provide a
new basis for considering the future of Thanet, basing future growth decisions on an

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

up to date understanding of the strengths, challenges and opportunities the District


faces.
5.3

Our research has identified a number of locally specific drivers that could act as a
driver for the future economy and that could potentially result in a form of occupier
demand that could only be accommodated within the Application site locally.

5.4

Offshore Wind: the Port of Ramsgate is one of the five designated Centre for Offshore
Renewable Engineering (CORE) in England which will support growth in the UK
offshore wind industry. The focus at Ramsgate Port will be on the servicing and
maintenance of the offshore array and it is estimated that the current and emerging
off shore wind farm activity will create 150 jobs.

More widely it is thought it will

support, sustain and create employment across local marine and tourism sector.
5.5

However, as one of only a few locations within the UK with a focus on renewables
engineering there is wider potential to capture activity within the LCEGS sector. As an
emerging sector and technology in the UK there are a number of potential spin offs
that could be harnessed locally.

Major wind turbine manufacturers are actively

looking for sites within the UK to assist in the manufacture of component parts as well
as the land-side assembly of turbines. Currently these businesses are focussed on
locating in areas which have the capability to service the Phase 3 arrays planned off
the UK coast however we are aware that demand has not manifested itself in East
Kent sue to a perceived lack of development sites of a sufficient scale.
5.6

Previous interest in Kent has been demonstrated by Vestas which had identified a site
in Swale for a production facility, withdrawing only when it became clear the
government timetable for delivery of new arrays was uncertain.

However, if this

programme is revitalised there are likely to be new opportunities for East Kent linked to
Ramsgate.
5.7

Eco Park at Richborough: There redevelopment of the former Richborough Power


Station is planned to create a new hub for green energy production. It is proposed
that the site, which is already partly in use as an onshore sub-station for Thanet Wind
Farm, will host a number of technologies and processes such as a Biomass Combined
Heat and Power (CHP) and an Anaerobic Digester. The site is described in the East
Kent Local Investment Plan as having excellent access to the national grid, major

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

wind farm development and the strategic road network and will contribute to
employment generation as part of the Sandwich corridor.
5.8

However, the Richborough site does not have capacity to accommodate any supply
chain or other related businesses that would seek to co-locate with such a unique
facility. As such, at present, any activity that would want to use the facilities as a test
bed for new technology or indeed provide key inputs into the planned activity could
not be accommodated.

5.9

There are some opportunities locally for this activity, however as noted above they
are limited by the scale of activity the can accommodate. Also locations such as
White Cliffs do not offer the type of immediate access that could be required to
provide a high quality servicing or supply chain relationship.

5.10

Thanet Earth: Thanet Earth is the UKs largest greenhouse complex producing salad
vegetables. It is partially owned by Fresca group ltd. The site is 90 Ha in size and has
planning permission for seven greenhouses of which a number have already been
built. The site also accommodates a packing and distribution facility.

5.11

Whilst there is some expansion space within the Thanet Earth site there is limited scope
to accommodate the wider support and ancillary services that may be required in
the future.

As such there may be opportunities to locate some packing and

distribution activities at Manston given its proximity.


5.12

Thanet Earth is an innovative, technology dependent production facility.

As new

food growing techniques are developed it is likely the approach to growing at Thanet
Earth may also evolve, this may lead to further opportunities for manufacturing or
engineering activity within Thanet to develop.
5.13

Discovery Park: In 2012 the Pfizer pharmaceutical plant at Sandwich closed and the
site has been designated as the Discovery Park Enterprise Zone. Discovery Park has
since established a strong knowledge economy, science led cluster within East Kent.
However land resources are limited and the owners have a focussed and targeted
occupier approach, leading some interested businesses to be turned away when
their activity is too large or not compatible with the science focus.

5.14

At present this activity is largely lost to Thanet and East Kent as sufficiently high quality
alternatives are not readily available.

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The Discovery Park operators see the

39

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

opportunity to extend the successful approach to Manston in order to harness this


economic potential locally.
5.15

As Discovery Park continues to grow there may be longer term opportunities for a
more direct complementary relationship to evolve between it and the Application
site. Invariably new science technologies eventually require some level of production
facility (if only a later clinical trial stage) and this could be brought to other parts of
East Kent.

5.16

Greater Connections and Parkway Station to HS1: Thanet is well connected to the
core economic areas within Kent and to London. It has access to Europe through Port
of Ramsgate and proximity to Dover; it has robust road network and has highway
improvements planned. The new Parkway Station to link to HS1 provides a passenger
link to the Application site parking for commuters to Ashford and London. The link will
reduce the journey time from Thanet to central London to 45 minutes.

5.17

Overall, it is likely that faster rail links in combination with Thanets relatively low rental
property market will attract new population, including some higher skilled workers.
There may be a longer term potential for some to relocate or set up local businesses
within Thanet. This should contribute to encouraging indigenous business growth within
the district.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

6.

