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PLANNING COMMITTEE

 

Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 17th October, 2013.

 

Present: Councillor F.T. Johnson (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. M.R. Wilkinson (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, Ms. R. Birch, Mrs. P. Drake, J. Drysdale, E. Hacker, H.C. Hamilton, Mrs. V.M. Hartrey, K. Hatton, N.P. Hodges, H.J.W. James, K.P. Mahoney, A. Parker, R.A. Penrose, A.G. Powell, E. Williams and M.R. Wilson.

 

Also present: Councillors L. Burnett, C.P.J. Elmore, G. John and N. Moore.

 

 

512     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors J.C. Bird, Mrs. M. Kelly Owen and Mrs. A.J. Preston.

 

 

513     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

514     VALE OF GLAMORGAN LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN DEPOSIT DRAFT PLAN 2011 – 2026 (REF) –

 

Prior to the consideration of the reference, Members of the Committee received a presentation on the Deposit Draft Plan from Emma Reed, Operational Manager, Development Services.

 

The presentation, aided with the assistance of an interactive map, itemised the proposed timetable for the Plan.  Cabinet, on 7th October 2013, had approved the process that would be undertaken and had referred the report to the Committee for consideration with any initial comments being requested to be reported back to Cabinet for its meeting on 21st October, 2013.  The Director confirmed that the statutory consultation period of the Draft Plan, if agreed by Council on 23rd October 2013, would commence from the first week of November 2013 to the end of December 2013 as it was subject to a six week public consultation period.

 

Committee were advised of a series of informal sessions being held for the public to attend and ask questions of representatives of the Council.

 

Following consideration of the presentation, Committee received the reference from Cabinet of 7th October 2013.

 

Cabinet, on 7th October 2013, received a report which sought approval for the Vale of Glamorgan Local Deposit Plan to be a basis for a statutory six week public consultation exercise commencing in November, 2013.

 

Part 6 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 placed a duty on each local authority in Wales to prepare a Local Development Plan (LDP).  The Town and Country Planning (Local Development Plan) (Wales) Regulations 2005 prescribed the form and content of the LDP and made provision for the procedure to be followed in its preparation.

 

The Deposit Plan provided a sustainable land use framework to guide the growth and ensure the environmental protection of the Vale of Glamorgan over the 15 year period from 2011 to 2026.  Following adoption, the LDP would be used to guide and control development and investment within the authority, providing a basis for consistent and appropriate decision making.

 

The LDP Regulations require the Local Planning Authority to prepare an 'initial consultation report' detailing the results of the Draft Preferred Strategy consultation and this document would be made available alongside the Deposit Plan during the public consultation period.  That Consultation report would be a summary of the main issues raised as a result of the consultation undertaken on the Draft Preferred Strategy, and reflected the details provided in the report to Cabinet on 3rd February 2010.  A copy of the Initial Consultation report was available via: www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/ldp.

 

As a result of the Council's decision to prepare a replacement Deposit LDP the Welsh Government approved an amended LDP timetable on 28th June 2013.  The revised timetable showed the Deposit Plan being subject to a statutory six week public consultation in September / October 2013 and showed an indicative adoption date of January 2017.

 

Since the approval of the Draft Strategy in early 2010 and the Council's decision to prepare a Replacement Deposit Plan in January 2013 there had been a number of significant changes to the Deposit Plan.

 

In October 2010, the UK Government decided not to proceed with the proposed Defence Training College at St. Athan.  Notwithstanding this decision, the UK Government maintained that St. Athan remained a key location for military and associated training activity.   St. Athan to Cardiff Airport had also been designated as an Enterprise Zone, with a particular emphasis on the aerospace sector.  The Deposit Plan fully embraced this designation with St Athan being identified as a suitable area for mixed land uses to include large employment and housing allocations as well as accompanying infrastructure and the Airport being an important transport hub together with it being an opportunity for inward business investment (Strategic Policy SP 2 refers).

 

There had also been extensive developments in national and regional policy, 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 demographics for the Vale of Glamorgan, including parts of the 2011 Census and 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, 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 derived from the 2008 based Welsh Government Local Authority projections.  This figure had also considered the statistics that had been released for the 2011 Census as well as the latest 2011 population projections.  Full details on this could be found in the Housing Supply Background Paper (2013) at www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/ldp.

 

Perhaps of most significance was the fact that this Deposit Draft Plan comprehensively identified and allocated land for the services and facilities that would be needed to support the additional residential and employment growth to 2026.  This Deposit Plan contained significantly more detail and evidence than its predecessor on where new educational facilities (Policy MG 6), new Community Facilities (Policy MG 7), new health facilities (Policy MG 8), new transport proposals (Policies SP 7 and MG 16) and new open space allocations (Policy MG 25) were required as a result of the additional housing and employment allocations.

