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VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 25th January, 2012.

 

Present:  Councillor J. Clifford (Mayor); Councillors Ms. M.E. Alexander, Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff, R.J. Bertin, Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, Ms. B.E. Brooks, Mrs. J.E. Charles, P. Church, G.A. Cox, R.F. Curtis, Mrs. P. Drake, Ms. V.L. Ellis, C.P.J. Elmore, A.M. Ernest, J.F. Fraser, E. Hacker, A.D. Hampton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, N.P. Hodges, H.J.W. James, T.H. Jarvie, G. John, F.T. Johnson, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen, G.C. Kemp, Mrs. K.A. Kemp, Mrs. A.J. Moore, N. Moore, C.L. Osborne, Mrs. A.J. Preston, Mrs. M. Randall, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, J.W. Thomas, R.P. Thomas, R.L. Traherne, Mrs. D.M. Turner, Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson, A.C. Williams, Miss. S.J.C. Williams, M.R. Wilson and Ms. M. Wright.

 

 

825     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors J.C. Bird, S.C. Egan, K. Hatton, S.T. Wiliam, C.J. Williams and E.T. Williams.

 

 

826     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

Councillors G.A. Cox and R.L. Traherne declared an interest in the following item (Agenda Item No. 3 (a)) and left the meeting during consideration of the item.

 

 

827     ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

The Leader referred to the recent passing away of former Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Council, Barry Murray.  Members stood in silence as a mark of respect.

 

 

828     VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN: DEPOSIT PLAN (REF) -

 

A document comprising minor typographical changes and associated amendments to the Deposit Plan, proposals and Constraints Maps was tabled at the meeting.

 

Cabinet, on 4th January, 2012 considered and approved the Deposit Plan as a basis for a statutory six week public consultation exercise commencing in February 2012.

 

Since the endorsement by Cabinet of the Draft Preferred Strategy in February 2010, there had been a number of new issues which officers had taken into account when drafting the Deposit Plan. 

 

Firstly, in October 2010, the UK Government decided not to progress with the Defence Training College proposal at St. Athan.  Notwithstanding this decision, the UK Government maintained that St. Athan remained a key location for military and associated training activity.  In addition, in September 2011, St. Athan was designated as an Enterprise Zone, with a particular emphasis on the aerospace sector.  The Deposit Plan embraced this new designation with St. Athan continuing to be identified as a Strategic Opportunity Area (Strategic Policy 2 refers).

 

Secondly, the regional role of the Airport in respect of it being an important transport hub, together with it being an opportunity for inward business investment, had been more fully recognised in the Strategy itself, and also through Strategic Policy 5.  In addition, recent discussion with the Welsh Government had confirmed that land adjacent to the Airport was likely to be designated as part of the St. Athan Enterprise Zone.

 

Thirdly, there had been extensive developments in national and regional policies, as well as progressive initiatives on topics such as climate change, design, sustainable development and affordable housing.  There had also been additional statistics published in respect of the demographics for the Vale of Glamorgan, including new data on births, deaths and migration.  The Deposit Plan had taken on board this new information, with additional objectives and refinement of the Strategic Policies to ensure compliance with the latest planning guidance and to reflect the Council’s own aspirations for managing development during the Plan period.  In particular, Cabinet had noted the change to the Housing Requirement Figure (Strategic Policy 3 refers).  The Draft Preferred Strategy (December 2007) identified the need for 7,500 dwellings over the Plan period which equated to the Regional Housing Requirement Figure.  However, this figure had now increased to 9,950 in the Deposit Plan and was derived from the latest 2008 Welsh Government Local Authority projections and the Mid Year Estimates for 2009/10. 

 

The structure of the Deposit Plan largely reflected the guidance contained within the Welsh Government’s LDP Manual, and was as follows:

 

·         Introduction

·         National, Regional and Local Policy Context

·         The Spatial Profile of the Vale of Glamorgan

·         Vision and Objectives

·         LDP Strategy

·         Managing Development in the Vale of Glamorgan

·         Managing Growth in the Vale of Glamorgan

·         Delivery and Implementation

·         Measuring Success

·         Appendices

·         Proposals Map

·         Constraints Map.

 

A copy of the Deposit Plan had been placed in the Members’ Room and was also available on the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s website.

 

Cabinet had resolved,

 

(1)       T H A T the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal Report and the Habitats Regulation Assessment be approved for public consultation purposes.