Future Growth Potential

6.1

As established previously the existing economic strategy for Thanet has been
predicated on an assumption that Manston would (and grow) as a functioning
airport. However, since these have been developed it has become clear that there is
limited demand for an airport in this location and its operation is deemed unviable.
As such there are considerable risks to achieving the forecast growth within Thanet
that was linked to airport related activity and an updated understanding of
economic growth potential is required to appropriately identify future land
requirements.

6.2

Based on the analysis in the preceding sections it is clear that there is the potential for
the Thanet economy to grow even without the airport.

Together the increased

importance of high value manufacturing and distribution to the UK economy, the


return to growth of the Kent economy and property market, the presence of drivers
within East Kent that can attract new business activity and the legacy of engineering
and production skills can act as anchors that attract new inward investment. Based
on these factors there is a clear opportunity for Thanet to achieve growth in a range
of higher value industrial sectors including:
Advanced manufacturing
Low carbon economy
Local or high value distribution
6.3

However, whilst the potential has been identified, its realisation relies on the provision
of appropriate sites and premises that meet the needs of opportunity sectors.

This

requires not only the appropriate quantum of space but it will also need to be
delivered in locations and at a quality that attracts occupiers.
6.4

To identify the scale of the potential for the Thanet economy and assist in developing
an understanding of the scale of floorspace that it may require we have prepared
updated economic forecasts for the plan period 2011 to 2031. Based on Experian
Business Strategies March 2016 Local Market Forecasts we consider below the trendbased level of growth and also an enhanced forecast that better reflects a more
ambitious growth trajectory.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Baseline Growth Projection


6.5

The baseline growth projection draws directly on the Experian forecast, which
indicates a potential for an additional 5,200 jobs to be created within the district by
2031, an increase of 11%. In line with broader economic trends this growth is focussed
on non-B class activities as shown below.
Figure 9 - Forecast Employment Growth

Source: Experian, GVA 2016

6.6

Within B class activities the base forecast shows an increase in office based
employment activities (22% to 2031), a small decrease in employment in industrial
activities (-1%) and a 23% increase in warehouse and storage employment.

6.7

Using employment density assumptions we can translate these job creation forecasts
into additional floorspace requirements. As a base model we use the following
employment densities (in line with the HCA Density Guide Third Edition, 2015):

6.8

B1a/b 12 square metres per employee (NIA);

B1c/B2 36 square metres per employee (GIA); and

B8 70 square metres per employee (GEA).

Based on these ratios employment growth over the plan period would result in an
estimated demand for c.120,000sqm of additional B Class floorspace, shared
between use classes as shown:

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 9- Base Employment Land Requirements

6.9

Floorspace
Demand 2011 2031

Change in
Land

m2

Ha

Office

20,562

Industrial

-1,646

Warehouse

20,100

Total

39,016

Overall, we would estimate a requirement for 7ha of employment land across the
District, the majority (5ha) being required for industrial and warehousing activity.

Enhanced Growth Projection


6.10

However, as noted above Thanet has a number of assets that can help the district
achieve a different scale and nature of economic growth in the future. Achieving this
type of growth will require a future to strategy that promotes and harnesses the
potential of these assets and the potential they provide to catalyse growth in a
number of key sectors.

In parallel with wider development and regeneration

initiatives within the District the economic growth potential of Thanet can be
significantly enhanced.
6.11

Based on our analysis of the economic opportunities for Thanet based on its own
assets and the opportunity to capture a greater share of activity within the wider East
Kent and Kent market the business as usual approach set out under the baseline
projection is not necessarily all the District should be hoping to achieve.

6.12

The analysis presented in this report suggests that there are particular opportunities to
achieve a greater level of growth within industrial activities in particular, drawing on
the existing business and skills base but also making the most of new opportunities to
accommodate larger scale development. This would suggest that the draft Local
Plan and our own baseline projection may under-estimate the scale of employment
land requirement over the Plan Period.

6.13

To understand the potential scale of additional growth that could be achieved and
the implications this may have for employment land requirements we have reviewed
the growth prospects of relevant sectors at the national scale.

This allows us to

project the potential impacts based on wider industry expectations.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Enhanced Prospects within the Advanced Manufacturing Sector


6.14

The UK has seen a significant restructuring of its manufacturing base over the last two
decades which has resulted in a shift away from the mass manufacture of consumer
products to more focussed activity on higher value-added production of advanced
products and components. Whilst the overall scale (in terms of employment) of the
UK manufacturing sector has reduced significantly its value in terms of output has
begun to grow again, reflecting the shift towards advanced manufacturing.

6.15

Research produced by RBS defines a broad range of activities within the Advanced
Manufacturing sector including pharmaceuticals, metal products, rubber and
plastics (including composites) and machinery and equipment, alongside automotive
and ICT activities. Importantly the definition of the sector incorporates a key activities
within the green economy particularly related to the production of key equipment.

