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Agenda Item No.

 

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 24 MARCH 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 9 FEBRUARY 2015

 

C2633         PUBLICATION OF REVISED WELSH GOVERNMENT TECHNICAL ADVICE NOTE (TAN) 1 JOINT HOUSING LAND AVAILABILITY STUDIES (2015) (RIPT) (SCRUTINY COMMITTEE – ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) –

 

Members were advised of the publication of Technical Advice Note (TAN) 1: Joint Housing Land Availability Studies by the Welsh Government attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

Joint Housing Land Availability Studies (JHLAS) were the principal mechanism for monitoring the supply of housing land through the planning system. JHLAS demonstrated whether local planning authorities had a deliverable five-year supply of land for housing as required by Welsh Government policy (Planning Policy Wales, paragraph 9.2.3). Failure to have a five-year housing land supply was an important material consideration that was taken into account by Planning Inspectors when determining planning appeals for residential schemes.

 

The Welsh Government considered that up-to-date Local Development Plans (LDP’s) were critical for ensuring that the homes needed were delivered.  The planning system, through the LDP process, must provide the land that was required, allowed for new home building.  Appropriate monitoring of housing land supply was a very important element of ensuring that this was achieved.  The Welsh Government had therefore undertaken the review of TAN1 to align the JHLAS and LDP monitoring processes, and secondly incentivise the preparation and adoption of LDPs.

 

The Council’s formal response to the consultation on the draft TAN 1 was reported to Cabinet on the 8 September, 2014 (Minute C2445 refers) and to Planning Committee on the 2 October, 2014 (Minute 464 refers).  In that response, serious concerns were raised regarding the proposals to change the manner in which housing land supply was calculated and that only authorities with an adopted LDP would be able to undertake a JHLAS calculation.  Following the consultation process the Welsh Government had now issued an interim copy of the revised TAN1 guidance.

 

A key change to the revised TAN1 guidance was that the use of JHLAS to evidence housing land supply was now limited to only those Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) that had in place either an adopted Local Development Plan or an adopted Unitary Development Plan (UDP) that was still within the plan period. 

 

The adopted Vale of Glamorgan UDP expired on 1 April, 2011, and Council officers were currently preparing for submission of the LDP to Welsh Government for independent Examination by an appointed Inspector, which was timetabled to take place from August 2015.  As a consequence of the revised TAN 1 guidance it was not until the Council had formally adopted its LDP that the Council would be able to produce its annual JHLAS report.  Under the Council’s LDP Delivery Agreement, adoption of the LDP was anticipated to take place in September/October 2016.  Local Planning Authorities that did not have either an adopted LDP or UDP would be unable to formally demonstrate its housing land supply position and would effectively be considered not to have a five year housing land supply.

 

The Council was however required to undertake an annual “objective assessment†of its housing land supply in preparation of its LDP, and would be required to “demonstrate that there was a five-year housing land supply at the time the plan was adopted and the latest approved JHLAS can be used as an important piece of evidence†outlined in the TAN 1 paragraph 3.2 attached as Appendix 1 to the report.

 

Welsh Government had advised that since the assessment would not be subject to the normal JHLAS process it would not carry the same weight for planning purposes as a formal study.  Nevertheless, officers would need to assess how planning proposals would contribute to both supporting delivery of the emerging LDP and the provision of a 5 year housing land supply on its adoption, and these were themselves considered to be important material considerations.

 

In this respect, Planning Policy Wales (PPW) (section 2.6) remarked on what would happen in instances where the local development plan was not yet adopted.  Paragraph 2.6.2 of PPW advised that in development management decisions the weight to be attached to an emerging draft LDP would in general depend on the stage it had reached. In considering what weight to give to specific policies in an emerging LDP that apply to a particular proposal, local planning authorities would need to consider carefully the underlying evidence and background to the policies.  National planning policy could also be a material consideration in these circumstances (see section 4.2 of PPW).

 

On the basis of the revised TAN1 requirement for housing land supply to be calculated using only the residual method, this being the remaining years of the LDP divided by the remaining outstanding dwelling requirement, the Council’s housing land supply as of 1 April, 2014 would be 2.2 years, when compared against a 7.3 year supply using the past build rate calculation.  Although it should be noted that since April 2014, the Council had approved a number of major applications and officers anticipated that the Council’s housing land supply (based on the residual method) would increase once the 2014-2015 informal objective assessment had been completed.

 

Given that the Council was faced with a less than 5 year housing land supply, and its inability to formally participate in the JHLAS process, it was inevitable that until the Council had formally adopted its LDP, the Vale of Glamorgan would be at risk of speculative development applications as was the case during 2012/13 when the Council’s JHLAS had a less than 5 year housing land supply.  This concern was clearly raised by the Council in its formal submission to the Welsh Government draft TAN1 consultation in the Autumn 2014, as referenced via the following link:

 

http://www.valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/council/minutes,_agendas_and_reports/reports/cabinet/2014/14-09-08/Welsh-Government-Consultation-Draft-Technical-Advice-Note-.aspx

 

It was notable that similar concerns were also raised by the Welsh Local Government Association during the consultation period these were attached at Appendix 1 to the report  and the Royal Town Planning Institute attached at Appendix 2 to the report.

 

In terms of the position following the adoption of the LDP, Welsh Government had advised that where this occurred after the annual JHLAS study base date of 1 April the housing land supply figure evidenced during the LDP Examination, which would have been the subject of independent examination, would be the housing land supply figure until the next JHLAS process commenced in the following April.  For the Vale of Glamorgan LDP this would be 1 April, 2017 where adoption of the Plan takes place in late 2016 as set out in the Council’s LDP Delivery Agreement.

 

At the meeting the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation commented that the Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP) due to be submitted was more sustainable than the previous administration’s submission.   However, she further commented that whilst the Council waited for approval of the LDP submission from the Inspector, in due course, there was a real danger that the Council would receive planning applications that were not sustainable.

 

In addition the Director of Development Services commented that the Council had a seven year plus land supply that would be reduced to zero overnight under the new Technical Advice Note. In acknowledging the need for a suite of Local Development Plans across Wales, the process of producing a Local Development Plan was time consuming and reliant on timescales for consultation set down in statute.  As a result, developing an LDP was not a quick process and until adoption of the Plan the Council would be at risk from unsustainable planning applications.

 

This was a matter for Executive decision

 

RESOLVED –

 

(1)       T H A T the implications of the revised Technical Advice Note (TAN) 1 – Joint Housing Local Authority Studies issued by Welsh Government attached at Appendix 1 to the report be noted with regret.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to Planning Committee and Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) for information.

 

(3)       T H A T the Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation make strong representations to Welsh Government at Ministerial level as to the consequences of (TAN) 1 on the proper planning of the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To note the publication of Technical Advice Note (TAN) 1 Joint Housing Land Availability Studies, and the key planning implications for the Vale of Glamorgan as a result of the new guidance.

 

(2)       To advise the Planning Committee and the Scrutiny Committee (Economy and Environment) of the result of the recent public consultation, and to advise Members of the key planning implications for the Vale of Glamorgan as a result of the new guidance.

 

(3)       To make representation to the Welsh Government of the significant concerns arising out of the content of TAN 1.

 

Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet – 9 FEBRUARY 2015