Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Corporate Director Communities commenced her submission by thanking the Planning Team for their tireless work in developing the Replacement Local Development Plan Submission Document.
She reported for consideration by Cabinet the Deposit Plan Consultation Report Summary Document and the proposed submission version of the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) as amended following public consultation and sought agreement for the amended RLDP and to recommend to Council that the RLDP as amended be submitted to Welsh Government and Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) for independent examination.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that an up-to-date Local Development Plan (LDP) is an essential part of a plan-led planning system in Wales. She stated that without an up to date LDP, it would become progressively difficult for the Council to focus on integrating and addressing multiple land use concerns and the local planning process would become fragmented, un-coordinated and reactive. She informed Cabinet that the review report of the existing LDP had recognised an urgent need to address the shortfall in the housing land supply through the identification of additional housing sites, highlighted by the new housing delivery monitoring system prescribed by Welsh Government. She informed Cabinet that whilst the existing LDP had been successful in bringing forward several (primarily brownfield) residential and mixed-use allocations, other brownfield allocations had not come forward as anticipated. The number of remaining deliverable sites had progressively dwindled at the end of the existing plan period, resulting in lower annual dwelling completions. She stated that the 2021 Census had revealed that the population in the County Borough is one of the fastest growing areas in Wales, having consequences for land use.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that since the publication of the RLDP Deposit Plan for Consultation, new information, changes to legislation, updated national planning guidance and the completion of supporting technical information had necessitated a review of the LDP evidence base. This, together with some of the matters raised in the consultation representations meant a number of changes to the Deposit RLDP are considered necessary, the main changes being:
a) Removal of Housing Allocation at Parc Afon Ewenni, Bridgend – as a result of the recently published Flood Map for Planning identifying the site at being at risk of flooding;
b) Inclusion of a housing allocation at Heol Fach, North Cornelly;
c) Inclusion of site masterplans;
d) Removal of Gypsy, Traveller and Showpeople Site at Land adjacent to Bryncethin Depot;
e) Completed Strategic Transport Assessment; and
f) Updated Strategic Flood Consequence Assessment.
The Corporate Director Communities reported that authorisation would be sought from Council in September 2022 to submit the RLDP to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) for public examination (anticipated in early 2023).
The Cabinet Member Communities expressed his thanks to the Planning Team for their work over the past 4 years in delivering the RLDP. He referred to the concerns in the increase in housing development proposed and asked if there would be a net increase in publicly accessible open spaces. The Corporate Director Communities commented on the need for accessible green spaces and that there would be a net gain of 60 hectares of new additional accessible green space across the County Borough.
The Cabinet Member Communities referred to the removal of the Parc Afon Ewenni site as a consequence of flood risk and asked what the minimum flexibility allowance would be in the LDP. The Corporate Director Communities stated that the Parc Afon Ewenni site had been removed from the draft LDP, however Welsh Government guidance stipulated a minimum 10% flexibility allowance. A reserve site at Heol Fach, North Cornelly had been included, bringing the flexibility allowance up to 13%. She stated that it was very important for development to accord with the LDP. The development industry had been critical of the Council as it had previously focused on the delivery of larger residential sites. If the Heol Fach site were to be removed, the flexibility allowance would be reduced to 10% and the LDP could proceed on the basis that Cabinet had confidence in the delivery of all the sites allocated for housing. The Leader stated that he had confidence in the deliverability of the LDP and the development of the sites allocated for housing. The Cabinet Member Communities that he was comfortable with the 10% flexibility allowance, were the Heol Fach site to be removed.