 

Deposit Plan Structure

The structure of the Deposit Plan largely reflected the guidance contained within the Welsh Government’s LDP Manual (June 2006) 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 Growth in the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Managing Development in the Vale of Glamorgan
  • Delivery and Implementation
  • Measuring Success
  • Appendices
  • Proposals Map
  • Constraints Map.

 

Housing

In terms of housing, the Deposit Plan would allocate land for the provision of 10,450 (9,950 plus a reserve site of 500 units) new dwellings over the Plan period.  The 9,950 dwellings would comprise allocations of 7,329 dwellings on 45 sites, plus the reserve housing site of 500 units.  The remainder of the dwellings would be provided by the development of sites with extant planning permissions (175 at April 2011), and by the development of unallocated windfall sites (2,448 dwellings).  In order to ensure the efficient use of land, a minimum density of 30 dwellings per hectare would be required, save for the minor rural settlements where a density of 25 dwellings per hectare would generally apply.

 

Residential Settlement Boundaries

The Deposit LDP had defined residential settlement boundaries around the key settlement of Barry, the service centre settlements and the primary settlements in order to protect their setting and encourage brown field development opportunities.  Development outside of these identified settlement boundaries would only be permitted where it consisted of either small-scale rounding off of the settlement or for affordable housing which responded appropriately to its local context.  A more flexible approach was applied in the minor rural settlements, where no residential settlement boundaries were identified in order to consider on a case by case basis any future limited and appropriate opportunities for infilling and rounding off.

 

Affordable Housing

The Local Housing Market Assessment (2010) revealed that a significant proportion of the Vale of Glamorgan’s population was unable to meet their housing needs through the private housing market.  In order to help address this issue, the Deposit Plan would expand opportunities to maximise the provision of affordable housing in respect of both social rented and low cost housing for sale.  This would be achieved by setting percentage targets for sites (policy MG 4 refers), promoting the re-use / rehabilitation of existing older housing stock and through the implementation of a 'rural exceptions’ policy (policy MD 6 refers).

 

Employment

The Deposit LDP provided land for the development of employment allocations of both strategic and local importance.  The strategic employment land allocations included the development of land at the proposed aerospace business park, St. Athan, land to the south of Junction 34 of the M4 near Hensol and land adjacent to Cardiff Airport and Port Road, Rhoose.  Local employment allocations included the development of land on a range of sites throughout the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Transportation

The Deposit LDP favoured a large number of transport improvements that serve the economic, social and environmental needs of the Vale of Glamorgan and promoted the objectives of the Regional Transport Plan.  In particular, the Plan supported the ongoing implementation of the National Cycle Network Route 88 which generally ran in an east west direction through the Vale of Glamorgan, several bus prioritisation improvements, as well as identifying the electrification of the Vale of Glamorgan Railway Line.  A new Barry Island Link Road was proposed as part of the Barry Waterfront development proposals which would help to reinforce existing links. Further proposals included a northern access road in connection with employment and residential proposals at St Athan, as well as a new road link between the A48 and Llantwit Major Road as part of a residential allocation at Cowbridge and road improvements to the Cross Common junction Dinas Powys and to the north of the A48 at Bonvilston.  The Deposit Plan also recognised the need for improvements on Five Mile Lane and the B4265 at Gileston Old Mill in order to facilitate access to the St. Athan to Cardiff Airport Enterprise Zone.

 

Retail

The Deposit Plan allocated land for convenience retail development at the Barry Waterfront strategic site. 

 

Waste Management

The Deposit Plan identified three preferred sites for the development of waste management solutions to meet the Vale of Glamorgan’s requirements identified in the Regional Waste Plan (2008).  New waste management facilities may also be permitted on suitable existing and allocated B2 employment sites in accordance with national planning guidance.

 

Minerals

The Deposit Plan sought to provide for a continuous supply of Minerals throughout the Plan period.  It also provided a Policy to consider proposals during the Plan period for the extraction of Minerals as well as outlining how applications for the exploration of shale gas would be considered.

 

Tourism

The Deposit Plan encouraged proposals which sought to promote the Vale of Glamorgan as an all year round tourism and leisure destination, with a particular emphasis on Barry.  In rural areas, sustainable tourism was encouraged, in particular rural diversification which helped to support the local economy.  In addition to further enhance the offer of quality bed spaces in the Vale, land was allocated at Cottrell Park Golf Course for a major new hotel and luxury Spa.

