Agenda item

Replacement Local Development Plan - Deposit Plan Public Consultation Document


The Corporate Director Communities presented a report seeking Cabinet approval to publish the Replacement Local Development Plan Deposit Draft (LDPDD) for public consultation in June 2021 for a period of 8 weeks in accordance with the Development Agreement approved by Council and Welsh Government in October 2020.


The Corporate Director Communities explained that the LDPDD had been prepared by Bridgend County Borough Council to underpin preparation of the Replacement LDP 2018-2033. The document was subject to public consultation in accordance with Regulation 17 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Development Plan) (Wales) Regulations 2005. Once finalised and adopted, the Replacement LDP would replace the existing LDP (2006-2021) as the statutory Development Plan for the County Borough. She stressed that this was a consultation document and all comments received would be given due consideration before a finalised version would be sent to Welsh Government for adoption. There would then be a Welsh Government examination held in public and they would scrutinise the document again. At this stage the Inspector could add or remove parts to the plan and they would then report back with the plan they wished the Council to adopt. It would then be for full Council to adopt the LDP or not. 


The Group Manager for Planning and Development Services explained for those not familiar with the process that the LDP was a high level strategy that must be produced by the Council. It put into land use terms the overall aims and aspirations of the authority and the objectives of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and priorities of the Bridgend Public Services Board’s Well-being Plan. It was a significant, essential piece of work without which the authority would be open to speculative developments and planning by appeal.


The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager outlined some of the other aspects that would be delivered by the replacement LDP including sustainable places through place making. The LDP would seek to deliver zero carbon homes supporting the decarbonisation strategy. He added that the material weight attached to the existing LDP would progressively diminish from 2021 placing the Council in a position where it would be open to challenge from the development industry. It was therefore imperative that they continued with the replacement LDP. He explained the structure of the document and outlined the various components. 


The Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help appreciated the substantial volume of work that had gone into the document since first discussed at Development Control Committee. She could see the emphasis on building new communities and addressing the need for more houses within the communities. There were schemes that could be controversial to some residents but she stressed that this was the consultation phase. She asked for reassurance that they would be investing in the communities they already had as well as investing in new ones and if the Council would be working on housing needs in an holistic way. Demographics were changing with more single people and they had to take on board different strategies such as the rent a room scheme and look at it holistically.


The Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration thanked the team for the way they had undertaken the task. He was pleased that they had included Town and Community Councils at an early stage. He was also happy that the report had been presented as a consultation document having already seen fake news and misinformation. This was a statutory duty and every Council should be doing it and those that failed would be open to free market and random applications and undesirable development. He believed that the housing market was broken with too much housing of the wrong type and not enough of the right type. There was unaffordable housing, second homes and unequal balance between councils and private sector developers. A robust LDP could support developers and protect residents against undesirable proposals. He had 3 key messages for the public, candidate sites were candidates only, the plan was open to consultation and comments would be listened to and acted upon and residents should send in their comments which would be considered on planning grounds. He would be taking part in the consultation as a ward member and in his own right based on planning grounds.  


The Cabinet Member for Communities acknowledged the phenomenal amount of work and dedication that had gone into the document and paid tribute to the Group Manager for Planning and Development Services and the Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager.  He said that in its final form it would act as protection for the County Borough and protect the environment, urban areas and residents and that was the reason why it was so important in planning terms. He was particularly pleased to see that the Green Agenda had prominence within the LDP giving added protection. This document was protection for BCBC and he echoed the plea for residents to get involved and engage with the process. He believed that when scrutinised by Welsh Government, this would be seen as a robust document.


The Leader echoed the thanks of colleagues to the officers in the team who had worked hard on this mammoth undertaking. The public consultation details would be made available in June and they wanted as many people as possible to take part in the consultation. It would affect everyone and was about jobs, schools, green energy and new homes for the growing population within Bridgend. Without new homes there would be an increase in homelessness. Affordable and social homes were at the heart of strategic plans and sites. On completion of the consultation, responses would be considered and changes made to the plan. There would be a stage when it went to the Inspector who would make a judgement. If the plan was not robust enough or based on factual evidence then he could reject the plans and could potentially take forward a different set of plans. The plan would eventually come back to Full Council for a decision. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager added that when they submitted the plan to Welsh Government they wanted that to be the final plan. If there were sites not supported by robust evidence then the Inspector could add or delete sites. 


The Deputy Leader thanked the officers for the plan which was clearly a huge amount or work. It was based on a lot of evidence and met all the legislative requirements. He asked what weight public opinion would carry with the plan because there could be some elements that would not please everyone. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager replied that

public consultation was hugely important to the process, not so much the volume of objections but material planning considerations. They urged members of the public to concentrate on matters such as traffic, congestion, 

the impact of a development on overlooking or rights of way. Comments based on material planning considerations carried a lot of weight.


The Leader emphasised that this was an opportunity to help shape the LDP. Everyone with an interest could take part including groups such as young people and children to help plan for their long term future.


The Leader asked if they could confirm that from major developments to relatively small scale developments, there would be a minimum requirement for social and affordable housing. Last year 1500 people made homelessness presentations to BCBC and 1000 people were given temporary accommodation because they were homeless. The Group Manager for Planning and Development Services confirmed that there would be a requirement and there would be policy on affordable housing. They would have the opportunity to develop their own Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing. They were looking to bring forward a number of houses and of those, 2000 would be affordable so this was critical.


The Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations asked that they did not use affordable housing and social housing interchangeably. They were different types of housing and most members supported the idea of additional social housing which was different from affordable housing. In terms of the consultation she hoped that the consultation was in accessible form with an easy read version and a welsh version. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager Make replied that he had worked with the Engagement Team to develop a non-technical summary of the document and tried to make it as accessible as possible. The presentation of some tables was prescribed by Welsh Government so if negative feedback was received they would feed that back to WG. 


The Leader asked if they could reassure members that the transport infrastructure was at heart of the LDP and that it would serve the community and also the impact on nearby settlements. The public would also be asking about school places and education and the provision of primary health care etc. The Strategic Planning and Transportation Manager replied that in terms of large transport schemes these were identified in the documents. With regard to road infrastructure and the impact on local communities, a strategic document was being prepared to address this. This was a massive piece of work and still ongoing. In terms of new education facilities the thrust was towards large self-contained sights would could contain their own primary schools. Those sites would be appraised to ensure they could deliver. In terms of health facilities, they had engaged with the local health board to ensure that the level of growth proposed would have access to adequate medical facilities.    


RESOLVED:                That Cabinet:


a) Noted and approved the Supporting Evidence Base Documents described in the Table at Paragraph 4.27 of the Report;

b) Approved the Replacement Local Development Plan Deposit Draft for public consultation in June 2021 for a period of 8 weeks in accordance with the approved Development Agreement; and

c) Authorised the Corporate Director Communities and Group Manager - Planning & Development Services Development to make any final refinements to the consultation document, supporting background papers and technical evidence required prior to public consultation and to publish the Deposit Draft and carry out the public consultation.

Supporting documents: