Publication Local Plan, Chapter 9: Economic development

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Enabling the provision of a diverse range of job opportunities that are accessible to local residents
  • Protecting existing employment areas to ensure a supply of sites and premises that enable people to start their own businesses

9.1 Salford is transforming into a modern global city. Significant investment in recent years has delivered large numbers of new jobs and opportunities, and forecasts suggest a highly positive economic future.

9.2 The city has a range of attributes that makes it highly attractive to a wide range of businesses, developers and investors, including a location at the heart of the extensive Greater Manchester conurbation, easy access to a large pool of skilled labour, excellent transport links via motorway, rail, water and air, and key clusters such as MediaCityUK.

9.3 The south-eastern area of Salford forms part of Greater Manchester’s largest concentration of economic activity, stretching from Central Park in Manchester in the east through the City Centre and Salford Quays to Trafford Park, the Trafford Centre and Port Salford. This central economic area provides an enormous number of jobs and diverse range of businesses that are fundamental to the success not just of Greater Manchester but also the North of England more generally. Within this area, the Salford Innovation Triangle is particularly significant, providing a high concentration of innovation and research activity focused around its three nodes of MediaCityUK, the University of Salford, and Salford Royal Hospital.

9.4 Future economic development will need to be managed in a careful and sensitive way, ensuring that short-term economic growth does not undermine the longer term prospects of the city, for example through the degradation of important environmental assets. It will also be critical that its benefits are felt by all segments of the population, with the city evolving in an inclusive way, and public, private, community and social sectors working together to create opportunities that are accessible to all, as set out in policy F2 (Social value and inclusion).

9.5 Many parts of this plan are relevant to economic development, helping to create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt, in accordance with national policy [1]. As a result, this economic development chapter is quite short, focusing on the issues that are not addressed elsewhere. For example, other chapters of the plan seek to ensure that development is managed so as to:

  • Maximise its economic benefits for local residents (Policy F2)
  • Reinforce the roles of City Centre Salford and Salford Quays as primary office locations (policies AP1 and AP2)
  • Realise the potential of the Salford Innovation Triangle the key focus for innovation-led economic growth (policy AP4)
  • Protect and enhance town centres (chapter 12)
  • Support Salford’s roles as a tourism, sporting and leisure destination (chapter 10)
  • Deliver better transport connections that connect people to jobs and businesses to suppliers and markets (chapter 15)
  • Significantly enhance the digital connectivity of the city (chapter 16)
  • Provide the high quality housing that will help to attract and retain skilled workers (chapter 11)

Figure 7 - Economic development context

Existing employment areas

9.6 Salford’s existing employment areas have a vital role to play in the city’s future economic success, providing a broad range of job opportunities that are accessible to local communities, and a varied portfolio of sites and premises for all types of businesses from start-ups to major inward investments. It will be important to ensure that their economic function is not unnecessarily lost because of pressure for sites to be redeveloped for other uses such as housing.

9.7 It is anticipated that during the plan period there will be some existing employment areas, and parts thereof, that will find it increasingly difficult to attract and retain businesses due to their location and/or quality of accommodation. The release of such sites and areas for other uses may be appropriate, and this could be a significant source of land for housing. However, it will be important to carefully control this process so as to ensure that it is only those sites and areas that are unable to secure a long-term economic future, or that have been identified through an appropriate process as being essential for other uses, which are released. A more flexible approach is taken within the City Centre, Ordsall Waterfront and Salford Quays, because it is anticipated these areas will be redeveloped for high-density schemes that will, overall, provide much greater numbers of jobs as well as a range of other uses including housing.

Policy EC1 - Existing employment areas

There will be a strong emphasis on protecting and enhancing the economic function of Salford’s existing employment areas, helping to provide a wide choice of premises and ensure that a broad range of businesses, including start-ups, can locate in Salford. 

The following will be encouraged within existing employment areas: 

  1. The improvement and development of sites and premises for:
    1. Industry and warehousing, and other employment-generating uses of a similar nature
    2. Offices of a scale that does not detract from the role of the City Centre, Salford Quays and other designated centres as the primary focus for office activity
  2. The provision of training facilities and similar uses directly connected to employment
  3. Environmental improvements that enhance the appearance and overall quality of the employment area, including addressing issues such as flood risk

The following will be supported within existing employment areas where they would not have any significant adverse impact on the overall economic potential or successful functioning of those areas: 

  1. Waste management development that promotes recycling and delivers high environmental standards, where it is consistent with the policies of the Greater Manchester Joint Waste Development Plan Document
  2. The provision of sites for travelling people where they involve a significant employment function as well as residential accommodation
  3. The provision of community facilities where they cannot be adequately located elsewhere within the local area that they would serve

