The Borough of East Staffordshire
The borough of East Staffordshire lies within the West Midlands region, although it shares a considerable border with the East Midlands. There are a total of 21 wards within the borough which cover an area of approximately 150 square miles. East Staffordshire covers predominately rural land with a great variety of villages and the larger settlements of Barton under Needwood, Rolleston on Dove, Rocester and Tutbury. The principal town of Burton upon Trent dominates the housing and employment provision supported by the smaller market town of Uttoxeter. The borough’s links to the strategic road network and central location is attractive to businesses, and there is a diverse mix of employment with representation across the employment sectors.
The population of the borough as set out in the 2011 Census is 113,583, which is an increase of 9,800 from 2001. This makes in the fastest growing population within the county. 22% of the Boroughs population is aged under 18, and 17% are aged 65 or over.
Almost three quarters of the population live in the two main towns of Burton upon Trent and Uttoxeter. Burton has a high proportion of terraced properties and a relatively low proportion of semi-detached and detached homes. The terraces of inner Burton provide a valuable source of low-cost market housing and private rented accommodation, as well as helping to create the character of inner Burton. In comparison the surrounding rural villages have a high proportion of detached properties of which the older cottages contribute significantly to the built and distinctive character of the borough. East Staffordshire Borough contains numerous villages and hamlets many of which are historic settlements which have a very different feel due to their location, character, setting, size and level of amenities. A mix of well designed, sustainable market, specialist and affordable homes are needed to meet the needs of existing and future residents.
Historically brownfield site development has formed an important part of growth in the borough which is likely to continue to present opportunities. The brownfield sites located within existing urban areas contribute sustainably because they have the potential to create new neighbourhoods that will add value to existing communities, raise environmental quality through good design, and introduce housing choice and flexibility. The non-allocation of sites in the Local Plan does not preclude brownfield sites coming forward, and it is expected that many brownfield sites will come forward as windfall development. There are many windfall opportunities within Burton in particular, owing to the way in which the town has grown and developed over the years. The importance of the town as an employment hub and subsequent decline/contraction of the manufacturing sector has led to residential opportunities presenting themselves.
The borough has a proud heritage and has thrived historically due to the brewing industry. Burton on Trent is firmly identified as a brewing town and the location of Molson Coors Brewing Company, Marstons and a growing number of small and independent micro breweries. The economy has proved to be reasonably resilient throughout the period of recession and recovery with new inward investment continuing to be attracted into the Borough. The manufacturing sector has witnessed substantial restructuring and modernisation across the country over the past two decades and the East Staffordshire economy has positively diversified, with a greater emphasis on high-technology manufacturing growth and service industries. In particular there has been significant growth in the distribution, warehousing, hotels and restaurants sectors in Burton due mainly to the town’s excellent location and the availability of land.
East Staffordshire has growing economic links with the Birmingham economy, due in part to the relationship with the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), and growth along the A38 corridor due to the release of large strategic sites. There is also a strong relationship with the East Midlands, as the Borough acts as a major employment hub for neighbouring authorities including South Derbyshire. Burton has a higher percentage of new and sustained business start-ups than the rest of Staffordshire, although other parts of East Staffordshire have long established employers such as JCB in Uttoxeter and Rocester. The Borough currently provides around 61,600 jobs (2012), and the local economy has traditionally had low levels of unemployment.