Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan

1 Introduction

1.1 The Local Development Plan

1.1.1 The provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Local Development Plan (LDP) Regulations 2005, placed a requirement on Carmarthenshire County Council as the Local Planning Authority to prepare this LDP for its administrative area. This LDP sets out the Authority’s policies and proposals for the future development and use of land. This LDP supersedes the existing Unitary Development Plan (UDP) and is used to guide and control development providing the foundation for consistent and rational decision making. In doing so, it provides a measure of certainty about what kind of development will, and will not, be permitted in particular locations during the Plan period. The Plan area excludes the part of the County contained within the Brecon Beacons National Park, where the Park Authority should be contacted in respect of the development plan and development proposals in that area.

1.1.2 The planning system has a fundamental role in delivering sustainable development in Wales. It must help in the process of balancing and integrating conflicting objectives in order to meet current development needs while safeguarding those of the future (PPW: Chapter 4, Edition 7). This LDP therefore aims to provide a framework that recognises the needs of the area be they social, environmental or economic. In doing so it seeks to contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development by setting out policies and proposals which reflect those sustainability objectives as developed through national policy and through the SA/SEA process. In seeking to achieve this, it sets out a framework for the development and use of land and also for the protection of the environment. It also guides and facilitates investment decisions as well as the delivery of services and infrastructure. It determines the level of provision and location of new housing, employment opportunities and other uses, and sets the framework for considering all land use proposals during the plan period.

1.1.3 In developing and understanding emerging issues, options and objectives, due regard was given to national and regional planning policy and guidance. Regard has also been given to relevant strategies, background documents and a robust evidence base in the formulation of the Plan.

1.1.4 This LDP represents one of the two key strategies which the Authority is statutorily required to prepare, the other being the Integrated Community Strategy.

1.2 Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan

1.2.1 In compiling this Plan, the Council has met all regulatory and procedural requirements, including taking the Plan through an independent examination.

1.2.2 This LDP provides strategic direction through land use policies and proposals (including the allocation of land for development).

1.2.3 This LDP consists of a written statement and a proposals map detailing its policies and proposals on a geographical base.

1.2.4 The structure and format for the LDP is as follows:

Chapter 1 - Introduction: General background information regarding the Carmarthenshire LDP including outlining the role of the SA/SEA and HRA in the plan-making process.
Chapter 2 – Policy Context: Sets out the LDP’s alignment with, and regard to National, Regional and Local policy context.
Chapter 3 – Key Issues and Drivers: Outlines issues identified in relation to the LDP.
Chapter 4 – Vision and Strategic Objectives: Presents the LDP’s Vision and accompanying Strategic Objectives conveying the sort of place that it is envisaged Carmarthenshire should become. It is the role of the Strategic Objectives to set the context for the delivery of the vision.
Chapter 5 – Strategy and Strategic Policies: Outlines the LDP’s strategic direction, which together with the spatial and settlement framework and the strategic policies provides the context for detailed, specific policies.
Chapter 6 – Specific Policies: Detailed policies dealing with specific policy areas and providing general development management policies against which all development proposals within the County will be assessed. These policies set out residential, employment and other land use allocations, areas designated for specific protection, and policies (including criteria policies) guiding the use of land and development within the Plan area. They form a firm basis for the rational and consistent consideration of planning applications and appeals. Policies are aligned to the strategic policies and include a reasoned justification.
Chapter 7 - Implementation and Monitoring: Identifies and incorporates key targets, details the Plan’s performance and measures how it will be monitored.
Appendices - Technical and background information providing detail to support the content of the Plan, or to provide information to assist in its interpretation.
Proposals Map on a Geographical Base - The Proposals Map together with inset maps of specific settlements or development areas identify polices and proposals on a geographical base.

1.3 The Local Development Plan Process

1.3.1 The preparation of the LDP involved a number of key stages. It commenced with the Delivery Agreement (DA) as agreed by the Welsh Government in August 2007 (as revised October 2010 and August 2013) and culminated in the Examination in public between February and May 2014 and the Plan’s subsequent adoption on the 10th December 2014.

1.3.2 The LDP evolved and developed following its commencement in 2006 through to its adoption in 2014, proceeding through the Key Stages set out below.

