Aylesbury Vale Area

VALP Proposed Submission

Ended on the 14 December 2017
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(12) 6 Economy


(2) 6.1 The vision for the Plan in relation to employment is to ensure the availability of a diverse and flexible range of employment opportunities for new and existing businesses, which match the expectations for employment growth in the district.  To support this, there is a need to maintain a flexible supply of employment land and premises.  This includes making the best use of existing employment land and premises by retaining the most suitable sites and encouraging their refurbishment and renovation where necessary. For the avoidance of doubt, this section relates to land uses that fall within the B classes of the Use Classes Order: B1a/b (offices), B1c/B2 (general industrial) and B8 (storage/distribution).  Such employment sites are land or premises that are currently in a relevant employment use, or, if currently vacant, were previously in a relevant employment use or are allocated in this Plan for employment purposes. Other uses do generate employment, such as retail, education, tourism and sui generis types of development. These may have different impacts and needs to the above employment uses and, as such, are generally covered by separate policies in the Plan.

(1) 6.2 Economic development can have a significant impact on the quality and character of an area, particularly in rural or residential locations. Development should not, either on its own or cumulatively, (in combination with other established or proposed developments in the vicinity), significantly adversely affect the area's landscape, heritage and built environment, or the amenities of residents. The potential increase in vehicle movements generated by employment development and the impact on the highway network must also be acceptable.

6.3 Existing employment sites and premises often provide valuable opportunities for jobs close to where people live, and benefit the local and wider economy. However there is increasing pressure for change of use from employment to non-employment uses, such as housing, due to the short-term economic benefits such changes of use can bring. The resultant loss of employment use can impact negatively on local access to employment and the economic competitiveness of the district which could ultimately undermine economic growth.

6.4 The Council is therefore committed to ensuring we do everything we can to support sustainable economic growth. Where there are recognised viability issues preventing the delivery of sites, the Council will work with developers to understand and seek to address potential barriers.

Protection of key employment sites

(1) 6.5 Key employment sites are the larger employment sites in the district that contribute significantly to the employment land supply for B class uses. Their loss to non-employment uses would have significant impacts on the ability of the district to achieve the expected level of employment growth. These sites are therefore safeguarded for B class uses and other employment uses which would achieve economic enhancement without detrimental impact to the site or wider area.

(1) 6.6 The Aylesbury Vale Employment Land Review Update (2012) identified 16 key employment sites in the district. This included both B1/B2/B8 sites and other employment sites. The Council has reviewed the key employment sites to account for changes in circumstances since 2012, and concluded that the following key employment sites need to be protected for B1/B2/B8 developments. In November 2015, three key employment sites achieved enterprise zone (EZ) status: Silverstone, Westcott Venture Park and Arla/Woodlands. These sites constitute the Aylesbury Vale Enterprise Zone, with the aim of supporting and encouraging economic growth across Buckinghamshire.

(4) Table 9 Key employment sites


1 Haddenham Business Park

2 Triangle Business Park, Stoke Mandeville

3 Westcott Venture Park EZ

4 Long Crendon Business Park

5 Gatehouse Industrial Area, Aylesbury

6 Rabans Lane/Coldharbour  Industrial Area, Aylesbury

7 Pitstone Green Business Park

8 Halton Brook Business Park, Aston Clinton

9 Network 421, Gawcott near Buckingham

10 Buckingham Industrial Park, Buckingham

11 Silverstone Park  EZ

12 Arla/Woodlands EZ

(10) E1 Protection of key employment sites

Key employment sites will be protected through the following criteria:

  1. Within key employment sites (listed above and identified on the Policies Map) applications for B1 (light industrial), B2 (general industrial), B8 (storage and distribution) will be permitted. Other similar uses will be permitted subject to proposals not having a significant adverse impact on surrounding land uses.
  2. The use of key employment sites for employment purposes other than B1, B2 and B8 may be appropriate, if it can be proven that the use provides on-site support facilities, or demonstrates similar economic enhancement to B1/B2/B8 uses. Such development will not prejudice the efficient and effective use of the remainder of the employment area.
  3. Main town centre uses will not be supported, except as an ancillary facility to service a key employment site. Exceptionally, uses which have trade links with employment uses or are un-neighbourly in character, (such as car showrooms, tyre and exhaust centres, or trade counters), may be permitted on employment sites which have good access to a range of transport options.
  4. Other uses that do not provide direct, on-going local employment opportunities will not be permitted.

