Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan

2 Policy Context

2.1 Background

2.1.1 In preparing the LDP, regard has been had to national guidance and other plans, policies and programmes. Relevant National, Regional and Local documents have been reviewed and considered as part of the Plan’s preparation and are listed in Chapter 2 of the SA/SEA Scoping Report, which is available on the Council’s website. This section highlights the key plans, policies and programmes and summarises their main points.

2.2 National Policy Context

National Guidance – Welsh Government

2.2.1 Local Authorities are required to have regard to the content and provisions of national planning policy guidance in the form of PPW: Edition 7 – July 2014 and MPPW December 2000. Local Authorities should utilise their content in decision making and in the preparation of their plans and strategies. PPW and MPPW, in setting out the national planning policies, are supplemented in relation to a number of policy areas by Technical Advice Notes (TAN), Minerals Technical Advice Notes (MTAN), Circulars, policy clarification letters and Ministerial Interim Planning Policy Statements (MIPPS).

2.2.2 Guidance in respect of the preparation of the LDP is also contained within Local Development Plans Wales: Policy on Preparation of LDPs (WAG: Dec 2005), Local Development Plan Manual (WAG: June 2006) and A Guide to the Examination of Local Development Plans (Planning Inspectorate Wales).

Wales Spatial Plan – People, Places, Futures (2008 Update)

2.2.3 The Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) provides an overarching policy context for spatial planning and development in Wales by establishing cross-cutting national priorities. First published in 2004 and updated in 2008, the WSP sets out to ensure that proposals throughout Wales are integrated and sustainable with individual actions being supportive of each other and in compliance with the shared vision for the area. The WSP is a material consideration in the preparation of the LDP.

2.2.4 Carmarthenshire is situated within three areas identified in the WSP:

Pembrokeshire – The Haven

2.2.5 The key strategic priorities for Pembrokeshire - The Haven are as follows:

2.2.6 The settlement framework and spatial strategy set out for the area is as follows:

Strategic Hub and Primary Key Settlement - Carmarthen: Performs an important regional role and is identified as an important focus for future investment. The town is also identified as a Cross Boundary Settlement, a key Regeneration Area and a centre for tourism.
Key Settlements - Whitland and St Clears: Fulfil a local service centre, employment and tourism role.
Local Centre - Newcastle Emlyn and Pendine/Laugharne: Principally local centres some of which contribute as significant tourism centres. Newcastle Emlyn is identified as having a cross border status.

Figure 1

Figure 1: Pembrokeshire - The Haven - Spatial Strategy and Settlement Framework

Swansea Bay - Waterfront and the Western Valleys

2.2.7 The key priorities for the Swansea Bay - Waterfront and the Western Valleys region are as follows:

2.2.8 The settlement framework and spatial strategy set out for the area is as follows:

Primary Key Settlements - Ammanford/Cross Hands, Carmarthen and Llanelli: Identified as hubs, these settlements have a critical role to play in the success of the spatial plan area. Carmarthen is also identified as a Cross Boundary Settlement. These supplement the City of Swansea which is identified as being of national importance.
Key Settlements - Burry Port/Pembrey, Kidwelly/Trimsaran, Llandeilo and the Upper Amman Valley: Identified as supporting communities.

Figure 2

Figure 2: Swansea Bay and the Western Valleys – Spatial Strategy and Settlement Framework

Central Wales

2.2.9 Agreed priorities for the Central Wales area include the following:

2.2.10 The settlement framework and spatial strategy set out for the area is as follows:

Primary Key Settlement - Carmarthen
Occupies a strategic role in three spatial plan areas- a position reflected in its status as a cross boundary settlement.

Key Settlements - Newcastle Emlyn and Llanybydder (Teifi Valley) and Llandeilo, Llangadog and Llandovery (Towy Valley) primary settlement clusters: Llandeilo and Newcastle Emlyn are highlighted as cross boundary settlements.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Central Wales – Spatial Strategy and Settlement Framework

2.2.11 Sustainable Regeneration Frameworks for the Wales Spatial Plan have been produced to guide the delivery of activity in support of the 2007-13 EU Convergence programme and other grant and funding streams.

2.2.12 These frameworks develop and elaborate on the content of the WSP and where appropriate, other plans and strategies. In so doing they have regard to the WSP settlement framework in identifying geographical areas of intervention.

2.3 Regional Policy Context

Swansea Bay City Region

2.3.1 The Swansea Bay City Region encompasses the Local Authority areas of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, City and County of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. It brings together business, local government and a range of other partners, working towards creating economic prosperity for the people who live and work in our City Region.

2.3.2 The Swansea Bay City Region Economic Regeneration Strategy 2013 – 2030 sets out the strategic framework for the region aimed at supporting the areas development over the coming decades. The LDP, in recognising the role of Carmarthenshire, makes provision through its policies and proposals for employment development, with the economy an important component of the Plan’s Strategy. The emerging role of the City Region will be a consideration to ensuring the continued compatibility in a strategic context.

