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Policy & Activities

Wales Planning

Planning in Wales is devolved to the National Assembly for Wales and as a result the planning system is different to that operating in England. The most notable differences are are a separate Wales Planning Act in National Guidance (PPW and TANs) and the development plan system (LDPs).

A further key difference is the two tier system of governance as in Wales all authorities are unitary. There are 22 unitary authorities and 3 National Parks.

As a major stakeholder the HBF represents the house building industry on a number of national and local fora producing policy, guidance and good practice advice. The HBF also works with a number of fellow trade federations including the FMB and RTPI and other professional organisations in order to represent the interests of the industry.

Current issues of concern to the house building industry in Wales are, development viability, slow progress of development plans and their reviews and the lack of five year land supplies.

The Planning (Wales) Bill received Royal Consent on the 6th July 2015 making it the first time Wales has had its own Planning Act. Various pieces of the secondary legislation has now been enacted, including the requirement for pre application consultation and production of a Pre-application Consultation Report [PAC] report. 

Table showing the current 5 year land supplies approved for 2016

LPA

2016

2017

Anglesey

0

0

Blaenau Gwent

1.35

1.3

Brecon Beacons NP

5

-

Bridgend

5.1

-

Caerphilly

1.5

2.1

Cardiff

3.8

-

Carmarthenshire

4.1

4.1

Ceredigion

3.4

2.6

Conwy

3.7

3.1

Denbighshire

2.02

1.8

Flintshire

0

0

Gwynedd

2.9

0

Merthyr

1.5

1.6

Monmouthshire

4.1

-

Neath Port Talbot

5

5.3

Newport

5.9

-

Pembrokeshire

5.1

-

Pembrokeshire Coast NP

2.1

1.2

Powys

2.2

0

RCT

1.5

1.3

Snowdonia NP

5.4

-

Swansea

3.2

0

Torfaen

3.6

-

Vale of Glamorgan

0

0

Wrexham

0

0

0 LPA's without an adopted Plan

Appeals 

File Ref: APP/H6955/A/16/3147116

Site address: Home Farm, Gresford Road, Llay, Wrexham, LL12 9NW

The development proposed is described as ‘outline application for up to 365 dwellings and erection of 300m2 retail unit – all detailed matters reserved’.

Appeal allowed,

The site was outside the settlement boundary but considered to be sustainable but did not have any specific policy protection such as green wedge.  The Planning Ministers recent letter to LPA’s was also referred to.  Little weight given to the emerging LDP which is at very early stages.  Lack of five year land supply given weight.

APP/Q6810/A/16/3162071

Site address: Former Grey Garage, Lon Newydd Coetmor, Bethesda, LL57 3DT

Erection of 18 dwellings

Dismissed

Previously developed site part of which was in the settlement boundary part in open countryside. Previous planning permissions for dwellings on the site, but this application looked to reduce the level of affordable homes from 61% to 20% due to viability issues. Weight given to the WBFG Act and the lack of a five year land supply and no adopted plan did not outweigh the harm of the development.  The level of affordable homes being proposed was not considered sufficient.

Appeal Ref: APP/R6830/A/16/3148873

Site address: Land to the North Side of Bryn Gobaith, St. Asaph, Denbighshire

The appeal was allowed.

The main issues in this case are:

Whether it is reasonable that the issues of density and mix of housing type be required for agreement at the reserved matters stage; and, if so,

Whether the scheme provides an appropriate density of development, and mix and balance of house sizes, having regard to the principles of sustainable development, and national and local plan policies.

Bearing in mind the case law cited, had the Council wished to control density or for that matter housing mix, then further details should have been sought at the time of granting outline planning permission or appropriately worded conditions applied; there is no scope for me to reconsider these matters which should have been dealt with at the outline stage.

Appeal Ref: APP/A6835/A/16/3149082

Site address: Land at Rhos Road, Penyffordd, Flintshire

Erection of up to 40 residential dwellings with associated access.

The appeal was allowed

The main issues were the effect of the proposed development on the character and appearance of the area and the countryside, and whether there is a 5 year supply of housing land and, if not, whether any detriment to the open countryside would be outweighed by the need to increase housing supply.