6.16

RBS recognised the strength of the UK sector, being the ninth largest manufacturing
nation (by output) in the world, and predicted that the sector will be at the forefront
of economic growth over a five period from 2012. They forecast growth rates of up to
3% per annum, up to double the rate they predicted for general economic growth.
However, more recent figures have suggested that this growth has been slower than
predicted, however longer term prospects are expected to reflect these RBS
projections.

6.17

Thanet would appear well placed to benefit from the forecast growth in the UKs
advanced manufacturing sector, particularly given localised drivers within the life
science and green economy sectors. As such it is reasonable to test the potential
opportunity for the sector to grow locally in a manner that aligns to these national
expectations rather than the ongoing contraction forecast by Experians base
projection.

6.18

By comparing growth rates between the Experian forecast and those anticipated by
RBS we would anticipate that the Experian forecast may under-estimate the growth
potential of three manufacturing sectors, Non-Metallic Products, Metal Products
and Other Manufacturing sectors. To test the implications of Thanet growing in line
with national forecasts in these sectors we have applied the RBS rates to the 2011
base for the first 5 years of the forecast. No consistent forecasts have been produced

May 2016 gva.co.uk

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

for the remainder of the plan period; therefore we have reduced the growth rate by
0.5% for each subsequent 5 year period to reflect a more matured market.
Ancillary Growth in Warehousing and Distribution
6.19

It is clear that Thanet is not a location that is attractive to major retail supply chain
orientated distribution activities given the distance from the District to the UKs major
ports, markets and centres of population. As such it is unlikely that there would be
major distribution led growth in the form of large scale, high bay national or regional
distribution centres (as has been seen in North Kent).

6.20

However, a growing population and expanded manufacturing base may drive


demand for more modest scale logistics activity that is focussed on supply
components to, and distributing products from, local manufacturing/production
businesses and also for space that is used to service the local population (i.e. local
fulfilment centres).

6.21

Whilst much of the demand for space as a result of population growth is likely to be
captured within the Experian forecast it is unlikely that the induced demand from a
greater rate of growth within the manufacturing sector is addressed appropriately.

6.22

To estimate this knock-on or induced demand we have utilised the ready


reckoner additionality multipliers identified within the HCA Additionality Guide (2014),
estimating that each additional job created within the enhanced manufacturing
sector forecast explained above will generate additional employment in the wider
economy in line with a multiplier of 1.3.
Enhanced Growth Projection Results

6.23

Based on the above factors we have prepared a further employment growth


projection for the District that identifies the potential scale of growth if prospects for
both the advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors are enhanced. This forecast
would see an additional c.2,000 jobs delivered within the District, largely requiring
additional industrial sites and premises.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Table 10- Enhanced Employment Land Requirements

6.24

Floorspace
Demand 2011 2031

Change in
Land

m2

Ha

Office

21,216

Industrial

50,193

13

Warehouse

25,279

Total

96,688

21

As shown in Table 10 the enhanced growth scenario would result in a demand led
requirement of c. 21ha of additional employment land within the District over the Plan
Period. This is circa 40% higher than the quantum of land identified as required within
the draft Local Plan

6.25

To accommodate growth within the advanced manufacturing and other sectors


Thanet will need to ensure an appropriate supply of land that can meet the
significant requirements of major occupiers. Site requirements will extend beyond the
ability to deliver a building to also incorporate sufficient external yard and parking
space.

6.26

A single medium sized manufacturing business is likely to require a site of c. 5ha that
can provide a secure environment to deliver in the region of 15,000sqm of floorspace
and associated yard capacity. This will also require good access to the trunk road
network via unrestricted roads and, where possible, space for HGV parking whilst
waiting for loads.
Other Considerations Supply Side

6.27

Thanet has traditionally lacked large available sites for the development of larger
scale industrial and warehousing activity, as such in the past it is likely to have lost
out to other parts of Kent in terms of occupier demand. Whilst it has offered good
(and greatly enhanced) connectivity to the major Kent ports (for example Ramsgate
and Dover) and the Channel Tunnel supply has not been in place to accommodate
any particular opportunities that may have arisen.

6.28

Even where new opportunities to accommodate new growth have been identified
(such as Manston Business Park) the approach to their development and delivery has
not been conducive to attracting new inward investment. Importantly the scale and

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

nature of the sites have not been of sufficient size or quality to shift market
perceptions or create/attract a new critical mass of activity.
6.29

Other locations in Kent have demonstrated the benefits of a strong supply side offer in
harnessing additional employment growth above and beyond that which could have
been forecast. Locally Discovery Park is succeeding in attracting occupiers on the
basis of the strength of the offer it makes to the market. Similarly locations such as
Kings Hill, Kent Science Park, G Park Sittingbourne and Crossways Business Park have
all made a distinct offer to the market that has enabled them to differentiate
themselves from the wider offer in the County and attract occupiers based on the
quality, scale and type of space they provide.