 

Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) of the Vale of Glamorgan LDP Deposit Plan

In accordance with the EC Habitats Directive, the Council had previously undertaken a screening exercise to establish whether the LDP was likely to have a significant effect on European sites of nature conservation importance.  The Vale of Glamorgan contained the Dunraven Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and its boundary formed part of the Severn Estuary Special Protection Areas (SPA).  Other European Sites that could potentially be affected by the LDP within adjacent local authority areas and which were considered in this report and Kenfig (SAC) Cefn Cribwr Grasslands (SAC), Blackmill Woodlands (SAC) and Cardiff Beech Woods (SAC).

 

Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Report

Although the SA / SEA and LDP preparation were separate processes, it was essential that they were well integrated.  The SA / SEA process needed to inform the LDP process to ensure that the adopted LDP was one that promoted sustainable development.  ODPM / WG guidance (2005) stated that the SA / SEA process was an iterative one that needed to guide the development of the LDP.  In accordance with the guidance, the Council had prepared a Sustainability Appraisal Report, which tested the LDP Deposit Plan against the Sustainability Appraisal framework and which built upon the previous assessment work of the 2012 Deposit Plan, and had concluded that the Deposit Plan was a more sustainable Plan than its predecessor.  A copy of the SA Report was available at www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/ldp

 

Next stage

When the Council consulted on the Deposit Plan, it must advertise the consultation in accordance with the LDP Regulations and notify those parties identified in the Community Involvement Scheme (including statutory consultees), allowing six weeks for representations to be made.  The approved Delivery Agreement (June 2013) showed that the public consultation was to have taken place during September and October 2013.  However, it was envisaged that the Deposit Plan consultation would commence in early November 2013 and continue into December 2013.  It was imperative that the six week consultation period closes before the Christmas break to allow a clear, uninterrupted six week period.  As a consequence it was envisaged that consultation would commence during the first full week of November and current indications suggested that consultation would commence on 8th November, 2013.  The consultation would include communication with all those individuals and organisations that were included within the Council's LDP data base, placing copies of the Deposit Plan on the Council's web site and at Deposit locations and issuing press releases relating to the same.  In addition it was proposed to undertake various staffed exhibitions across the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Those making representations on the Deposit Plan would be encouraged to do so on a standard form, setting out clearly any supporting representation or objection. Objectors would also be required to indicate what test(s) of soundness the Plan was considered to fail, and indicated what changes to the Plan were sought.  This information would inform the Inspector’s consideration of the soundness of the LDP, including implications for the sustainability appraisal.

 

All representations received by the Council that sought to change the Deposit Plan by adding a new site, or by altering or deleting a proposed site, must be advertised by the Council as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of the six week consultation period, allowing a further six week period for representations to be made on them.  It was envisaged that this consultation on the "alternative sites" stage would be undertaken during 2014, with the specific date being confirmed nearer the time.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation explained that she was extremely pleased in bringing this report forward.

 

The Director of Development Services commented that there would be a statutory consultation period of six weeks held between November and December 2013.  He further commented that the consultation period could not be more or less than the statutory six weeks and due to the specific regulations any comments made before or after this period would not be taken into account.

 

In referring to recommendation 7, the Director made reference the fact that the comments of Scrutiny, Planning and Community Liaison Committees would be brought before Cabinet in due course.

 

Cabinet had resolved – 

 

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

 

(2)       That a six week public consultation on the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal Report and the Habitats Regulation Assessment takes place prior to Christmas, during November and December 2013 and that any representations received after the close of the consultation period are not accepted and not regarded as duly made.

 

(3)       That the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, be authorised to agree the arrangements for the public consultation exercise.

 

(4)       That the Director of Development Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, be authorised to make any necessary minor typographical changes and associated amendments to the Deposit Plan proposals and constraints maps as well as the associated background documents.

 

(5)       That following the close of the public consultation on the Deposit Plan, the Sustainability Appraisal report, and the Habitats Regulation Assessment, the Director of Development Services be authorised to undertake a six week public consultation in respect of any alternative sites promoted for development through the Deposit period.

 

(6)       That a further report be presented to Cabinet in 2014 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)       That the Planning Committee, the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) and the Community Liaison Committee be consulted on this report.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1&2)  To ensure that the LDP is prepared in accordance with the LDP Delivery Agreement (June 2013) and to satisfy the requirements of the LDP Regulations.

 

(3)       To facilitate the preparation of the Vale of Glamorgan LDP.

 

(4)       To facilitate the preparation and accuracy of the Vale of Glamorgan LDP.

 

(5)       To ensure that the LDP is prepared in accordance with the LDP Delivery Agreement (June 2013) and to satisfy the requirements of the LDP Regulations.

