Economic evidence

Cheltenham Economic Strategy (January 2015)

Cheltenham Borough Council has welcomed a report examining Cheltenham’s role as a business location to help shape a robust Economic Strategy for Cheltenham.

The report, prepared by Athey Consulting Ltd, was commissioned to inform the preparation of an economic strategy for Cheltenham. A key part of the commission was consultation with local businesses to help understand existing needs and future aspirations.

Key findings of the report are that Cheltenham has a healthy economy in a borough where its residents are highly educated and skilled.  However, productivity is lower than expected and focus should be placed upon attracting and supporting businesses which add high value GVA (Gross Value Added) into the economy. The important building blocks are in place in terms of key employers, high levels of innovation, strong retailing and tourism sectors. Work needs to be done to make it clear that Cheltenham continues to be a great place to do business.

The report identifies several priorities for Cheltenham which will now be subject to consideration by the council including:

  • Working with key employers to understand their future needs and site requirements
  • Develop and implement a cyber-security policy initiative – opening up opportunities that exist for local people and businesses to be part of an multi-billion pound global industry;
  • Review the value and use of publicly owned assets and where possible bring these forward to support the economy of the borough;
  • Focus on delivering large scale, high quality offices and business parks together with starter units that will continue to foster innovation; and
  • Investigate ways in which the council can facilitate transformational change, for example developing investment vehicles for delivering land premises, housing and infrastructure.

The Cheltenham Economic Strategy will be an ambitious long-term plan that builds upon existing strengths, but provides clear direction in terms of interventions by the council and partners. The council is currently reviewing the recommendations made by the consultant’s report and will publish a final Economic Strategy later this year. This will be supported by the emerging Cheltenham Plan, due for public consultation in June, which will look to identify land and provide planning policy options to support the council’s economic ambitions.

Employment Land Review (July 2007)

This review utilised the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister Employment Land Reviews guidance note. Work included a comprehensive business survey culminating in a number of sector reports and a review of existing sites and premises in terms of environmental quality. Analysis of county and regional forecasting reports were also undertaken.

Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners were appointed January 2007 to take forward the findings of the review in terms of policy, existing sites and the likely requirements for new sites.

Retail and Leisure Study (December 2006)

The study was carried out on behalf of Cheltenham Borough Council by consultants DPDS and is broadly broken into two parts. The first part assesses comparison and convenience retail floorspace requirements up to 2016, focussing in particular on the role of Cheltenham's core commercial area, district centres and out-of-centre retail facilities within the context of the formeer Planning Policy Statement 6 (Planning for Town Centres). The second part undertakes an assessment of leisure and entertainment facilities in Cheltenham within the context of the sub regional role of Cheltenham as one of South West England's strategically significant cities and towns as was set out in the draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West.

Strategic Employment Land Availability Assessment

The Strategic Employment Land Availability Assessment (SELAA) is a key component of the evidence base for the council's Local Plan. Our preparation of this document is in common with many other local authorities and in line with the evidence requirements in National Planning Policy Framework.


The purpose of the SELAA is to identify and assess sites that could be used for employment development.

What will the SELAA do?

The SELAA is not a policy document and does not allocate sites or dictate how future policy will be developed. The study will bring together all the existing information we have on employment sites with planning permission, and assesses other sites identified in existing monitoring documents as to their suitability for employment use. The SELAA will:

  • identify sites with potential for employment development
  • assess their employment potential
  • assess when they are likely to be developed

Once the assessment is published we will have a better idea of how much employment land is available for development in the borough, and this information could be used to inform policies allocating or safeguarding employment land in the Joint Core Strategy or other Local Plan documents.

Call for sites

To assist in the identification of sites, we have arranged a 'call for sites' process. This encourages the public, employment industry, land owners and other organisations to suggest sites which may be suitable for employment development.

Find out more about our call for sites.