6.30

A high quality, integrated approach to the development of the Application site could
have a similar impact within the market. Since the announcement of the Application
sites new ownership interest has already been stimulated from occupiers who
previously had not been able to find suitable space locally. For example Serco have
already expressed an interest in the Application site as a base for their operations
across East Kent5 as a result of redevelopment pressure on their current site in
Canterbury (amongst other options they are exploring).

6.31

Whilst the revised demand forecast identifies a potential requirement for 21ha of land
there is the potential for future growth to be extended beyond this level as a result of
the quality of supply.

There is, therefore, an opportunity to allow additional

employment land to be allocated within the Application site is order to provide


flexibility and capacity to attract new forms of economic activity.

7.

The Application site Opportunity


Key Findings

The Application site has a number of competitive advantages over other strategic
employment sites in Kent.

Implications

Employment development at Manston can build on existing infrastructure and


investment to provide a new offer within the local market

http://www.thanetgazette.co.uk/Serco-talks-Manston-airport/story-24547625-detail/story.html

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

7.1

As highlighted within the previous sections there are strong prospects for growth in a
range of industrial and distribution sectors which, in Thanet, would require the
allocation of new land to meet this strategic opportunity. Whilst there are a number
of strategic sites across the County that are seeking to meet market demand, there
is very little capacity within East Kent, suggesting the area could miss out on future
growth opportunities.

7.2

The Application site provides a unique opportunity to deliver truly additional capacity
within East Kent that can provide a key attractor for new economic activity. It has the
potential to provide an offer that competes with the large opportunities within the
Thames Gateway and Ashford areas specifically.

7.3

Based on our understanding of the portfolio of sites across Kent and the specific
Manston offer, its key strengths are:

7.4

Connectivity: It offers excellent road links to and from the M2 and M20, providing
connections to the Channel ports, other Kent markets and the wider South East and
London. It also has good rail connections via HS1 at Ramsgate and Sandwich with a
journey time of 76 minutes to London. These connections could be further enhanced
if the Thanet Parkway Station is delivered on HS1 at the south eastern corner of the
Application site.

7.5

Maximising existing infrastructure: significant investment has been made (and is still
planned) for the Application site making it well serviced in comparison to a number of
other strategic sites within Kent. Whilst some local interventions will be required the
successful delivery of a new economic hub at Manston will not require major
investment in new access infrastructure, enabling delivery in a shorter timeframe than
some competitors.

7.6

Proximity to other key locations: The Application site lies at the heart of the East Kent
sub-region and within the more local Sandwich Corridor of economic activity
identified within the 2010 Thanet Employment Land Study.

The location means

Manston is well connected to major business drivers such as Ramsgate Port, Thanet
Earth, Discovery Park and Dover Port, and the education hub in Canterbury. This
means the Application site is ideally located to accommodate complementary and
supply chain activity linked to these existing successful locations.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

7.7

Scale of the offer: The total area of Manston site is c.320 ha, which if it comes forward
for development will provide an opportunity to deliver a critical mass of employment
that previously has not been possible within East Kent. This means it would be able to
accommodate a mix of activities and property that can create an entirely new
economic location in the area.

When sat alongside wider amenity, leisure and

recreational spaces it could provide a new generation of business park that


addresses the weakness of the local supply.
7.8

Single ownership and masterplanning approach: The single ownership of the


Application site also plays to its strength for coherent masterplanning and for
undertaking a co-ordinated approach to the development of business space.

7.9

Competitive rental potential: The East Kent market offers significantly lower rents than
other parts of the Greater South East and therefore presents an opportunity for
Manston to be competitive with other locations.

However, low values can also

prevent investment and development by restricting returns. The mixed use approach
to the Application site would allow a high quality environment to be created that,
over time, supports a rise in rental values to make development more viable whilst still
protecting its price competitiveness.
7.10

Growing interest from the private sector: Since the new ownership of the Application
site has been made public there has been growing interest from the private sector in
the opportunity it presents within the local market.

The owners have been

approached by a number of potential occupiers who see the Application site as key
to enabling them to locate within East Kent where the current portfolio of sites has not
presented an attractive opportunity.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

7.11

Importantly, the opportunity presented at Manston could introduce a completely new


type of economic driver into the Thanet economy, acting as a catalyst for wider
economic growth. Given the scale and nature of the opportunity it is likely to present
minimal competition with existing employment sites and allocations working as part of
wider portfolio of sites delivering space that meets differing needs.

7.12

Given the proximity of other sites such as Manston Business Park there is the
opportunity to develop a truly mixed and complementary role that creates a critical
mass of activity to attract major new employers and also generate wider supply chain
benefits.