Uses other than those identified above will only be permitted within existing employment areas where:

  1. They would not have any significant impact on the activities of the employment uses remaining within the employment area or the potential to reuse vacant sites and buildings for employment uses; and
  2. One or both of the following two criteria are met:
    1. The site or wider employment area is specifically identified as being appropriate for other uses in a plan or strategy that has been subject to public consultation and formally endorsed by the city council;
    2. The site and premises have been subject to a detailed market appraisal that clearly demonstrates that there is no current or likely future demand for them. The appraisal should take a long-term view of the economic prospects of the site/premises and include:
      1. An explanation as to why it is not possible to retain or replace any existing occupiers;
      2. Consideration of the potential to reuse, refurbish and redevelop the site to accommodate the full range of uses that would be appropriate within an existing employment area. A flexible approach should be adopted including both freehold and leasehold options;
      3. An analysis of recorded and potential interest in the site/premises for a use appropriate within an existing employment area. This analysis should be informed by the findings of a comprehensive and prolonged marketing exercise of the site and premises (typically in excess of 12 months) and have regard to enquiries and deals relating to similar sites/premises in the local area; and
      4. Detailed consideration of the context of the economic health and future role of the wider employment area of which the site/premises forms a part and other employment areas in the local area.

This policy does not apply to employment areas within City Centre Salford (AP1), Salford Quays (AP2) and Ordsall Waterfront (AP3).


For the purposes of this policy, an existing employment area is defined as one or more sites and/or buildings that are currently used, have been designed to be used, or where vacant were last used, for non-retail employment uses and fall within one or more of the following categories: 

  1. Five or more adjacent units of self-contained business accommodation
  2. Total continuous site area of 1 hectare or greater
  3. Total floor area of 5,000m2 of greater

Non-retail employment uses include offices, research and development, industry, storage, distribution, waste management, and other uses of a similar nature that are typically found in an employment area.

Other areas of land or buildings that are not, or have not previously been, used for non-retail employment uses but are entirely or predominantly surrounded by land/buildings that fall within the above definition of an existing employment area will themselves be considered to form part of an existing employment area.

Port Salford

9.8 Port Salford is a scheme with planning permission that is currently under construction alongside the Manchester Ship Canal, to the south of the A57 and west of the M60. Once completed, it will include an inland port, a container terminal, and around 150,000m2 of employment floorspace. The delivery of a rail spur, new canal berths and highway improvements are integral parts of the scheme, essential to its success.

9.9 The tri-modal connections providing ship, rail and road links will help to improve the sustainability of Greater Manchester’s distribution and supply chain activity, enabling goods and components to be moved by more sustainable modes closer to their origin or destination, and reducing the total distances travelled by road. The direct connections via the Manchester Ship Canal to the post-Panamax facilities at the Port of Liverpool will provide easy access to the very largest container ships. Port Salford will help to boost the competitiveness of Greater Manchester by significantly enhancing its logistics capabilities and the quality of investment opportunities, both in the immediate vicinity of the freight terminal and at nearby employment areas in both Salford and Trafford.

9.10 The combination of high quality water, rail and road connections, and associated employment floorspace, will make Port Salford unique in Greater Manchester. Hence, even though it is not yet completed, it is important that the facility is protected in the long-term.

Policy EC2 - Port Salford 

Port Salford, as shown on the Policies Map (EC2/1), will be protected as a tri-modal freight terminal and employment area. 

The line of the rail link between Port Salford and the Manchester-Liverpool rail line, as shown on the Policies Map (EC2/2), will be protected.


9.11 The main indicators that will be used to monitor this chapter are:

Indicator Baseline position Target
Median household incomes 2018 Median household incomes:
Salford = £26,456
England = £30,444 [2]
Improvement against national average
Proportion of children (under 16) living in low income households Rate of 21.1% in 2016 [3] Reduction on current levels
Unemployment rates Rate of 5.1% in 2018/2019 [4] Reduction on current levels
% working age population qualified to NVQ level 3+ and above Rate of 52.7% in 2018 [5] Increase on current levels


[1] Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (February 2019) National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 60

[2] Experian (2018) Mosaic

[3] Public Health England (2016), data sourced from HM Revenue and Customs (Personal Tax Credits: Related Statistics - Child Poverty Statistics)

[4] Nomis (2019) Annual Population Survey, data relates to population aged 16 to 65, April 2018 to March 2019

[5] Nomis (2019) Annual Population Survey, data relates to population aged 16 to 65, January to December 2018

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