Other employment sites

6.7 Other employment sites, such as Aylesbury town centre and Stoke Mandeville Hospital are also valued for the job opportunities that they provide. A more flexible approach will be taken for these to facilitate a broad range of economic development, which is vital for the future sustainability and development of the area's economy. The policy set out below also recognises that some existing employment sites may be causing significant environmental or amenity problems that cannot be overcome. In some circumstances, there may not be a need for that site to remain in employment use, if there are sufficient alternatives available in the local area. In some cases, the size, location and characteristics of a site may mean that more intensive, mixed use development could provide greater benefit to the community in terms of addressing local needs, rather than if the site was retained solely in employment use.

6.8 Where there is no reasonable prospect of an employment site being used for employment purposes, alternative uses may be considered. Where an application is made for an alternative use other than employment, the following information will be sought:

  • a description of any problems caused by the employment use, together with any evidence, the measures considered to try and mitigate these issues, and an explanation of why these problems could not be overcome
  • any other reasons why the site is thought unsuitable for employment uses
  • details of how the property has been marketed, including for sale or rent, over what period and for what price (and how the asking price was calculated), what use(s) it was marketed for, where it was advertised, and whether there have been any offers received, and
  • what other suitable, viable, alternative sites are available locally for employment uses, (this should include an assessment of existing sites and premises, in addition to land allocated by the Local Plan and where appropriate neighbourhood plans).

6.9 Proposals will have to provide evidence that employment use (B1, B2 and B8) of the site is no longer viable through relevant marketing information, and feasibility or viability studies. The following information will be required:

  • copy of sales particulars including any subsequent amendments made
  • details of the original price paid, date of purchase and the new guide price
  • schedule of advertisements carried out, with copies of the advertisements and details of where and when the advertisements were placed, along with an estimate of the expenditure incurred from advertising
  • the confirmed number of sales particulars distributed, along with a breakdown of where the enquiries resulted from, for example from the For Sale/To Let board, advertisements and websites
  • websites used to promote the property/site together with details of links to other relevant sites, number of hits and if the Council's Sites and Premises service has been used and on what date it was registered
  • details of the number of viewings including who and when;
  • resulting offers and comments on the offers
  • details of the period when a "For Sale/To Let" board was displayed, or, if not, the reasons behind the decision
  • timetable of events from the initial appointment of the agents to current date
  • details of agency/joint agency appointed including contact details
  • date property/site brought to the market, and
  • copies of accounts for the last five years.

6.10 The above information needs to show that the property/site has been actively marketed for a period of at least two years at a value that reflects its existing use. Where there is evidence that a business has been allowed to run down, an independent viability assessment may be required. Where a mixed use scheme is proposed, the Council would wish to be satisfied that the amount of non-business, general industrial and storage/distribution use (B1, B2, B8) is the minimum required to make the scheme viable.

(8) E2 Other employment sites

Outside key employment sites, the redevelopment and/or reuse of employment sites to an alternative employment use will normally be permitted provided all of the following criteria apply:

  1. Where it will not prejudice the efficient and effective use of the remainder of the employment area
  2. The site has been marketed as an employment site for an employment use suitable to the site and location at a suitable price, by appropriate means for at least two years with no viable interest, and
  3. There is a substantial over-supply of suitable alternative employment sites in the local area.

Provision of ancillary facilities for employees in business, industrial and warehousing developments

6.11 Employees often require good access to a range of facilities, including food and drink, open space, leisure, recreation and child care. The absence of such facilities in an employment area can increase travel demand and make areas less attractive to employers and staff. However, it is important that ancillary uses support employment uses on the site and do not undermine the availability or suitability of land for other business or compete with town or village centre locations.

6.12 In existing employment areas, change of use of existing premises will be considered for complementary facilities provided these are suitably located and would not compromise surrounding employment uses.  Where new employment areas are proposed, the need for such facilities should be considered as part of the overall development scheme.

6.13 In all cases, only facilities of an appropriate nature and scale to meet the needs of employees will be permitted. Appropriate leisure facilities may include fitness centres/clubs and indoor sports facilities, which cannot be accommodated within the town centre or on an edge-of-centre site.

