The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2012) requires local authorities to have a clear understanding of business needs, including quantitative and qualitative requirements for land and floorspace across their areas.  The draft National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG) advises that in assessing economic development needs we should consider our functional economic market area (FEMA).

Accordingly, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council (WHBC) has commissioned Atkins to update its evidence and prepare a new Economy Study for the borough. The Economy Study will form a key part of WHBC’s evidence base for the Local Plan and is also likely to inform other plans and strategies. Importantly, the Economy Study will objectively assess development needs for economic development for Welwyn Hatfield Borough and the wider FEMA.

You are invited to a stakeholder event regarding the Economy Study, which will be held on Monday 18 November 2013 from 1.30pm until 4.15pm. The stakeholder event will take place at The Pillars Suite, BioPark, Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL7 3AX.

The purpose of the Stakeholder Event will be for Atkins to present an overview of the approach to be taken to the Economy Study research and explain some of the initial data that will feed into the study. Atkins will then seek the views and opinions of key stakeholders about the Economy Study process, providing an opportunity for stakeholder involvement at an early stage in the research process.

The draft agenda for the Stakeholder Event is as follows:
1.30pm – Arrival and Tea / Coffee
2.00pm – Welcome by WHBC Head of Planning: Tracy Harvey
2.10pm – Presentation by Atkins: The Borough economy - issues and challenges
2.30pm – 1st Workshop Discussion (all attendees)
3.00pm – Tea / Coffee
3.15pm – Presentation by Atkins: The Borough economy – future needs and requirements
3.40pm – 2nd Workshop Discussion (all attendees)
4.10pm – Closing Statement by WHBC Head of Planning: Tracy Harvey
4.15pm – Event Close

Please RSVP by Monday 11 November 2013 to WHBC either by email to: planningpolicy@welhat.gov.uk or by telephone to Laura Guy on 01707 357261 or Paul Everard on 01707 357518.

Attendance is on a first-come first served basis. Please therefore limit attendance to one representative per organisation.