Future greenfield development likely as BCBC reviews LDP success

(Pic: Bridgend Council)

 

One of the most important functions of any council is setting out how to use land, including allocating land for housing, retail and employment development. BCBC set out this policy in their Local Development Plan (LDP). The current one covers the period 2006-2021.

Councils are obliged to review how they’ve delivered their LDP every four years and a draft review – the final one for this LDP – was discussed by the full council yesterday afternoon (pdf).

How well has the LDP performed?

  • Officers say their strategy of developing land based on regeneration of brownfield sites “has been broadly successful” in the Valleys Gateway area (Sarn, Tondu) and Bridgend.
  • The LDP has failed to live up to expectations in Porthcawl and the Llynfi Valley, mainly due to land ownership issues (Porthcawl regeneration) and concerns over the viability of developments (both Porthcawl and Ewenny Road in Maesteg).
  • Bridgend currently only has 4 years worth of land supply for housing which is below the target of 5 years.
  • Despite this, population growth has been slower than originally anticipated, so based on the current rate of growth, Bridgend would only have to build 317 new homes a year instead of 436. This is a problem across Wales as the Welsh Government have generally over-estimated the number of homes that need to be built to meet local needs.
  • All land allocated to housing that hasn’t yet been developed will need to be re-assessed for their viability and deliverability.
  • As most brownfield sites have now been delivered or committed to development, it’s likely that in the next LDP, the focus on brownfield/regeneration-led development will have to change (i.e. opening up greenfield sites for development, though where we don’t know yet).
  • Key employment sites (Island Farm, Brocastle, Ty Draw Farm, Pencoed Technology Park) have taken longer to deliver than expected.
  • A town centre retail vacancy target of 15% has been exceeded in Bridgend (17.7%) but met easily in Porthcawl (4.9%) and Maesteg (6%).
  • Just under £5.7million in Section 106 money has been secured since the LDP was adopted.
  • BCBC has failed to meet targets for assessing the potential for on-site renewable energy generation on major developments, though the general amount of renewable energy generated in Bridgend is increasing year-on-year.

The Next LDP

Councillors were also due to discuss the process of starting the next LDP, which will cover 2021-2036 (pdf). They’ve already recently rejected the idea of undertaking a joint LDP with other local authorities.

Work on the evidence base for the new LDP will begin immediately.

If the Welsh Government agree with BCBC’s timescales, consultation on candidate sites for inclusion in the LDP could begin as early as August 2018. A deposit LDP could be ready by July 2020 and submitted for approval in January 2021.

The Planning Inspectorate report could be published in the summer of 2021 and the new LDP could be formally adopted and come into force by September 2021.

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