 

(2)       T H A T a six week public consultation on the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal Report and the Habitats Regulation Assessment takes place during February and March 2012 and that any representations received after the close of the consultation period are not accepted and not regarded as duly made.

 

(3)       T H A T the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation, in consultation with the Director of Economic and Environmental Regeneration, be authorised to agree the arrangements for the public consultation exercise.

 

(4)       T H A T the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation be authorised, in consultation with the Director for Economic and Environmental Regeneration, to agree the final format of any necessary minor typographical changes and associated amendments to the Deposit Plan proposals and constraints maps.

 

(5)       T H A T, following the close of the consultation on the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal report and the Habitats Regulation Assessment, the Director of Economic and Environmental Regeneration be authorised to undertake a six week public consultation in respect of the Alternative Sites promoted for development through the Deposit period.

 

(6)       T H A T a further report be presented to Cabinet later in 2012 on the representations received to the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal Report, the Habitats Regulation Assessment and the alternative sites promoted through the Deposit period.

 

(7)       T H A T the Planning Committee and the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) be consulted on the Deposit Plan.

 

In introducing the item, the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation referred to the existing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) having been in place for a considerable time.  Legislation now required the Council to produce a Local Development Plan (LDP) with a defined methodology and timeframe.  Some slippage had occurred to the timeframe, given a judicial review relating to the promotion of Llandow Newydd, which the Council had succeeded in winning but which had resulted in a delay occurring.  There was a need to evidence and justify the background and policies in the LDP given it would be the key policy document for future development of the area.  Referring to Appendix 9, the Cabinet Member pointed out there had been many supporting studies and documents produced in 2011. 

 

A revised timetable for the production of a draft LDP had been agreed between the Council and the Welsh Government and this Council meeting was part of the process to deliver such on time. 

 

The allocation of land for recreation, employment and housing had been considered carefully and using the data outlined by Welsh Government advice and the Spatial Plan. 

 

Housing requirement was 9,950 units between 2012 and 2026 and the LDP made provision for this through Key Housing Sites and with a 10% contingency in addition.  The requirement was met through allocations, existing commitments and a contribution from windfall sites. 

 

The Cabinet Member referred Members to the list of contents at the beginning of the document which showed the true extent of the importance and range of issues covered.  Affordable housing had been included at a rate of a minimum of 30% with the higher value land areas being allocated at a minimum of 35%.  The greatest need was in Barry but it was considered that land in higher value areas e.g. north of the A48 had less of a need and so contributions via Section 106 agreements could be reallocated to be spent in the areas of highest need.  Allocation of the affordable units could be on a 'local need first' basis and this would meet existing need in a more acceptable way.

Substantial employment land had been allocated to meet the expansion needs of Barry and the airport especially as Cardiff Airport was now included in the Enterprise Zone with the Aerospace Business Park.  The allocation adjoining the original Airport Business Park had a line protected showing the possible route for a direct rail link to the airport.  This was not merely a 'wish list' but represented ongoing discussion with interested developers who felt they could deliver the infrastructure required.  The site of the spur off from the Vale line was ideally located being where one was previously utilised when one of the viaduct's pillars collapsed.

 

In Barry it was intended to allow for further growth of small and medium size businesses on the outskirts of Barry at Walters Farm.  Feedback from research had indicated that if businesses wished to grow they were currently forced to move outside the Vale; this should help address that.

 

The allocation of residential land had been spread across the Vale in sustainable locations and the affordable element should help to meet local proven need in the communities.

 

Additional land had been identified to extend Cosmeston Park and Porthkerry Park and the Cabinet Member believed this would be most welcomed by residents and visitors alike.

 

A feature of the UDP was the use of 'Green Wedges' and the LDP continued to make good use of these to protect communities from coalescing.  The Plan recognised what was known about the Vale and the national policy drivers.

 

Barry was the largest town and a key settlement in the Spatial Plan.  It was a business and commercial centre offering a wide range of employment opportunities.  The Enterprise Zone offered advantages for encouraging business and employment opportunities.

 

The overall ambition and vision for the Vale of Glamorgan County had been put into three sets of polices:

 

·         strategic or high level policies

·         managing development

·         managing growth.

 

In commending the draft LDP to Members, the Cabinet Member placed on record his congratulations and thanks to Rob Thomas, Head of Planning and Transportation and his Policy Team for all their hard work and diligence in bringing this document to such a high standard.