(1) E3 Ancillary uses on employment land

Proposals for uses other than B1, B2 and B8 business uses on employment land will be permitted if the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. the proposal is primarily designed to provide for users of the employment site
  2. the use is ancillary to the main business or employment function of the wider site, and
  3. the use, either alone or combined with other existing or proposed uses, would not adversely affect the vitality and viability of any town centre or shopping centre (including local centres) or the social and community vitality of a nearby village.

In connection with any planning permission, conditions may be imposed to limit the scale of the operation and to restrict the range of activities proposed or goods sold, where necessary, to ensure that the above criteria are met.

Working at home

6.14 Using your home as a place of work has a number of sustainability benefits including a reduction in journeys to work. Improvements in technology also mean that an office can be accommodated easily into a home.  Making your home your place of work does not generally need planning permission if it remains ancillary to the residential use of the property. Even if it does not, it may be acceptable if there are no serious impacts on residential amenity or the character of the surrounding area arising from the change of use from home to business.

(1) E4 Working at home

Partial use of a residential property for business use will be permitted where there are no unacceptable impacts on residential amenity and it would not have an adverse effect on the character of an area, whilst making appropriate provision for access, parking and noise attenuation arising from the business activity.

Development outside town centres

Edge and out-of-town centre sites

(1) 6.15 The Council's preference is for retail development to take place within a town centre. Larger scale retail development may be accommodated at an edge or out-of-centre location, provided it does not harm the vitality or viability of the town centre. All potential out-of-town retail development will be required to consider the sequential test set out in national policy (NPPF paragraphs 24-27).

6.16 Where the type of goods sold and the particular retail format cannot reasonably be accommodated within an existing town centre, the first choice for alternative development sites should be edge-of-centre i.e. sites which directly adjoin, or can be reasonably related to, the existing town centre.

6.17 If such sites cannot meet the demand for additional floor space, then out-of-centre development can be considered for retailing such as superstores. This type of development may be acceptable on a peripheral site away from the town centre, providing it does not adversely affect the vitality and viability of the existing town centre, taking into account the cumulative effects of existing and proposed development.

6.18 The Council has commissioned retail evidence to determine an appropriate local threshold based on an analysis of past retail planning applications. This work also draws on evidence regarding existing floorspace characteristics, retail trends and the health of existing centres (Aylesbury Vale Retail Impact Thresholds report, GL Hearn, June 2017). The report notes that recent trends in the convenience market have been towards smaller 'discounter' supermarkets. These include local convenience stores and medium supermarkets operated principally by the discounters and higher end operators.  In terms of recent comparison trends these have seen the rationalisation of larger bulky goods warehousing, with some comparison stores moving out of centres to occupy this floorspace. At the same time national retailers are typically consolidating their portfolios but into larger shop units in higher order centres. From the evidence available, it is clear that within Aylesbury Vale schemes of less than 2,500 sqm, the NPPF default threshold for assessing impact, have the potential to cause harm either individually or cumulatively, by diverting trade away from the town centre.

6.19 Aylesbury Vale Retail Impact Thresholds report recommends that the Plan sets a local floor space threshold of 400 sqm (gross) above which an impact assessment will be required to accompany retail proposals outside town centres. For other main town centre uses[30] the national threashold will apply.  The impact assessment should comply with NPPF requirements in paragraph 26 by considering the impact of proposals on existing and planned investment in a town centre and the impact on town centre vitality and viability. The Council will expect any impact assessment to be proportionate to the scale and nature of the proposal and expected impact and will work proactively with applicants when scoping and agreeing the level of supporting retail information required.

6.20 Development outside town centres should be accessible to the community by foot, car, public transport and cycling. In addition, sufficient car parking should be provided on site and developments should not add to traffic generation on the surrounding roads and in the town centre. Sites proposed for such development should not be required for other uses such as employment uses or housing.

(3) E5 Development outside town centres

A sequential test will be applied to planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing centre[31] . Town centre uses should be located in town centres, then edge-of-centre locations. Only when suitable sites are not available will out-of-town centre sites be considered. In terms of edge and out-of-town centre proposals, preference will be given to accessible sites that are well connected to the town centre.