This will require a range of sites and premises types, including smaller

industrial and warehouse facilities, which will not be the focus of the Application site
itself but could reinvigorate and underpin demand at Manston Business Park.
7.13

If properly planned and integrated, the supply led opportunities the Application site
can create will be a significant boost to the local market as a whole by encouraging
a

new

May 2016 gva.co.uk

generation

of

businesses

and

start-ups

to

location

in

Thanet.

50

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

8.

Examples of Supply Led Growth


Key Findings

There a number of examples of high quality development on former airfield and


airport sites in locations similar to Manston.

These have often occupied peripheral economic locations yet have established an
offer that has attracted commercial occupiers.

Successful redevelopment has required the establishment of a high quality, mixed use
offer that responds to local economic drivers and opportunities and provides a range
of amenities that support the economic offer.

This redevelopment has secured significant economic benefits that tend to outweigh
the impacts of lost aviation activity.

Implications

8.1

Manston offers similar characteristics to many other former aviation sites in terms of its
locations, accessibility and infrastructure.

Establishing a high quality, mixed use location can attract activity that would
otherwise not come to Thanet.

The mix of activity is vital to attract businesses, providing supporting amenities and
activities that benefit employees.

The Application site presents a significant opportunity to enhance Thanets economic


growth prospects by delivering a high quality, mixed use location that utilises the
existing access infrastructure to create a new form of economic location within East
Kent. By employing an innovative and flexible approach to development there is the
opportunity to create a unique asset within the East Kent and wider County economy
that can provide a base for new inward investment and a location for activity to
locate that complements and enhances the existing local drivers.

8.2

This approach will deliver a supply led catalyst for growth, gearing the offer
specifically to occupiers that currently are not within Thanet or have not been able to
find suitable premises in the area. This in turn can create additional demand through
an expanded cluster of activity for complementary and supply chain businesses of all
sizes.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

8.3

Whilst this approach is unique within Thanet there is a long track record within the UK
of re-imagining former major industrial or aviation sites to create distinct economic
assets that deliver much wider economic benefits.

The approach taken at the

Application site can draw from these places; they can also provide reassurance that
the ambitious vision for the Application site is achievable.
8.4

The following are a selection of former airports/airfields across the UK that have been
(or are in the process of being) redeveloped to accommodate a range of new
activity. The examples provide key parallels to the Application site in terms of the their
mix of uses, their focus on providing new employment opportunities, their relationship
to key markets and the scale of opportunity they present.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Thurleigh Airfield Business Park, Bedford Autodrome


Location

Bedford

Key Activity

Automotive, communications, and knowledge based business park

Site

485ha

Space Type

B1, B2 and B8 business space.

Estimated
Potential

Accessibility

Description

Owner and
occupiers

71,200 m2 of floorspace
1,800 additional jobs
The site offers range of units from 230 sqm to 1026 sqm based on the
occupiers demand.
Thurleigh Airfield Business Park is close to the A6 trunk road 6 miles north of
Bedford and a similar distance to the south of Rushden. The A6 provides
good access notably to the A45 and A14 corridors to the north. The closes M
road is M1 connecting to London on the South and Birmingham, Coventry
and Leicester on the North.

The 485ha former MOD site has Thurleigh Business Park on the southern
part of the site. The business park has more than 50,000 sqm of new
space comprising research facilities, vehicle logistics, and a satellite
communication station.

The northern end of the site was the former Royal Aerospace
establishment. It currently houses Bedford autodrome, which is the UKs
first new corporate motor sport centre for 20 years. Within this complex
also exists Thurleigh Museum, one of the few remaining buildings on the
original airfield.

At present the automotive nature of the site use is dominant but the
business park also hosts a Technology Park and media related use
(Millennium Studios).

It is currently owned and managed by St, Modwen.

Occupiers cover a range of buildings and include BAE Systems, Qinetic,


Paragon Automotive, Arqiva, MBDA and Palmer Promosport.

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53

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Hatfield Business Park, Hatfield


Location
Welwyn Hatfield
Site
Accessibility
Key Offer

Estimated
Potential

Accessibility
Description

Occupiers

May 2016 gva.co.uk

250 acres
Rail access provides access to Kings Cross in 26 minutes, it also has direct
access to A1(M)
Hatfield Business Park is a modern business park developed by Goodman over
the last 20 years following the closure of the British Aerospace plant at Hatfield
Aerodrome.
It provides a mix of employment floorspace (principally HQ Office, R&D and
distribution uses) in a high quality, landscaped environment over 400 hectares
and provides 3.5 million sq.ft of business space providing 10,000 jobs.
It also accommodates significant new housing development and a higher
education facility.
New or planned key uses/buildings:

The business park has significant vacant land available for design and
build opportunities up to 20,000sqm across the range of B class uses.