 

The Cabinet Member moved that the draft LDP be approved for formal consultation, in accordance with the resolutions of Cabinet of 4th January, 2012. 

 

Referring to the agenda, Councillor N. Moore, Leader of the Labour Group indicated that the Deposit Plan itself had not been included with the Cabinet agenda for 4th January.  He had assumed that the document would be made available to all Members along the lines of other policy documents such as the Corporate Plan and the Community Strategy.  However, he indicated that, despite setting the scene for planning in the Vale of Glamorgan up to 2026, the document had not been circulated, other than by means of a copy being placed in the Members' Room.  Alternatively, Councillors had been required to request a copy from officers.  He also alluded to difficulties in accessing the document electronically on the Council's website. 

 

Councillor Moore felt that Members had not had a reasonable opportunity to look at the document in order to reach a decision at the meeting.  He considered it to leave a lot of unanswered questions, with its basis and strategy also needing to be looked at.  He also felt there to be inaccuracies, omissions and inconsistencies which would require further consideration.  He alluded to the fact that there were no maps, including such elements as the Candidate Sites, attached. 

 

Councillor Moore questioned why there were no justifications as to why certain Candidate Sites had been accepted and others rejected.  He also questioned why there was no justification as to why the principles of the current UDP had been replaced.  He pointed out that settlement boundaries had been changed to encompass some Candidate Sites, but not others, with no justification for doing so. 

 

Councillor Moore alluded to some sites having been included for residential purposes, despite previously being designated as Special Landscape Areas and part of the Green Wedges that had been previously so carefully considered (e.g. at Weycock Cross and Culverhouse Cross). 

 

Councillor Moore pointed out that the original basis of the preferred Strategy in December 2007 had identified the need for 7,500 dwellings, compared to the Deposit Plan figure of 9,950 (an increase of approximately 25%), but with an expectation that the dwellings would still be found within Barry, the south east zone and St. Athan.  He considered this to be a 'tall order', especially without any consideration of the need for changes in the local infrastructure. 

 

He did not consider it acceptable to seek to agree the Deposit Plan at the meeting and pointed out that it would not be the Council, but the Planning Inspectorate for Wales that would make the final determination. 

 

Councillor Moore moved an amendment, which was duly seconded, that finalisation of the Deposit Plan for the LDP be deferred to allow proper scrutiny of the document, with the addition of maps and comprehensive justifications for the recommendations contained therein, and the ability to amend the document as had been the case previously.

 

Councillor Mrs. Randall, Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group concurred with many of Councillor Moore's comments.  Whilst personally in possession of a copy of the document, most of her Group were not.  Given the importance of the decisions being sought, she considered that all Members should be provided with a copy, together with a briefing session.

 

As far as the substance of the document was concerned, Councillor Mrs. Randall considered there to be many questions regarding the desirability/viability of various of the proposals.  She went on to summarise her concerns, which related to the LDP proposals for Dinas Powys and the potential adverse impact on the existing highway infrastructure, the absence of the provision of a by-pass road for Dinas Powys with improvements to the existing Baron’s Court junction and to the relevance of traffic and air quality data which would not be available until March 2012.  She further alluded to Barry Waterfront and the lack of reference to it within the LDP.  She pointed out that she required more time to digest the document. 

 

Councillor Elmore referred to the effects of the proposal to build a new school within the Waterfront Development.  He also queried why no land allocation for a cinema had been provided for within the Waterfront area.  He quoted various allocations for housing development, which totalled 1307 dwellings at the Candidate Sites dispersed between Weycock Cross and Culverhouse Cross.  He was of the view that the existing highway infrastructure of Port Road and Five Mile Lane was problematic in terms of not being suitable to cope with the developments envisaged. 

 

Referring to the proposed Barry Waterfront Link Road to Barry Island, Cllr. Elmore expressed concern that this would not be completed until Phase 3 of the development and did not consider this to be acceptable.  He also considered that the proposed 'Waterfront' school was likely to have a detrimental impact on existing schools in the vicinity of the proposal. 

 

Councillor John, Leader of the Independent Group, alluded to that fact that not all Members had been provided with copies and to the difficulty in accessing documentation on the Council's website.  He also considered that a briefing should be arranged for Members prior to any decision being reached.

 

Councillor Curtis also supported the suggestion of a briefing for Members and shared some of the earlier concerns expressed by Members regarding infrastructure (e.g. in respect of Port Road). 

