HJA was commissioned to produce an Employment Growth and Employment Land Review for Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES), working alongside Lambert Smith Hampton. The purpose of this work was to support the preparation of a new Local Plan, for which the Council required an updated economic and employment evidence base, which considered both issues of demand and supply.
The Employment Growth and Employment Land Review was required to enable the allocation and protection of a portfolio of sites to meet the anticipated future employment needs of the B&NES economy. From a demand perspective, the Council wanted to understand potential employment scenarios for the unitary authority area as a whole and how growth might be distributed across the area. From a supply perspective, the council required an understanding of the current and future potential supply of employment sites, whether sites are located strategically for growth and if they are deliverable in the commercial market.
The first stage of the study provided a summary analysis of the B&NES economy, including the four identified sub areas. This involved the analysis of socio-economic parameters such as demography, labour participation rate, travel to work patterns, geographical distribution of employment and the business base in the B&NES economy. The change in these parameters were benchmarked over time against the West of England sub-region and UK data.
Following this, HJA undertook analysis of potential future employment growth scenarios for the B&NES area and its four constituent sub areas over the Local Plan period. The scenarios were informed by a range of existing evidence and research. At the time of producing the report, the four West of England Unitary Authorities were preparing a Joint Spatial Plan and to provide a robust evidence base to support the plan, and had commissioned economic forecasts which estimated future jobs growth across the West of England. These forecasts were therefore used as a starting point for developing employment growth scenarios for B&NES. Three alternative scenarios were developed to consider the share of West of England growth that might reasonably be located within B&NES. For each scenario, HJA also divided the estimated employment growth into the four B&NES sub areas.
HJA then considered the sites and premises requirements associated with each employment scenario. The methodology was consistent with that used in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.
After assessing existing supply and recent trends, a review of sites was provided and followed by an examination of future supply.
Finally, a comparison of the future supply of sites and the future demand for sites in B&NES was carried out, as well as setting out the potential role of development in each sub-area of the B&NES area. We concluded our work with a set of recommendations for B&NES council.