Key Stage 1 – Delivery Agreement (LDP Reg. No. 5 -10)
Key Stage 2 – Pre-Deposit – Preparation and Participation (LDP Reg. No. 14)
Key Stage 3 – Pre-Deposit Public Consultation (LDP Reg. No. 15, 16)
Key Stage 4 – Deposit Local Development Plan (LDP Reg. No. 17 - 21)
Key Stage 5 – Submission to WG for Examination (LDP Reg. No. 22)
Key Stage 6 – Independent Examination (LDP Reg. No. 23)
Key Stage 7 – Receipt and Publication of the Inspector’s Report (LDP Reg. No. 24)
Key Stage 8 – Adoption (LDP Reg. No. 25)
Key Stage 9 – Monitoring and Review (LDP Reg. No. 37)

1.3.3 The LDP was prepared with regard to other spatial and thematic documents and strategies produced at a national and regional level, together with those with a local emphasis. The Plan’s preparatory process recognised the importance attached to corporate compatibility and synergy, along with the need to consider the relationship between the LDP and the Integrated Community Strategy. The LDP is also integral to the Council’s Corporate Strategy.

1.3.4 The Council has collected and analysed relevant economic, social and environmental information in order to provide a factual evidence base for the Plan (Key Stage 2). Such evidence was continually developed to inform the plan-making process and has incorporated publication and consultation on a range of documents including discussion and topic papers relating to key policy issues.

1.3.5 The Preferred Strategy (Key Stage 3) was published for consultation in November 2009 and incorporated:

1.4 Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA)

1.4.1 The undertaking of the SA/SEA was an integral part of LDP preparation and is mandatory under the provisions of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The SA/SEA considered the LDP’s social and economic effects as well as the environmental aspects. In accordance with the EU Strategic Environmental Assessment Directive (2001/42/EC) and as part of the LDP’s preparatory process, the Authority was required to undertake a formal environmental assessment of plans and programmes which are likely to have significant effects on the environment.

1.4.2 The SA/SEA facilitated a rigorous examination of the sustainability issues, challenges and opportunities (including environmental problems as required by the SEA Directive) facing Carmarthenshire. In doing so, it informed and was interwoven into the preparation of the LDP. It was central to the development of the Issues and Objectives, as well as the identification of a strategy and to the LDP. It should be noted that in addition to formal stages of consultation, liaison was undertaken with relevant agencies (particularly with statutory consultee bodies and neighbouring Authorities).

1.4.3 Detailed guidance on conducting an integrated Sustainability Appraisal (SA) (ODPM guide: Sustainability Appraisal of Regional Spatial Strategies and Local Development Documents (November 2005)) defines five main stages in conducting a SA used in the preparation of the LDP:

Stage A – setting the context and objectives, establishing the baseline and determining the scope;
Stage B – developing and refining options and assessing effects;
Stage C – preparing the SA report;
Stage D – consulting on the preferred option of the development plan and SA Report;
Stage E – monitoring significant effects of implementing the development plan.

1.5 Habitat Regulations Assessment

1.5.1 In accordance with European Directive 92/43/EEC (The Habitats Directive) competent authorities are required to undertake an Appropriate Assessment when a land use plan, either alone, or in combination with the effects of other plans or projects, is likely to have a significant effect on one or more European designated sites. In preparing the LDP, the Council, as required, endeavoured to adapt the Plan to ensure that the integrity of the European Designated sites would not be adversely affected. The Habitat Regulations Assessment (HRA) covers the following:

1.5.2 The HRA was prepared in parallel with the LDP as an integrated and iterative process. It played an important role in the formulation of the LDP and its policies and provisions. In this respect, the LDP presents policies and proposals which ensure that the requirements of the regulations are satisfied, and that the integrity of the European Designated sites are not adversely affected. It should be noted that in addition to formal stages of consultation, liaison was undertaken with relevant agencies (particularly statutory consultee bodies and neighbouring Authorities).

1.5.3 For further information, reference should be made to the LDP’s supporting documentation in relation to the SA and HRA. Reference should be made to Chapter 7 and the Plan’s commitment in relation to its ongoing Implementation and Monitoring.

1.6 Using this Document

1.6.1 In setting out the Vision, and the Strategic Objectives, together with policies and proposals both strategic and specific, this LDP provides an overarching and comprehensive land use planning framework for the Plan area. In doing so, it provides for the development of land and for the protection of the environment, whilst also facilitating investment decisions as well as the delivery of services and infrastructure. Owing to the comprehensive nature of the Plan and its policies, its content should be read as a whole and no aspect should be considered in isolation.

1.6.2 Cross referencing has been used where appropriate and there will be instances where a correlation exists across a number of policies.

1.6.3 This LDP seeks to avoid the repetition of national planning policies presented in PPW and MPPW. Nevertheless, national planning policies in conjunction with the content of the LDP will represent a material consideration in determining any planning applications and as such due regard should be paid to them. Where appropriate, the LDP explains where and how such national policies apply.


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