Proposals outside defined town centres for non-food retail and food retailing, including extensions, will be granted subject to compliance with all the following criteria:

  1. The proposal does not have a significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the defined town centres, either as an individual development or cumulatively with similar existing or proposed developments
  2. The proposed retail development on out-of-centre sites will need to demonstrate that no suitable site can be found, firstly within the existing town or local centre or, secondly, on the edge of the centre.  Any assessment of suitability should consider factors such as viability and availability
  3. Proposals over the floor space threshold of 400 sqm are accompanied by a full assessment of the potential impact on town centres and nearby centres
  4. Proposals less than the above floor space threshold are accompanied by a retail assessment report if appropriate
  5. The type of goods sold and the form of shopping unit proposed could not be conveniently accommodated within the existing shopping centre, or where suitable sites and premises are not available, within the centre or edge-of-centre sites
  6. The type of goods sold and the facilities provided complement those provided in the existing retail centre
  7. Servicing and customer traffic can be safely and conveniently accommodated by the surrounding road network and does not add to traffic generation in the town centre
  8. The proposal is easily accessible by the highway network and public transport and includes provision for access by cycle and on foot, and
  9. The design of the buildings will not detract from the character or appearance of the site and/or surrounding area.

Shop and business frontages

6.21 The vitality of town centres depends on their attraction as a destination for a mix of uses including shopping and business, but also as a place in which to meet, relax and spend leisure time. Retail is an important part of the overall mix of uses in the town centre, however the traditional role as the main focus for retail activity has been challenged by out-of-town retail outlets and the change in people's shopping habits. In addition, increased mobility means that people are prepared to travel further afield to shop in larger centres. In this very competitive environment, it is important that town centres continue to develop and enhance their retail offer in order to retain existing market share and attract new trade.

Primary shopping frontages

6.22 Primary shopping frontages are those which include a high proportion of retail units. Aylesbury Vale Retail Study 2015 defines these for Aylesbury (as shown on the Policies Map) and Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan defines these for Buckingham. Recognising the importance of the retail role of primary shopping frontages, and of having a mix of uses within town centres, the Council will seek to ensure that A1 (shops) continue to predominate, while allowing some provision of A3 (restaurants and cafes) and A2 uses, provided the overall mix of uses is considered acceptable[32] . Residential development will be encouraged in the primary shopping frontages above ground floor level. 

Secondary shopping frontages

6.23 A number of outer shopping streets in Aylesbury have been defined as secondary shopping frontages (as shown on the Policies Map). Similarly, Buckingham Neighbourhood Plan also defines secondary shopping frontages. These provide greater opportunities for a diversity of uses.  Again, recognising the value of a mix of uses within the town centre including the secondary frontages, non-retail uses such as offices, hotels and medical practitioners may be permitted, providing that they contribute positively to the vitality and viability of the town centre. Residential development will be encouraged in the secondary shopping frontages above ground floor level.

6.24 Outside defined primary and secondary shopping frontages, consideration of change of use from retail to other uses will be assessed against policies I3 and D6.

(4) E6 Shop and business frontages

Primary shopping frontages

Within the primary shopping frontages in the town centres (as shown on the Policies Map)[33] at ground floor level, only A1, A2 and A3 uses will be permitted. A2 and A3 uses will be permitted where they adjoin an A1 use, subject to achieving a good mix of retail uses overall provided the proposal:

  1. either cumulatively or individually is considered to contribute positively to the vitality and viability of the area*
  2. would not result in the loss of an A1 use on a visually prominent site.

Consideration will be given to the size of the shop unit, the width of the shop frontage and surrounding uses.

The window and entrance should relate well to the design of the building and to the street scene and its setting. Regard should be given to Aylesbury Vale Shop Front Design Guide in the design of business and shop frontages.

Residential development will be encouraged within the primary shopping frontage above ground floor level.

*This should take account of the mix of uses in the primary frontage, what is there currently and what development is committed, location, prominence and length of frontage of the premises, nature of the use proposed, including the level of pedestrian activity associated with it, and the number of ground floor vacancies in the area.

Secondary shopping frontages

Within defined secondary shopping frontages, (as shown on the Policies Map)[34], the development, improvement or expansion of retail and appropriate non-retail uses and/or change of use of retail premises to appropriate non-retail uses will be permitted provided the proposal:

  1. either cumulatively or individually, is considered to contribute positively to the vitality and viability of the area+
  2. would not result in more than three non-A1 uses in a row, and
  3. would not result in the loss of an A1 use on a visually prominent site.