Hatfield Business Park forms a key element of the regeneration of the


former aerodrome. Its occupier base is heavily influenced by the
proximity to the A1 (M) and therefore accommodates a number of B8
warehouse and distribution occupiers. The attractiveness of the office
accommodation is likely to have been supported by the wider amenity
provision provided by the Galleria and in support of the University and
significant residential community. This has given businesses a much wider
range of facilities than an office campus alone would support.
The Business Park is just two minutes from the A120 trunk road. The site is
accessible from the A1(M) Junctions 3 and 4 (via the A1011 Comet Way).

Strong example where a considerable investment has been made to


establish a high quality environment since BAEs decision to close the
Aerodrome in the 1990s resulted in a loss of 8,000 jobs. Working alongside
the local authority Goodman has worked to regenerate the site to create
one of the largest mixed use parks of its type in the UK.

Its success can in part be attributed to the ability to develop to at a large


scale as well as its success in attracting a very diverse range of tenants.
There are a vast array of employers on site covering a range of activities
including distribution, tech and IT. The University of Hertfordshire also
provides benefits facilitating cross overs and touch points with other
companies. There is extensive amenity provision including sports, leisure
and retail facilities and a host of events and activities help to create a
sense of community.

Hatfield Business Park forms part of the wider redevelopment of the former
Hatfield Aerodrome, it provides circa 350,000sqm of business space
ranging from distribution space through to high tech R&D provision. The
total redevelopment is one of the largest of its type in Europe and
accommodates 2,000 homes, the Galleria out of town retail and leisure
development, health and fitness centre, hotels, the University of
Hertfordshire campus and a new Police headquarters.

Key occupiers are T Mobile (HQ function), Veolia Water (offices), Eisai
(pharma), Computacenter; Ocado, DHL, Booker and Royal Mail
(distribution). Larger occupiers predominate, although there are number
of smaller business units located within the job centre.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Kings Hill, West Malling


Location
Tonbridge and Malling
Key Features
and Offer

Site
Accessibility

Kings Hill Business Park has been developed as part of a mixed use
development of the former West Malling Airfield. The business park is being
delivered as part of a wider, substantial mixed use development; and the
site therefore includes a district centre and a range of amenities; together
with residential development.

To date 75,000sqm of offices have been developed, housing 100


companies; with consent existing for a further 100,000sqm of office
floorspace.

Home to major international, national and regional players in the financial


services, life sciences, professional services sectors
325ha
2 miles to M20, 55 miles to Central London

Description

Occupiers

May 2016 gva.co.uk

Kings Hill in West Malling, Kent is marketed as a sustainable business and


residential community. Liberty Property Trust UK has created mixed-use
park on this 800 acre site which houses international and local businesses
which provide employment for its residential community. A village offers
retail, schools, sports and leisure facilities and, as well as on-site walking
and cycling, there are also good public transport links to London and
beyond. To date, employment space for 5,000 people and homes for
7,700 people have been developed and 15% of households have one
person employed by a Kings Hill business.

Located in West Kent Kings Hill is a major mixed use business park
located on a former airfield. It accommodated almost 80,000sqm of
business space, predominantly for office space with a further
100,000sqm of floor space permitted.

Major residential led development provides 2,500 homes, a local retail


centre, supermarket and other leisure facilities.
Key occupiers include companies like Kimberly Clark; Barclays Bank; Marsh;
Cabot Financial; and Genzyme Diagnostics.

55

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Earls Colne Business Park, Essex


Location
Colchester, Essex
Key Features
and Offer

Site
Space Type
Accessibility
Description

Occupiers

May 2016 gva.co.uk

Home to major international, national and regional players in the automotive,


communications, construction and food and drink sectors.

Industrial and office properties: Industrial and office premises from 250 to
5,000 square metres.

Business Centre offering smaller businesses flexible accommodation from


200 to 500 square metres

The hosts a range of sectors such as Advanced Manufacturing, Transport,


Creative and Food
100ha
Offices (B1a), Residential (C3)on-site airfield, Golf course, gymnasium
The Business Park is just two minutes from the A120 trunk road

Earls Colne Business Park is situated on the site of the former U.S.A.A.F WW II
airbase, next to the Marks Hall Country Park and arboretum.

It provides employment for over 1400 people in buildings set in a park


setting

The Business Park also has an onsite airfield with customs clearance

Onsite facilities include Golf course (Essex golf and country club), Anglian
flight centre, Marks Hall Estate, Dentist and clinics.

The estate is a popular location for regional offices.

Major occupiers represented include Baxters Foods, Trane UK, Gigawave


and Milbank Floors, SVP - Ford, Gigawave, Flight Timber

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Heyford Park, Oxfordshire


Location
Located close to Bicester within Cherwell District Council.
Site Area
Accessibility
Background
and Key Offer

Space Type
Occupiers

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500 Ha
The park is accessible from M40 via. B430; it is 4.5 miles north west of Bicester
and about 2 miles from Lower Heyford station

A former Air Force base which has been decommissioned since 1994.

