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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 16 November, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Revision of Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Retail Centre Development and Technical Advice Note 4: Retail Centre Development

Purpose of the Report

  1. This report has been prepared to advise Cabinet of the Welsh Government's consultation and proposed revision of national planning policy in relation to retailing and retail centres.
  2. The draft policy documents and consultation have resulted from research work undertaken on behalf of the Welsh Government in 2014 which made 15 recommendations for the revision of planning policy in Wales on retail and town centres.

Recommendations

  1. That subject to consideration by Cabinet, this report and the completed consultation response form attached at Appendix 1 is endorsed as the Council's formal response to the Welsh Government consultation on Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Retail Centre Development and Technical Advice Note 4: Retail Centre Development.
  2. That the report be referred to Planning Committee for information.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To obtain Cabinet's endorsement of the response submitted to the Welsh Government consultation on Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Retail Centre Development and Technical Advice Note 4: Retail Centre Development.
  2. To advise Planning Committee of the public consultation.

Background

  1. The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring that retail centres continue to thrive despite challenging economic circumstances. Across Government there are a number of ongoing initiatives which seek to make retail centres the focal point for retailing, commercial, business and social activities.
  2. The planning system can play a significant role in supporting retail centres through their promotion as a sustainable location for retail development and by resisting inappropriate development which would draw trade and foot fall away from those centres making them vulnerable to decline.
  3. The proposed revision and public consultation has resulted from work undertaken on behalf of the Welsh Government by Genecon in 2014 into the appropriateness of current national planning policy in achieving the Welsh Government's aspirations for town centres. The study forms part of a wider review of the Welsh planning system and was intended to inform a review of current national planning policies in so far as they relate to retail development and town centres.
  4. The Welsh Government consultation seeks views on a revision of Planning Policy Wales (PPW) Chapter 10 Planning for Retail and Town Centres which sets out national planning policy in respect of retailing and retail centres and on a new version of Technical Advice Note (TAN) 4: Retailing and Town Centres which supports PPW. Together the proposed revisions will ensure that Wales' national retail planning policies remain fit for purpose.
  5. The consultation documents were issued on 3rd September 2015 and responses are required by 26th November 2015. The consultation documents can be viewed on the Welsh Government website via the following link:

http://gov.wales/consultations/planning/proposed-changes-to-ppw-and-tan-4/?lang=en

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. PPW promotes established retail centres as the most appropriate locations for retailing and other complementary functions. The aim of the review is to update PPW Chapter 10 and TAN4 so that they are in line with the Welsh Government objective to enhance the vitality, attractiveness and viability of established retail centres. The main changes to chapter 10 of PPW and TAN 4 are summarised below.

Planning Policy Wales : Chapter 10 Retail Centre Development

  1. The principal areas of change in PPW are:
  • Revised objectives for retail planning policy including the need for flexibility in responding to market changes;
  • Stronger emphasis on the need for retail policies to be framed by a retail strategy in Local Development Plans (LDPs) which is complemented by masterplans and place plans to assist in the delivery of the strategy;
  • The requirement for LDPs to set-out a locally-derived hierarchy of centres;
  • Clearer guidance on uses subject to the sequential test; and,
  • Revised policies for dealing with new uses and centres undergoing change and a consistent approach to terminology.