A window and entrance should be provided or retained which relates well to the design of the building and to the street scene and its setting.  Regard should be given to Aylesbury Vale Shop Front Design Guide in the design of business and shop frontages.

Residential development will be encouraged within the secondary shopping frontage above ground floor level.

+This should take account of the mix of uses in the secondary frontage, what is there currently and what development is committed, location, prominence and length of frontage of the premises, nature of the use proposed, including the level of pedestrian activity associated with it, and the number of ground floor vacancies in the area.

Tourism development

6.25 Tourism plays an important role in generating income for local residents. Buckinghamshire is a popular tourist destination, providing leisure and recreation activities for its own residents and those visiting the special landscape areas, such as the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Despite a number of small scale attractions and places to stay across the Vale, tourism is less developed than within other parts of the county.

6.26 Tourism and leisure development is generally welcomed, providing employment and a means of supplementing rural incomes. However, it can have negative impacts on the surrounding area if located insensitively, is out of scale with its context, or if it fails to take proper account of local character and appearance. Policy E7 seeks to locate most development within or close to defined settlements, where local shops and facilities are most accessible and stand to benefit the most. Sustainable development will be approved in accordance with Policy S1.

6.27 Applications for tourism and leisure development in the countryside will need to be justified by the applicant. The Council will require a marketing strategy and business plan to be submitted to explain how the development will achieve a high quality tourism product that meets demand. Proposals must demonstrate that their benefits outweigh harm, and that they do not cause an unacceptable impact to traffic on the local road network. Tourism and leisure development should benefit local businesses, the environment, communities and visitors in the long term. The Council will seek the right form of development in the right location, with evidence that the need is not already being met by existing provision.

(1) 6.28 The Council wants to encourage visitors to the district whilst recognising that a balance needs to be maintained with regards to preserving the high quality environmental, historic, and cultural assets of the district. The re-use of existing buildings limits harm to the environment and may help farm diversification schemes.

6.29 Evidence supporting a countryside location should be proportionate to the scale and nature of the tourism proposal being considered. For instance, the conversion of a barn to tourist accommodation is permissible in principle under Policy C1 and is often dependent on an agricultural character which would not be found in a nearby town or village. Larger tourism attractions such as museums, outdoor activity centre or hotels may have a significant impact on the countryside and the local road network, so in these cases more comprehensive supporting evidence will be required.

6.30 Seasonal structures related to tourism such as marquees can provide additional support to the local economy. Proposals of this type should be temporary in nature and not have an adverse impact on the landscape.

(4) E7 Tourism development

The Council will promote a growing, sustainable tourism sector, and support proposals. Proposals for new or expanded tourism, visitor or leisure facilities will be supported within or adjacent to settlements. Elsewhere, the nature of the proposed development must justify a countryside location and minimise environmental impacts, and avoid unacceptable traffic impact on the local road network. Development proposals will be supported where they meet all the following criteria:

  1. Respect the character, appearance  and historic significance of the location
  2. Involve conversion or replacement of existing buildings
  3. Any extension or new building(s) forms part of an existing tourist facility
  4. In the case of seasonal structures these are temporary in nature and do not have an adverse impact on the landscape, and
  5. Demonstrate that the need is not met by existing provision within nearby settlements.

Tourist accommodation

6.31 To continue to be vibrant and competitive the tourism sector needs good quality built and temporary tourist accommodation to cater for the range of visitors and reflect visitor needs.

  • For the purposes of this Plan, built tourist accommodation refers to permanent tourist accommodation such as hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and holiday lets (residential homes restricted to holiday use). It excludes more temporary and mobile units such as caravans (even though these may remain in situ for many years) and second homes.
  • Where built tourist accommodation is permitted in a location where open market housing would normally be refused, the Council will restrict its occupation to ensure it remains in use as tourist accommodation.

6.32 The most appropriate locations for large new hotels and guest houses are within the town centres, as tourist attractions are concentrated in these locations and public transport provision is greater. However visitors also come to enjoy the many attractive rural areas, and smaller scale serviced accommodation and self-catering accommodation will also be appropriate within other settlements for those businesses targeting tourists who are seeking such an experience.