Having taken all relevant matters raised into account, I conclude that the benefits of the proposal outweigh the conflict with the development plan.

 

Local Plans

The HBF recently submitted its HBF Housing Delivery and the Plan-Led System to WG Ministers and senior officials. We are looking to meet them in the near future to discuss the recommendations.

In Summary HBF believe that, currently, the plan led system in Wales is not supporting the delivery of new homes as it should.  We are concerned that we currently run the risk of a ‘policy vacuum’ in which we have a large number of out of date plans under review while still waiting for the NDF and SDPs to be adopted.

The actions which we believe are required include:

  • LPAs should not be allowed to stop work on plan reviews while waiting for the NDF or SDP to be adopted.
  • Welsh Government to use the powers available to them to ensure that plans are both adopted and  reviewed in a timely manner to ensure continual plan coverage.
  • Require LPAs who have less than a five year land supply to take action to help increase the availability of deliverable housing sites, through granting permission for sustainable development or allocating additional sites for housing in a review of their LDP.
  • Welsh Government to clarify the role of the authority monitoring reports in monitoring plan delivery and their positon in terms of ‘failing‘ LPAs.  Is the level of development secured in accordance with their Development Plan a consideration?

Vale of Glamorgan LDP

The Plan was adopted on the 28th June 2017.

Swansea LDP

The Full Council approved the LDP for submission to WG on 27th July 2017, the inquiry is u unlikely to start till early next year.

Powys LDP. 

The HBF attended a number of inquiry sessions, the Council is currently working through the MAC changes which will be consulted on shortly.

Anglesey and Gwyneth Joint LDP

The Hearing Sessions took place between the 6 September 2016 and 6 October 2016.  The HBF have commented on the MAC changes and some additional inquiry sessions have been held.  Inspectors report was received b the council on the 7th July 2017.

Anglesey and Gwyneth Joint LDP has now been adopted on the Monday, July 31

Flintshire

Strategic Growth and Spatial Options Consultation Key Stakeholder Forum meeting on 12th October.  Progress with plan continues to be slow.

WG Longitudinal Viability Research Study

The Welsh Government commissioned Arcadis Consulting (UK) Ltd to research and to develop a fuller understanding of changing viability conditions through the planning process from local development plan (LDP) preparation to the development management stage. The research examined the reasons why housing sites identified in adopted LDPs cease to be deliverable at later planning stages. The research provides an in-depth appraisal and longitudinal study of a selection of housing sites to determine what further changes to planning policy, processes and/or behaviours may be required to address the identified issues.

The Welsh Government convened a Steering Group to ensure that the aims, objectives and key requirements set out in the project brief were delivered the HBF sat on this Group. 

The report was published in February 2017 link to report. We await an announcement from WG on how they will be taking any of the recommendations forward, which they advise will be in the Autumn.

Help to Buy Wales

Help to Buy Wales 2 was announced on the 10th December with a commitment of £290m to 2021 and an aim to fund over 6000 properties, the cap has remained at £300K. The latest Help to Buy Figures (July

 2017) show 5,482 properties purchased with 75% of them being first time buyers. The 6,000 homes planned for the second phase have been included in the Welsh Governments 20,000 affordable homes target for delivery by 2021.

Housing Pact Wales

 

The HBF have again agreed a Housing Pact Wales with Welsh Government, which sets out ways we can work together to try and increase the delivery of private new homes in Wales. Also in an attempt to help promote an increase in SME builders the Pact has been prepared jointly with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), it was launched by Carl Sargeant Housing Minister on the 12thJune 2017.

Consultations

SuDS

Welsh Government  are consulting on the proposed implementation of schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, which includes:

  • making local authorities the responsible SuDS approving body, and
  • ensuring all new developments have a sustainable drainage system that meets mandatory national standards.

Consultation end date 11 August 2017

For further information, please contact:

Mark Harris

Planning and Policy Advisor - Wales

07770 752 884

mark.harris@hbf.co.uk 


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