 

Councillor Hodges considered that, for the document to be successful, it needed to be robust and 'owned' by all Members.  He expressed concerns regarding proposed developments on Barry Island given his previous understanding that such developments would only occur once Phase II of the Waterfront access had been completed.  However, given the current projected date for completion of the access was 2019, many of the additional developments would precede that date.  He, too, requested and supported the call for a Members' briefing.

 

Councillor Mrs. Wilkinson referred to issues regarding Cardiff Wales Airport and the lack of adequate access to the M4 motorway.  She referred to Port Road as already being heavily congested. 

 

Councillor Mrs. A. Moore felt some issues had been omitted, including Pencoedtre Woods and Victoria Park. 

 

Councillor Ms. Brooks expressed concerns regarding the apparent lack of reference to Dinas Powys and Llysworney By-Passes within the document.  She also felt there should be consideration of a rail station near Gileston or St. Athan.

 

The Leader pointed out that all Members who had requested copies had been provided with such.  He reminded Members of the Council's continuing desire to move away from a 'paper culture' and increase electronic means of communication and working.  He had personally accessed the information on-line and was aware of members of the public also doing so.  He quoted an example of a briefing having been requested by the Labour Group on an unrelated matter and, accordingly, being provided for Members.  A similar request could have, but had not been, made in this instance.

 

In conclusion, the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation alluded to the fact that, whilst some Members had indicated they had not seen the document, others were quoting specific details from the document.  He reiterated the Council's policy of reducing, wherever possible, the amount of paper used and increasing electronic availability of information.  No Members had consulted him previously regarding the possibility of a briefing and he was unaware of any request being made to Head of Planning and Transportation.  As far as Barry Island was concerned, he alluded to the arrangements in respect of planning permissions and associated Section 106 Agreements.  Regarding comments made in respect of provision for a school at the Waterfront, the Lifelong Learning Directorate had specifically identified the need for such provision.  This, in turn, was a key part of the planning approval/Section 106 process in respect of the Waterfront. 

 

The Cabinet Member indicated that the concept of a cinema provision at the Waterfront was not within the gift of the Council, but was a matter for developers.

 

As far as accessing the documentation was concerned, he found it difficult to understand why it could not be accessed from the website as he, himself, had done so.  He was also aware of members of the public who had similarly accessed it.  He reminded Members generally, especially those seeking deferral of the matter, that they could have requested a hard copy of the documentation.  He considered Members to be aware of the timescale required in order to meet the agreement with Welsh Government.  He acknowledged that feedback following consultation would be presented to the Council, with the eventual determination being a matter for the Planning Inspector. 

 

He considered it important that the Council had a robust policy, but with the inclusion of some flexibility.  In conclusion, he saw no reason to agree to a deferral of the matter.

 

Upon request by the required number of Members, a recorded vote took place in respect of Councillor Moore's amendment, with voting taking place as follows and it being

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the Motion be lost.

 

For the Motion

Against the Motion

Abstain

Councillor

Councillor

Councillor

Ms. M.E. Alexander

Mrs. J.E. Charles

 

Mrs. S.M. Bagstaff

P. Church

 

R.J. Bertin

J. Clifford

 

Mrs. M.E.J. Birch

Ms. V.L. Ellis

 

Ms. B.E. Brooks

A.M. Ernest

 

R.F. Curtis

J.F. Fraser

 

Mrs. P. Drake

A.D. Hampton

 

C.P.J. Elmore

H.J.W. James

 

E. Hacker

T.H. Jarvie

 

Mrs. V.M. Hartrey

Mrs. M. Kelly Owen

 

N.P. Hodges

G.C. Kemp

 

G. John

Mrs. K.A. Kemp

 

F.T. Johnson

C.L. Osborne

 

Mrs. A.J. Moore

Mrs. A.J. Preston

 

N. Moore

Mrs. S.I. Sharpe

 

Mrs. M. Randall

J.W. Thomas

 

Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson

R.P. Thomas

 

M.R. Wilson

Mrs. D.M. Turner

 

 

A.C. Williams

 

 

Miss. S.J.C. Williams

 

 

Ms. M. Wright.

 

18

21

 

 

RESOLVED - T H A T the proposals of the Cabinet, as set out in Cabinet Minute Number C1574, 4th January, 2012, be approved.

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