6.33 Permanent built tourist accommodation is likely to be occupied all year round. If allowed in locations away from existing settlements this could lead to a significant level of development in the countryside, weakening patterns of sustainable development. There may be cases where built holiday accommodation may be justified in a more rural location through conversion of existing buildings. Such developments will increase the stock and variety of accommodation the area has to offer, can bring back into use buildings that may otherwise be left vacant, help maintain historic buildings and have a positive impact on the surrounding area.

6.34 It would also be unduly restrictive to limit the development of existing accommodation in the countryside. In order to support existing businesses, the expansion of built tourist accommodation and sites will be allowed where this improves the quality of the accommodation on offer and the appearance of the site, provided that there is no significant harm, and development would be consistent with the other policies of this Plan.

6.35 The information required in support of applications is likely to vary greatly depending on the nature of the proposal, its scale and location. Proposals for accommodation in less accessible locations should normally include information on the long-term viability of the enterprise, a clear justification of why such a location is needed, and the benefits to the local economy.  As a town centre use, hotels should also comply with Policy E2. Where the impact of a new out-of-centre hotel would undermine the viability and contribution of more central hotels, or prejudice the potential to secure further hotel development on a more central site, development should be refused.

6.36 Tourist accommodation provides critical support to tourist attractions and facilities and contributes to the economy through its support of retail, food and drink and travel services. It is therefore important to ensure that the loss of stock is carefully considered, particularly with regard to the hotels and larger guesthouses in the area. As a guide this means those that have at least six guest bedrooms. However it is also important to recognise that changes in the market will mean that some types of built tourist accommodation may become less attractive to visitors. If the offer cannot be improved, falling profits would result in poorly maintained and ultimately failing accommodation, neither of which is a desirable outcome. A flexible approach will be needed in assessing to what extent the loss of such facilities should be resisted. Applicants will be required to demonstrate that real effort has been made to retain the tourist accommodation. Evidence submitted should typically include:

  • reasons why there is no longer a market for the premises in its tourist function
  • details of how the property has been marketed, the length of time that the marketing was active and any changes during this period, the sale asking price, the level of interest generated and any offers received
  • in the case of a reduction in size, the economic impact on the ongoing viability of the business.

6.37 Should the district reach the situation where there is no need for further tourist accommodation, either overall or in a more specific location, an application for new or expanded tourist accommodation will require a viability study.

6.38 Proposals for both static and touring caravan sites as well as those for chalets and camping will be judged against the criterion specified in Policy E8. In certain circumstances restrictions will be applied through the imposition of planning conditions to avoid the continual residential use of a site. This reflects the need to preserve the supply of visitor accommodation in order to respond to demand, and equally that such sites may not be in a location considered sustainable for occupation as primary residences. Similarly, conditions may also be imposed to restrict seasonal occupancy of sites where considered necessary to safeguard landscape character through, for example, the winter months.

6.39 In addition to the need to obtain planning permission, caravan, camping and chalet operators must obtain a site licence. The site licence, issued by Environmental Health, covers such matters as the number and standard of spacing of the caravans, and hygiene.

(2) E8 Tourist accommodation

Tourist accommodation in strategic settlements and large or medium villages, including new build, extensions or additions to existing facilities, will be supported where:             

  1. The proposal is located within designated town centre of strategic settlements or in large or medium village centres that are sustainable and accessible by a choice of transport modes, or
  2. Where a sequential test has been applied to a proposal on the edge or outside town centres and it has been satisfactorily demonstrated that there is no significant adverse impact on the vitality and viability of the surrounding town centres, and is accessible by a choice of transport modes.

Tourist accommodation in smaller villages, other settlements or in the countryside outside the Green Belt will be supported where:

  1. It would involve the conversion of existing buildings in accordance with policy C1
  2. It would be sustainable and accessible by a choice of transport modes
  3. The applicant has satisfactorily demonstrated that the facilities are required to support a particular rural tourist facility or countryside attraction
  4. It would support sustainable tourism or leisure developments and benefit the economy of the and enhance community facilities, and
  5. The scale, design and use of the proposal is compatible with its wider landscape, surrounding environment or townscape setting and would not detract from the character or appearance of the area.

Proposals that would result in the permanent loss or reduction in size of tourist accommodation will be resisted unless it can be demonstrated that their tourist function is no longer viable and the site has been marketed for a minimum period of 12 months at a price commensurate with its use.