Technical Advice Note 4; Retail centre Development

  1. The revision to TAN 4 is comprehensive and it now reflects and supports the guidance set out in the updated draft of PPW Chapter 10 as detailed above. TAN4 provides further technical advice on the following topic areas:
  • Retailing objectives;
  • Centre hierarchies;
  • Retail strategies;
  • Master plans and place plans;
  • Retail needs tests;
  • The sequential test;
  • Retail frontages;
  • Changes of use and development management;
  • Local Development Orders; and,
  • Monitoring indicators.
  1. The Vale of Glamorgan Council welcomes the revisions to the Welsh Government's guidance on retail development and supports the objective to increase diversity and reduce vacancies through the proposed changes. Notwithstanding this support, in response to the specific consultation questions, the Council has made a number of comments which it hopes will assist the Welsh Government in developing a robust policy framework in respect of retail development. Full details of these comments are set out in Appendix 1 but in summary these include:
  • The guidance identifies retail centres are sustainable locations in which to live but does not provide any detail on the potential residential opportunities above commercial units or in redundant commercial buildings.
  • Support for the production of master plans and/or strategies for retail centres to support regeneration initiatives/objectives to improve viability and vitality.
  • Greater inclusion of disabled groups when considering access within and around town centres.
  • The positive impact that residential property e.g. above retail premises, can make on reducing the risk of crime.
  • The impact of major retail developments in adjoining local authority areas.
  • Agreement on the sequential test for retail developments.
  • Agreement that an over emphasis on the retention of A1uses in centres may undermine the centre's viability and that there should be consideration of individual circumstances as seeking to retain such uses and the resultant vacant premises could undermine the retail centre.
  • Consideration of improved guidance on tertiary frontages which mark a transition between the retail and adjoining areas.
  • The revised guidance should be more prescriptive on how to establish need and how to test new development against need.
  • The revised guidance does not provide sufficient detail on Retail Impact Assessments and what they should include.
  • In respect of alternative uses, the guidance could refer to recent trends for alternative uses such as gymnasiums and play centres and whether such uses should be considered acceptable.
  • The impact of the revised guidance on LPA resources, particularly in relation to the maintenance of detailed monitoring indicators in respect of vitality and viability.
  • The revised guidance is silent on the use of s106/CIL to assist with the rejuvenation of retail centres.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The response to the consultation has been formulated by officers within the Planning and Transportation Division within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. Vibrant and attractive district, town and neighbourhood centres play an important role in providing sustainable communities and reduces the need to travel for goods and services. Ensuring an appropriate mix of retail provision allied to other services in retail centres can enhance the use of more sustainable modes of transport and therefore contribute to reducing the causes of climate change.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. PPW and TANs set out the Welsh Government's planning objectives across a range of topic areas. Local authorities should develop through their community strategies and development plans clear strategies and policies for the contributing to achieving these objectives. There are no specific Human Rights implications of this report however the protection and improvement of the district, town and neighbourhood shopping centres throughout the Vale of Glamorgan will benefit all sectors of the community.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The Vale of Glamorgan Adopted Unitary Development Plan (1996-2011) and the emerging Local Development Plan (2011 - 2026) both contain policies which seek to create accessible and safe built environments.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. The protection and improvement of the district, town and neighbourhood shopping centres throughout the Vale of Glamorgan will benefit all sectors of the community.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The protection and improvement of the district, town and neighbourhood shopping centres of the Vale of Glamorgan is a primary objective of the emerging Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan. Vibrant and attractive retail centres will also support the achievement of objectives in other Council policy documents including Planning and Working Together, the Vale of Glamorgan Community Strategy.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. PPW sets the context for sustainable land use planning policy within which Local Authorities' statutory Local Development Plans (LDPs) are prepared and development control decisions on individual planning applications and appeals are made. PPW is supplemented by a suite of topic based TANs and procedural guidance is contained within circulars and policy clarification letters.
  2. It is important that planning policy continues to evolve to accommodate changing circumstances. Accordingly, the Welsh Government (WG) continually monitors PPW and TANs in relation to their objectives for Wales and when necessary, publishes updated national planning guidance.
  3. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No specific consultation with Ward Members has been undertaken

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Consultation Document - Revision of Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Retail Centre

Development and Technical Advice Note 4: Retail Centre Development

Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Planning for Retail and Town Centres

Draft Technical Advice Note 4: Retail Centre Development

Contact Officer

John Marks -Senior Planner, Planning Policy

Officers Consulted

Operational Manager Legal - Committee Reports

Senior Accountant

Operational Manager Regeneration

Principal Planner Applications

Principal Regeneration Officer

Principal Planner S106

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Managing Director

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