 

(6)       To ensure that Cabinet are kept informed of progress on this matter.

 

(7)       To ensure members of the Planning Committee, the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) and the Community Liaison Committee are consulted.

 

Questions and comments raised were as detailed below:

 

Question

Response

What references are there within the draft Plan in relation to areas of special interest?

There is no specific policy for these areas.  They would be assessed on a case by case basis. 

It was noted that paragraph 7.38 of the document stated that 'the precautionary approach and the Council encourages developers to assess any impact at the earliest stage, so that development proposals reduce any impact present to an acceptable level'.  A Member enquired how this would apply to any applications for fracking.

Any applications which were considered to be acceptable would have conditions attached to them, and in the case of any applications that were considered to be unacceptable, the precautionary principles would be applied.  Furthermore, Welsh Government guidelines stated that Planning Authorities should not duplicate any controls which could be applied by any other bodies.

The view was expressed that this version of the draft Local Development Plan represented a massaged version of the previous document, and concerns were expressed about the sections relating to employment, in particular St. Athan and Cardiff Airport.  Furthermore, concerns were expressed about the reserve site in Sully, and the travellers’ site. 

Employment sites related to Government policy and the Enterprise Zone between Cardiff Airport and St. Athan existed.  In terms of employment, the Council’s policy must take account of the Government policy. 

 

In relating to Junction 34 (Miskin), it was recognised that the 'Bosch site' had been taken over. 

 

Regarding the reserve site in Sully, the Council had looked at the most sustainable sites and had felt that this one was the most appropriate.  It was classed as 'reserve' because the Council needed to provide a contingency for housing development.  The Council did not wish to over-provide, but the reserve site may have to be brought forward.

 

Regarding the travellers’ site, the Plan contained evidence of the need for the site, based on an assessment.  It was considered that the site was sustainable. 

A Member referred to the concerns expressed by the Director of Beachwood College about the siting of the travellers’ site.

 

Reference was also made to the proximity of the chemical works to the travellers’ site. 

 

The Wales Coastal Footpath was near to the proposed travellers’ site.

 

Reference was also made to suggestions that the site would be used for the provision of allotments.

Members were advised that when subject to consultation, the draft Deposit Plan would be subject to proposals from consultees on alternative sites.  Following the end of the consultation period, all alternative suggestions would be recorded on a data base and an 'alternative sites register' would be prepared.  It was inevitable that new sites would emerge.  These would be consulted upon and may well form part of the Local Development Plan.  The process of looking at alternative sites was part of the statutory process. 

Rhoose Point was originally granted planning permission, including the use of S106 uses and some land was retained for retail use but the draft Local Development Plan shows the land as 'white' which means that it could be used for any purpose.  Rhoose had grown significantly over the past 20 years yet no provision existed for retail use. 

The 'white' site was originally zoned for retail.  The draft Plan did not zone this as no further need for retail use had been envisaged.  Should the community feel differently, this could be promoted as an alternative site.  The presence of outline consent would be a significant material factor. 

There were two large caravan sites in the Rhoose ward.  The previous Plan offered protection of the coastal belt from further caravan site development.  The current draft document did not offer any such protection.

Policy MD14 within the draft Plan attempted to promote tourist and leisure facilities. 

Paragraph 5.74 of the draft Plan refers to the SEWTA Bus Strategy (2007) which included proposals to improve the bus corridor between the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff along the primary road network and it was asked if this Strategy document was available for inspection.  Furthermore, in referring to suggestions to improve the bus corridor from Llandough to Cardiff, the question was asked how much further improvement could take place without the demolition of properties. 

The Strategy document was available on the SEWTA website.  Regarding the future extension of the bus lane, there had been a study which suggested that the bus corridor should meet up with Cardiff’s Penarth Road proposals.  These proposals were in their early stages. 

The Merrie Harrier junction definitely required improvement and this was alluded to on page 82 of the draft Plan. 

More detailed feasibility studies would have to be undertaken.  No further information was available at present.

Paragraph 5.42 of the draft Plan quoted the need for 9,950 additional residential units over the Plan period and the question was asked if this figure was achievable given the vagaries of the market.

The figure was based on household projections and was a large target. 

Questions were asked as to the capacity of the Cog Moors waste treatment works to cope with future developments in the area.

Any future developments would require an upgrade of the waste treatment works. 

 

With no further comments, it was subsequently moved, seconded and

 

RESOLVED – T H A T the decisions of Cabinet be noted.

 

Reason for decision

 

Having considered the presentation, the report and the Deposit Draft Plan and the arrangements for the public consultation exercise.

 

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