For proposals involving the provision of new camping and touring caravan sites or the expansion of existing sites, as well as other considerations set out in this plan, particular attention will be given to ensuring that:

  1. The location, access and scale of facilities can be satisfactorily accommodated within the landscape character of the area, and where appropriate, is supplemented with additional landscaping
  2. The site is well served by public transport or walking or cycling networks
  3. The proposal does not cause significant highway problems
  4. Facilities and buildings associated with the proposal are constructed of appropriate materials, are of a scale appropriate to the locality and are landscaped effectively to minimise any visual impact, and
  5. Essential facilities such as toilets, showers and wash facilities are adequately provided for.

In granting permission, the Council will impose conditions to control the use and occupation of holiday accommodation.

Agricultural development

Agricultural buildings

(1) 6.40 The Council recognises the need to support modern farming practices and a prosperous rural economy. However the trend towards larger agricultural buildings which have a more industrial appearance can have a significantly adverse impact on the local character and also result in more traditional farm buildings falling into disrepair. New agricultural buildings (up to 465 sqm) can be allowed under the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended). However, where this is controlled under the planning system, applicants will be encouraged to locate development where it would not impact on the openness and attractive character of the countryside, for example by re-using existing buildings or locating new ones close to existing buildings, or on areas of existing hardstanding. The impact on residential amenity, including that arising from farm traffic movements, will also be a consideration. Proposals should refer to the AVDC Design Guide for New Buildings in the Countryside.

6.41 In cases where the Council considers the building too large in relation to the holding, the Council may require evidence to support the need for the building, such as stocking rates and storage requirements.

(2) E9 Agricultural development

The development of new agricultural buildings or extensions of existing buildings will be permitted where all the following criteria are met:

  1. The development is necessary for the purposes of agriculture on the unit or locally where facilities are to be shared
  2. The size is commensurate with the needs of the holding
  3. There are no existing buildings on the unit which are capable of re-use, and
  4. The use of the building would not unreasonably harm any aspect of the amenity of nearby residents.

The scale, siting, design, external appearance and construction of the buildings and any associated hardstandings or parking should be:

  1. Appropriate for the proposed use, and
  2. Sited close to existing buildings and designed in order to minimise adverse impact on the landscape character, residential amenity and reflect the operational requirements of the holding.

Silverstone Circuit

6.42 Silverstone Circuit was established as a racing circuit in 1948 and the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) have been custodians and stewards of the circuit since 1952.  It is the home of British Formula 1 and contains several racing circuits that are also used for different classes of motorsport including Touring Cars, Formula 3000, MotoGP, Superbikes and will also be host to Rallycross from 2018.  It is a motor sports venue of global significance and international importance and, as an iconic destination, it attracts visitors from across the world, setting it apart from other destinations in the Vale. The Circuit also lies at the heart of the British motorsport industry where the motorsport business cluster referred to as the Silverstone Technology Cluster has grown and established and as a whole, making a valuable and significant contribution to the local and national economy. 

6.43 The Circuit straddles the boundary between Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire with the northern part coming under the jurisdiction of South Northamptonshire District Council (SNC) and the southern part coming under the jurisdiction of Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC).  A development brief published in 2009 was a joint document prepared by SNC and AVDC and supported by the BRDC which covered the overall site owned by BRDC at the time (approximately 314 hectares) and which proposed guidance on the future development of the Circuit.  This masterplan document proposes a number of uses including employment and education, exhibition space, brand centres, hotels and function and conference facilities which will all add to the attraction of the Circuit as a venue for recreation and leisure focused on motorsport.  The fundamental objectives of the brief are as follows:

  • The improvement of track-related facilities to modern grand prix standards and the promotion of Silverstone as the home of British motorsport and racing, as well as the development of the whole land portfolio.
  • Enhance and strengthen Silverstone Circuit as the centre of automotive and high technology excellence for the UK.
  • Creation of opportunities for the development of employment and sustainable economic growth by attracting businesses, education and active outdoor tourism of the highest quality on a local and regional basis.
  • Providing an attractive venue for leisure and hotel activities to create development that is sustainable both in terms of its construction and operation.
  • Creation of a development which integrates well into its local environment and provides an attractive countryside setting to locate and develop high value enterprises.  This includes both cultural and physical landscape.
  • Developing sustainable transport and innovative access proposals.