The Cabinet Member Communities sought an assurance that the green buffer would be maintained between the communities of Laleston and Bryntirion and Broadlands to prevent coalescence, notably the protection of Circus Field. The Corporate Director Communities stated that assurances had been received there would be a visual and physical buffer with Laleston. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager informed Cabinet that the Green Wedge study had concluded there was clear evidence for the retention of the green buffer. The Leader noted that whilst the development is still proposed to go ahead, the fields which flank the road would be protected.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help referred to the considerable concern at the lack of engagement from Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board in putting forward proposals for new primary care facilities in the location of the sites identified for housing allocation, given existing difficulties in accessing GP services and the merger of GP practices. She requested that the Leader write to the Chairperson of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board requesting that they engage in the LDP process in drawing up proposals for primary care facilities. The Corporate Director Communities stated that the Health Board believe there to be sufficient current provision of primary care and as the LDP is not an adopted plan had not yet come forward with plans for new primary care facilities. The Planning Team had discussed making land available for new health centres. The Strategic Planning Policy Team Leader informed Cabinet that the Health Board had been engaged at the commencement of the of the LDP process and officers will continue to engage with them. The Leader stated that he would write to the Chief Executive and Chairperson of the Health Board requesting an update and a commitment on their plans for new primary care provision as part of the LDP process.
The Cabinet Member Wellbeing and Future Generations asked whether a reply had been received from the Welsh Government on the retention of farmland west of Bridgend. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager informed Cabinet that a response had been signed off by the Welsh Government and that the work undertaken by officers was considered robust, given the war in Ukraine affecting the availability of agricultural land.
The Cabinet Member Regeneration was pleased to see social and affordable housing allocations being accounted for in the LDP and asked what percentages of the housing allocation would be developed for such provision. The Principal Strategic Planning Officer stated that across the Borough each site had undergone an assessment as to the mix of sites and gave certainty that each site can come forward with specified levels of affordable housing, with the exact tenure identified in the local housing market. The percentage of affordable and social housing is 20%, with bespoke targets for each site in the RLDP. The Leader informed Cabinet that affordable and social housing could also be delivered through Social Housing Grant and Section 106 monies. The Leader requested clarification of the provision of 1,002 affordable homes over the life of the Plan to contribute to the wider LDP target of 1,646 affordable homes. The Principal Strategic Planning Officer stated that 1,000 homes are from specific allocations and the remainder from sites already delivered and from windfall sites.
The Leader referred to the Habitat Regulations Assessment where a plan or project is considered likely to have significant effects on European Sites and not directly connected with or necessary for the management of the site and asked whether this would affect biodiversity and the SINC review. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager informed Cabinet that this was dealt in the Sustainability appraisal which confirmed that no European sites are at detriment and a net gain would be sought through policies and which would need to be followed when applications are submitted. In terms of the SINCS there are protective measures in place.
The Leader asked whether the provision of allotments sites is included in the LDP and whether outdoor sport and play facilities are also reflected in the LDP. The Strategic Planning Policy Team Leader informed Cabinet that an allotment audit had been prepared for the LDP, which had shown a deficit of such provision within Bridgend. The Cabinet Member Communities informed Cabinet that there is new Supplementary Guidance in place on amenity space.
The Leader asked how 5 new primary schools will be delivered in the LDP. The Corporate Director Communities stated that the LDP will deliver £120m of investment into the County Borough which will include the provision of new primary schools. The Strategic Planning Policy Team Leader informed Cabinet there is in place an Education Supplementary Planning Guidance and engagement had taken place with the Education Department on the delivery of new schools as specified in the LDP on the larger sites. On smaller sites, a contribution would be sought from developers to fund improvements to existing schools. Costs will be reviewed to ensure the correct costs are being levied.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
a) Noted the Deposit Plan Consultation Report Summary Document (Appendix 1) and agree the submission version of the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) and recommended to Council that the RLDP as set out in Appendices 2&3 (subject to the amendment at recommendation c) be submitted to Welsh Government and PEDW for independent examination.
b) Authorised the Corporate Director Communities and Group Manager - Planning & Development Services Development to make any refinements to the RLDP, supporting background papers and technical evidence required prior to reporting to Council.
c) agreed the removal of a housing allocation at Heol Fach, North Cornelly as a candidate site as it was confident that the minimum 10% flexibility allowance housing requirement could be achieved in the replacement Local Development Plan.
Publication date: 18/05/2023
Date of decision: 19/07/2022
Decided at meeting: 19/07/2022 - Cabinet