The Park has been developed with Dorchester Group, Frogmore and
includes offerings of commercial floorspace, new village with circa 1000
new residential unit, school, a cricket pitch and other community
facilities. The site covers 500 ha of land and has circa. 120,700 sq m of
residential and commercial accommodation.

The site contains some building of historical importance that bears


ancient monument status.

There are over 1000 people employed in the park within at least 100
businesses spread.

The park hosts Cherwell Innovation Centre, hosting over 40 companies


offering 1,800 sq m of office space with offices ranging from 10 sq m to 65
sq m. It has facilities like micro labs and specialised equipment.
Office and R&D (B1a, B1c), Workshop and light industrial, Residential (C3)

There are at least 100 businesses located on the site which includes
companies like Integration Technology ltd. (manufacturing light sources),
Paragon Fleet Solutions (Fleet vehicle processing and management
company), and shop fitting contracts.

The Innovation Centre has over 40 SME companies on its premises and it
offers office and lab facilities to support them.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Alconbury Enterprise Zone


Location
Huntingdonshire District Council
Site

1400 acres

Key Features
and Offer

Accessibility
Occupiers

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The Enterprise Zone is developed as a part of the former RAF Alconbury


airbase and is being delivered as a new location for manufacturing,
engineering and housing growth.

The Employment Zone provides 150 Ha in size of employment land

Plans for the site also include provision of 5000 homes; 700 acres of green
open space; and investment in a range of transport, energy and
community facilities.

It is anticipated that the site will deliver 8,000 jobs

The EZ campus has a strong focus of Life Sciences related companies


along with institutional presence through affiliations with University of
Cambridge and Huntingdonshire regional college.

The first stage of development has established a new innovation centre,


which is helping to establish the site as a new economic hub

East Coast Mainline, A1(M) and A14. Huntingdon rail station is 3.6miles
south of the campus.
There are ranges of businesses on site including:

Envall- Waste Recycling

Mole Solutions underground pipeline freight transport

Quest Cloud computing solutions

Audio Analytic sound recognition systems

Aquavent Water efficiency solutions

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Wynyard Park
Location
Site Area
Accessibility
Key Offer

Development
Potential

Space Type
Occupiers

8.5

North East of England within Stockton-On-Tees District Council


280 ha
The site is close to A1 (M) via. A689. 11 minutes drive from Middlesbrough, 24
minutes drive frim Darlington and 30 minutes drive from Sunderland.
The site includes 280 ha of mixed use development with planning permission.
It is estimated to have already generated over 250m of private investment.
Key offers within the site include:

Pegasus House: A 11,600 sq m of warehouse facility currently occupied by


Glamal Engineering (LFF Group).

Data Centre: A 30,000 sq m Data Centre facility operated by EDS (part of


Hewlett Packard).

Wellington House: A 16,000 sq m multi tenanted warehouse and office


facility currently occupied by Amkotron, SK Foods and Westminster
Business Centre

Wynyard Park Business Village: A range of new, high-quality, selfcontained offices ranging from 140 to 2,000 sq m.

Lion Court: A new corporate multi-tenanted office building with available


floor plates of 1,400 sq m.

Wynyard Park House: offering includes serviced reception, conference


and exhibition facilities with caf and bar.

Evolution: Evolution space offers a flexilet scheme, which has easy-in,


easy-out terms for a fixed monthly fee. It includes rent, rates, service
charges and furniture. Facilities include free car parking and kitchen
amenities.
Wynyard Park has range of available development opportunities which
includes:

Development Sites: The Park contains plots available for office/leisure


development, of circa 2.4 ha and office or industrial developments,
ranging from 0.4 to 16 ha.

Proposed Office/Medial Cluster- Proposed site for offices and medical


associated uses supporting the hospital development.

Available residential development opportunities.


B-class commercial floorspace (B1, B2 and B8), C3 and Leisure facilities
Wynyard Park is currently home to around 60 companies, from PLCs to SMEs,
employing more than 1,000 members of staff between them. Names include
companies like Amec, Bimcreative and enterprises, Hartlepool College, SK
Food, Westminster Business Centre and NHS.

Whilst at different stages of delivery each of the former airfield developments


demonstrate the economic benefits that can be realised through a comprehensive,
high quality approach to their reuse. What is clear through each is that the offer
made seeks to work with the assets the site benefits from, or connects to, and provide
an environment that attracts business activity.

8.6

Fundamental to each development has been the quality of the environment that has
been created which has enabled each to stand out from other locations and
attract a scale and nature of activity that is different to its surroundings.