6.44 An outline planning application was subsequently approved on the overall site by both authorities in August 2012, reflecting the objectives of the design brief, for a mixed use development which included offices, workshop and distribution facilities, an education campus including on site student accommodation, three hotels, ancillary spectator facilities including a welcome centre and Museum of Motor Sport and non-retail promotional automotive display space as well as leisure and event spaces including outdoor activity areas and permanent outdoor stage.

6.45 In 2013, developer MEPC acquired a 999-year lease on land outside the Circuit to develop a business park.  Full planning permission has initially been granted for 14 employment units (Class  B1c/B2/B8) on this land which have been constructed.  Outline planning permission was granted on the remainder of MEPC land (49ha) for 157,000sqm of employment floor space (B1a, B1c, B2 and B8), hotel floorspace providing 250 bedrooms, education uses and promotional automotive display space.  Part of this land has also been designated as an enterprise zone and is a key employment site to be protected under Policy E1.

6.46 Land now referred to as Silverstone Circuit relates to the 214ha site currently owned by BRDC.  It is already much more than just the motor racing circuit as it contains the new pits and paddock building, known as The Wing and used also as a conference, exhibition and media centre, which opened in 2011, and the University Technical College which opened in 2013 (in SNC part) which is a centre for excellence for young people wishing to gain entrance into the field of high performance engineering, as well as a staging facility for other events including music.

6.47 Building on the principles established in the development brief and in the 2012 outline consent, Silverstone Circuit is now concentrating on expanding further to maximise its wider economic role and confirming Silverstone as a world-class motorsport destination and a leading business, education, leisure and entertainment venue with a brand that is synonymous with excellence and innovation.  The recent success of the approved Silverstone Heritage Experience in December 2016 (a £22 million development supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund) is a catalyst for the family entertainment and leisure business and a focal point for activity.

6.48 At the time of drafting, an outline planning application for a mixed use development comprising education, including on-site student accommodation, one hotel, brand centre facilities supporting motorsport activities, sports and leisure/adrenaline facility and family entertainment centre and other motorsport activity was being considered.

6.49 Policy E10 provides a framework for the development of Silverstone Circuit  and is consistent with the Silverstone Circuit Development Brief (Feb 2009) and the outline planning permission (2012) and subsequent outline applications.  The brief, applications and the policy below takes a holistic view of the Circuit's development and therefore it should be noted that some of the development elements set out in the policy fall under the jurisdiction of South Northamptonshire Council.

(7) E10 Silverstone Circuit

The Council will continue to support the Circuit as an international venue and destination for world-class motorsport and a leading business, education, leisure and entertainment venue and will make provision for:

Motor sports

Improvement of track-related facilities to modern grand prix standards and the promotion of Silverstone as the home of British motorsport and racing. Development of facilities and ancillary office accommodation supporting motorsport activities. AVDC seeks to enhance and strengthen Silverstone Circuit as the centre of automotive and high technology excellence for the UK.

Business and technology park

The creation of opportunities for the development of employment and sustainable economic growth by attracting businesses in line with Policy E1 and Chapter 6 of VALP.


The continued use of the site for Silverstone University Technical College as a key resource  of regional significance for secondary education (GCSE and A-Level equivalent) and a centre for excellence in the specialist fields of high performance engineering and business and technical events management and on site accommodation for students attending the UTC.

Leisure and tourism

Providing an attractive venue for leisure, entertainment, recreation and hotel activities to create development that is sustainable both in terms of its construction and operation. The nature of the leisure and tourism uses will be linked to and be complementary to  any of the above uses on the Circuit site.

All proposals should have particular regard to all the following criteria:

  1. The need to avoid unreasonable disturbance to those who live in the area
  2. The need to promote sustainable transport links and strengthen connections between the circuit and the towns
  3. The need to protect the rural and visual character of the countryside adjacent to the Circuit with particular attention to the Stowe Area of Attractive Landscape, and
  4. The archaeological significance of Luffield Priory.

[30] Main town centre uses include retail development, leisure, entertainment facilities, some sport and recreation facilities, offices and arts culture and tourism development. The NPPF sets out the full definition.

[31] As defined in the Glossary

[32] Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan (2015) Policy EE4 – restricts the introduction of new non-retail uses (Classes A2, A3, A4 and A5) to 35% of the sum total of the primary retail frontages.

[33] Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan (2015) defines these for Buckingham.

[34] Buckingham Neighbourhood Development Plan (2015) defines these for Buckingham.

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