Progress in Partnership – The Regional Transport Plan for South West Wales – SWWITCH

2.3.3 The Regional Transport Plan (RTP) set the strategic context for future transport investment and sought to set out the long term aims for improving access and transport across the South West Wales region. This document and the emergence of the Swansea City Region, which takes on the regional transport role and the forthcoming Local Transport Plans are important contributors in meeting the economic, environmental and social objectives for the LDP.

South Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party - Regional Technical Statement

2.3.4 MTAN1: Aggregates sets a requirement that the South Wales Regional Aggregates Working Party (SWRAWP) prepare a Regional Technical Statement (RTS), setting out the strategy for satisfying the needs for aggregates in the South Wales region and that it is reviewed every five years. The original RTS for South Wales, published in October 2008, and a revised version in 2014 was produced by the SWRAWP, with the assistance of the Mineral Planning Authorities (MPAs), the quarry industry, and various bodies / agencies such as Natural Resources Wales.

2.3.5 Where necessary, each constituent MPA will then be expected to include allocations for future aggregates provision in their area as part of the LDP.

Open All Year – A Tourism Strategy for South West Wales 2004 – 2008

2.3.6 There are four regional tourism strategies in Wales, prepared within the framework of the WSP. Carmarthenshire is located within the region covered by the Tourism Strategy for South West Wales. The strategy, ‘Open All Year’ was drawn up by the South West Wales Tourism Partnership (SWWTP), of which Carmarthenshire County Council is a partner.

2.3.7 The SWWTP 2009/2010 annual report reviews the outcomes and sets out the approach and highlights objectives for the partnership during the coming year (2010/2011).

2.3.8 The strategic importance of the tourist industry to the area’s economy is widely recognised as is the Council’s respective role at both regional and local level. The role of the LDP in supporting the strategy represents an important policy consideration.

2.4 Local Policy Context

Carmarthenshire Community Strategy – Thinking Together, Planning Together, Doing Together 2004-2020

2.4.1 The Community Strategy sets out a vision for Carmarthenshire developed as a product of collaborative working through the Carmarthenshire Partnership. It is a vision that the council, public and private sectors, voluntary and community sectors and WG can help deliver by working together, planning together and doing together. The vision states:

“We must have the vision to attract greater opportunities to Carmarthenshire whilst making sure our actions are sustainable. We must make the most of our unique environment by conserving, enhancing and promoting the quality of life in Carmarthenshire. As well as rights, we have responsibilities: to nurture, support and develop our children and young people to equip them for their futures; to look after our citizens who are in need. By working in partnership we want to make Carmarthenshire a key player not only in Wales, but throughout the UK, and internationally”

2.4.2 This vision statement represents the overarching long term strategy for the area which is founded on the following building blocks:

2.4.3 The strategy sets out five main themes or pillars on which the future of Carmarthenshire’s communities will be built:

2.4.4 Pre-deposit consultations and notably the Preferred Strategy reflected the Community Strategy in devising a land-use related and spatially relevant Vision which links to the key land use planning issues identified and to the LDP strategic objectives. Reference should be made to Chapter 4: Vision and Strategic Objectives of this Plan, as well as the LDP Topic Papers.

Carmarthenshire’s Integrated Community Strategy – 2011-2016

2.4.5 A review of the Community Strategy has been undertaken as part of the Local Service Board’s integrated approach. It incorporates the Community Strategy and other key plans and strategies, including the Children and Young People’s Plan and the Health, Social Care and Well Being Strategy. The progress of this review process has been continually monitored, with LDP input provided at the stakeholder workshops. The Vision of the LDP remains closely aligned to that of the Integrated Community Strategy (ICS), with the LDP vision providing a spatial dimension. The vision contained within the ICS is:

Our vision is for a Carmarthenshire that enables people to live healthy and fulfilled lives by working together to build strong, bilingual and sustainable communities.

2.4.6 The five themes/ strategic pillars used within the original Community Strategy (and which are utilised within the LDP) remain relevant to the ICS. The 5 pillars are supplemented by ‘new’ strategic outcomes that communicate drivers and aspirations for Carmarthenshire, thus:

2.4.7 By comparing the outcomes set out above to the LDP Vision and Strategic Objectives (see chapter 4), it can be evidenced that the LDP and the ICS remain closely aligned. Indeed, the ICS makes explicit reference to the LDP as a key delivery mechanism for delivering certain of the above aspirations. It is therefore considered that the ICS will demonstrate even greater synergy to the LDP than the original Strategy.