The

development of Kings Hill, Hatfield and Alconbury all recognise that the environment

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59

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

within which employment and business park based businesses chose to operate has
changed dramatically over the past decade. Out of town demand is increasingly
driven by the desire for occupiers to co-locate with other similar firms and to benefit
from a range of uses that create a more vibrant working environment.
8.7

These successful locations offer more than purely good quality floorspace (although
this remains a pre-requisite), seeking to accommodate a wider range of supporting
amenities that offer more to employees than just a place of work. Increasingly this is
seen as a vital element in personnel recruitment and retention by businesses and is
often referred to place-making countering the often sterile character of early UK
business parks.

8.8

The implications of these changing market dynamics are also evident in a number of
the UKs pre-eminent businesses parks, which are now seeking to deliver a truly
integrated mixed use proposition. This capitalises on the traditional demand drivers
of existing infrastructure and labour resources, but seeks to bring forward B class
employment

space

alongside

institutional,

innovation,

residential

and

retail

opportunities.
8.9

Further to the quality of place established the other major factor in all of the airfield
redevelopment considered is the scale at which they operate. In most cases these
sites have been significantly larger than any other employment site available within
the area they are located. As such, they have provided a new element to the supply
portfolio and enabled the growth of major new economic hub from scratch.

8.10

It is this scale that allows complementary mixes of activity to locate in one space and
drive new forms of activity, rather than dispersing across a wider range of sites and
losing any agglomeration benefits.

8.11

The scale and ambition of the Application site owners can place the Application site
on an equal footing to other redeveloped airfields within the Greater South East.
Whilst the mix of activities will differ given the different economic context and drivers,
the ability to deliver scale and quality will enable the Application site establish itself a
similarly strategic scale.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

9.

Conclusion

9.1

The Application site is strategically well located within the East Kent market, lying at
the centre of the sub-regions core economic drivers of Canterbury, the Ports of Dover
and Ramsgate, the growing life sciences cluster at Discovery Park and other one off
assets such as Thanet Earth and Richborough Energy Park.

9.2

Each of these locations is attracting a new form of economic activity or sector to East
Kent. Ramsgate acts as a hub for offshore renewables, providing a base for servicing
of the Thanet Offshore Windfarm and the London Array.

The evolving offer at

Richborough Energy Park will provide a hub for renewable energy generation,
including Biomass, whilst Thanet Earth is the UKs largest glasshouse based commercial
growing facility. Alongside Discovery Park these developments are delivering new
employment opportunities both directly and indirectly through supply chain partners
and wider agglomeration influences.
9.3

Whilst these locations are establishing themselves as the bedrock of the East Kent
economy they cannot accommodate all the demand that their success is attracting.
Whilst each location is relatively large in its own right there is a lack of capacity to
accommodate related, ancillary or footloose demand from a range of sectors that
either link directly to the specialised offer or see East Kent as a strong location from
which to operate as the economy and connections improve.

9.4

For example, recent enquiries at Discovery Park have included a number of mid-sized
distribution uses, which are clearly not of the appropriate character for the
Application site, but could be valuable employers in East Kent more widely. However,
whilst these businesses are attracted to East Kent, at present there is a lack of suitable
good quality alternatives to accommodate them.

9.5

The Application site is therefore pivotal in enabling Thanet to achieve more significant
levels of economic growth and success than the draft Local Plan or more recent
economic forecasts identify. As shown below by setting the different forecasts to the
common BRES base, the delivery of the Application site can significantly enhance
employment growth.

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61

Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

Figure 10 - Forecast Employment Growth

BRES

Forecast

Source: BGVA Analysis of BRES, Experian and Oxford Economics, 2016

9.6

By providing the type and scale of space that will attract new businesses to Thanet it
can create an additional 2,000 jobs over and above those already being planned for.
This growth would be focussed on capturing the unmet demand for space that
existing sites do not have the quality or scale to accommodate, addressing the key
challenge identified by the Kent Property Market Report of a lack of large industrial
spaces despite a significant number of requirements.

9.7

With continuing strengths within the manufacturing sector, and a range of new drivers
in place to further enhance the sectors prospects, Thanet is well placed to be a
location of choice for future growth in this (and related) sector providing it gets the
offer right. This in turn can have positive benefits for other employment locations in
Thanet as smaller local or supply chain businesses are attracted to them as part of the
larger economic hub.

9.8

The mix of a high quality location supported by on site amenities, with good quality
access infrastructure and direct links to key economic drivers suggest that the
Application site can provide a major boost to the local economy.

Our analysis

suggests that current growth forecasts based on a functioning Manston Airport


scenario may underestimate local potential both in terms of demand from
employment growth and also supply-led opportunities.

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Planning Statement Addendum: Economic Need

9.9

Therefore, in considering future opportunities, the new future of the Application site as
a mixed use, employment generating location should be considered positively,
diversifying and expanding the portfolio locally to enable Thanet to compete at a
strategic level for new occupiers, and delivering 2,000 new jobs that are unlikely to be
attracted to the district without the Application sites offer.

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63