(Title Image: via zoopla.com)
Earlier this week, Bridgend Council’s planning committee held their monthly meeting. One of the main items on the agenda was a report from officers outlining the vision for the next Local Development Plan (pdf). The new LDP will determine how land will be used in the county until 2033.
By how much is Bridgend’s population expected to grow?
Based on numerous studies and reports on population trends, planning officers came up with three broad options:
Low Growth – Bridgend’s (the county, not the town) population would be expected to grow by around 4,800 people between now and 2033 and would require an additional 271 homes to be built every year (3,865 overall); this would be around half the number built on average over the last five years. Employment levels are also expected to remain flat.
Mid Growth – Bridgend’s population is expected to grow by just under 12,500 people, requiring an additional 7,505 homes – 505 a year between 2018-2033. Most of the growth in the population is expected to come from the 60+ age group and 35-44-year-olds with a resulting modest increase in the number of teenagers and children. An extra 219-266 jobs are expected every year.
High Growth – Bridgend’s population would be expected to grow by around 14,500 by 2033, requiring an additional 8,147 homes to be built. At 570 homes a year, this would be around 20% higher than the current build rate. An extra 380 jobs a year are expected alongside higher in-migration levels, with a resulting younger age pattern developing which would require more school places.
The conclusion of officers is that the Mid Growth option best fits because it balances expected migration levels with planned growth in local jobs.
What’s the recommended overall strategy?
In addition to scenarios on how Bridgend’s population and economic prospects are expected to change over the next 15 years, officers drafted scenarios to determine the broad options as to where development should take place – known as a spatial strategy.
Four spatial strategies were considered:
Option 1: Continue the regeneration-led strategy from 2006-2021 – Development will be focused on strategic regeneration sites, brownfield sites and land directly next to existing settlements. The strategic sites include Maesteg, Tondu/Sarn Area, Porthcawl, Brocastle, Pencoed Technology Park, Island Farm and Ty Draw Farm. The advantages are it brings old land back into use and would ensure development is close to main transport links. The disadvantages are that many brownfield sites are now developed or soon to be developed and the strategy hasn’t yet worked in Maesteg or Porthcawl.
Option 2: Focus development near public transport hubs and strategic road corridors – This would lead to more development near M4 junctions and the south Wales mainline, effectively confining development to Pyle, Pencoed and Bridgend. The advantages are that in all three areas developments would be easier to serve by public transport and walking/cycling and it would lead to a self-sustaining concentration of employment. The disadvantages are the pressure it would put on M4 junctions and it’s unclear if the rail network would be able to accommodate additional passengers effectively.
Option 3: A Valleys-led strategy focusing development north of the M4 – Maesteg and the Valleys Gateway (Sarn, Tondu, Brynmenyn area) would become the focus of development, which would align with Welsh Government Valleys taskforce goals. There are already brownfield sites available in both areas and the Metro could enhance Maesteg line services. The advantages are that it would help regenerate deprived areas and provides the potential for renewable energy development. The disadvantages are that key sites in the Valleys are still yet to be brought forward and transport links to/from the Garw and Ogmore valleys are very poor and could hinder development.
Option 4: Sustainable urban growth – Development would be focused on Maesteg, Bridgend, Porthcawl, Pencoed and Pyle, but with more flexibility than a straight regeneration-led strategy, opening the door to greenfield development. The advantages are it builds upon what already works and takes some of the best aspects of Options 1 & 2. The disadvantages are it would almost certainly require a replacement for Junction 36, a long-term solution to problems in Pencoed caused by the level crossing and prevents any development to the east of Bridgend.
Officers recommended Option 4 because it would address major infrastructure issues and is probably the most likely to deliver on the growth scenarios.
Where would the 7,500+ homes and employment sites go?
This is what the LDP will determine, so it’s too early to say.
Landowners and developers have submitted possible candidate sites (pdf) and a number of large greenfield sites have been included (including some which were considered as part of the previous LDP).
It’ll be for planning officers to decide which sites are included in the final LDP, but it’s safe to say that there’ll probably be at least one Parc Derwen or Broadlands sized greenfield development – it’s just a question of where.