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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 4th January, 2012

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation

 

Welsh Government (WG) Consultation Regarding a Strategic Monitoring Framework for the Planning System

 

Purpose of the Report

1.             To consider and approve the Councils response to a consultation by the Welsh Government on the introduction of a new strategic monitoring framework for the Planning System.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet notes the content of the report and approves the response attached at Appendix A and that the response be forwarded to the Welsh Government in response to the consultation exercise.

2.             That a copy of this report be forwarded to the Planning Committee for information purposes.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To enable the Council to respond to the consultation exercise.

2.             To keep Planning Committee informed of the response to consultation.

 

Background

2.             In 2009 the, then Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), published the Sustainable Development Scheme One Wales: One Planet which set out its vision of a sustainable Wales. It identified the planning system as one of four key elements that underpin delivering sustainable development in Wales. In this document the WAG advised that it would:

“initiate, in consultation with local government, a strategic monitoring framework to measure key sustainable development outcomes delivered by the planning system.”

3.             WG has now commissioned research to help decide how this strategic monitoring framework could be implemented. The research has been completed and WG are now consulting on a strategic monitoring framework to measure the contribution the planning system makes to their vision of a sustainable Wales.

4.             WG are seeking the views of Local Planning Authorities on:

·               their approach to measuring the contribution of the planning system to the vision of a sustainable Wales;

·               each of the proposed indicators;

·               the phasing and reporting levels of the new framework;

·               the consolidation of existing measures;

·               the impacts on local planning authorities; and

·               the reporting arrangements for the framework.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The attached consultation form at Appendix A sets out the proposed substantive response from the Council.

6.             The response advises that in general terms, the extremely onerous additional recording, surveying and statistical analysis proposed in the consultation is ill advised given the likely staffing and financial implications, at this time of competing priorities and financial restraint.

7.             Moreover it is recommended that the vast majority of the information being sought can be obtained from slight amendments to existing returns, rather than seeking whole scale new tranches of statistics to be provided as part of a completely new statistical return.

8.             In some cases the information is not and cannot be recorded by the Council and in other cases it appears that WG is expecting the Council to assume the responsibility for reporting information that was previously undertaken by other agencies.

9.             Overall the consultation response advises that the proposals appear an unfair and unnecessary burden on Local Councils and will generate significantly higher work load at a time when Local Planning Authorities are faced with competing priorities and meeting existing targets with reduced budgets.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment and Climate Change, if appropriate)

10.        There is significant resource and financial implication arising from this consultation as it is likely that the proposal could involve a requirement for additional staff or the appointment of outside surveying agencies, simply to produce statistical returns.  This is highly regrettable at a time when there is ongoing, almost continuous debate as to how the planning system can be made more responsive.  This also comes at time when WG are seeking to achieve a full coverage of Local Development Plans for Wales.  The fascination with the collection of statistical data takes resources away from the core function of the Council as Local Planning Authority. 

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.        None directly arising out of this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

12.        None directly attributable to this report or the subject matter.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

13.        None directly attributable to the report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

14.        The land use planning system links directly to the Council's Objectives of Regeneration and the Environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

15.        This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

16.        None undertaken, as the report does not consider issues relating to specific wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

17.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

WG Consultation - A Strategic Monitoring Framework for the Planning System.

 

Contact Officer

Rob Thomas - Head of Planning and Transportation - Tel: 01446 704621.

 

Officers Consulted

Director of Finance, ICT and Property

Committee Reports - Legal

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration

 

 

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