2.4.8 Sustainability and Sustainable Development (SD) issues are given higher prominence within the ICS. The LDP can assist in addressing these and the LDP headline issues, as set out in Chapter 3, are closely aligned towards delivering some of the aspirations contained within the ICS. Suitable references to the LDP are contained within the ICS thus reflecting the LDP’s importance in the delivery of land use related aspects.

2.4.9 The specific outcomes in ICS that are deemed highly relevant to the LDP are:

2.4.10 The working relationship between the LDP and Community Strategy Teams is consistent with the interdependent roles of the two processes and complies with guidance issued in the LDP Manual. Ongoing dialogue will continue to ensure that the LDP can provide the means to deliver the aspirations of the ICS.

2.4.11 There has also been an ongoing appreciation of the respective monitoring frameworks of the LDP and ICS. In conclusion, both processes remain closely aligned, and therefore no change is required to the LDP as a result of the review of the Community Strategy and production of the ICS. Evidence of this is provided on page 5 of the ICS where it is stated that the LDP and the ICS are clearly linked having been developed in collaboration.

Carmarthenshire Housing Strategy: People Homes and Communities – Delivering the Future Together 2007 – 2010

2.4.12 This strategy is guided by a vision, mission, and values, and is informed by a wide range of stakeholders from outside and within the Local Authority (including planning). The Strategy is heavily informed by the Local Housing Market Assessment and a key theme is the need to widen accessibility to a range and mix of housing types as well as promoting good management of the Council’s housing stock. As well as promoting accessibility, the Strategy emphasises the importance of improving quality and a maintenance regime is discussed (including the promotion of Renewal Areas).

Carmarthenshire Unitary Development Plan (Adopted 2006)

2.4.13 Adopted in July 2006, the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) was until the adoption of the LDP the land use plan for the County (excluding that part contained within the Brecon Beacons National Park (BBNP)).

2.4.14 The Council, in developing the UDP, founded its aims and objectives on the principles of sustainability. This sought to reduce dependence on the motor car, reflect the diversity of the area and promote sustainable socially inclusive communities. In seeking to achieve this, the UDP set out a hierarchical settlement strategy within its Sustainable Strategic Settlement Framework (SSSF) for the Plan area. This approach centres on a sustainable model wherein settlements are categorised by virtue of their importance in providing services and facilities accessible to their own residents and to surrounding communities.

2.4.15 It was considered that the UDP provided a suitable baseline for the LDP and as such, a background paper was produced within the Plan’s evidence base which appraised the contemporary relevance of the UDP. It was also considered pertinent for the UDP to inform the development of spatial options for the LDP given its broad compatibility with the WSP and its relatively recent adaption.

Carmarthenshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) and Review

2.4.16 The Carmarthenshire LBAP is intended to cover all of the county of Carmarthenshire and its inshore waters but excludes the BBNP for which a separate plan has been prepared. In line with national guidance, the broad aim of the Carmarthenshire LBAP is to conserve and enhance biodiversity in Carmarthenshire by means of local partnerships, taking account of both national and local priorities. The broad aims of the Carmarthenshire LBAP are:

2.4.17 The Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Action Plan has been revised and the new plan (2010–2014) will provide the focus of the Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Partnership's work for the duration of the plan.

2.5 Other Documents and Strategies

2.5.1 There are numerous other plans, policies and strategies which relate to, or have informed or guided aspects of the LDP and are listed in Appendix 8 of this Plan. The documents which comprise the Plan’s evidence base have also made reference to a substantive number of related plans, policies and strategies, which should be considered in addition to those noted in Appendix 8.

2.5.2 A number of these documents and strategies have, or will be the subject of review, and their relationship to the LDP will therefore inevitably be an iterative one. The LDP requires the development of a close working relationship with those partners charged with preparing such plans and strategies. Continued collaborative working will ensure that any reviews or new documents inform monitoring of the LDP and future plan-making processes. The above list is not exhaustive, and other relevant documents and strategies will be utilised as appropriate. Reference should be made to section 2 of the SA/SEA Scoping Report (September 2008) which sets out a review of relevant plans and policies at International/European, National, Regional and Local level.

2.6 Neighbouring Authorities’ Development Plans

2.6.1 Previous and ongoing liaison with neighbouring authorities was a feature of the LDP’s preparatory process. The Council has had regular contact with neighbouring authorities, both individually and collectively at regional level (through the South West Wales Regional Planning Group), to ensure alignment between respective LDPs. Certain factors preclude complete conformity, but constructive discussions and shared information and experience minimised the risk of conflicting policies, and ensured an appropriate level of integration.

2.6.2 Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council is progressing its LDP to submission for examination. Ongoing dialogue has ensured an understanding of the respective approaches and emerging direction of the policy frameworks. The progress of the Neath Port Talbot LDP will be monitored and duly considered.

2.6.3 The City and County of Swansea is progressing towards a Deposit LDP having published its Preferred Strategy in August 2013. Given the timetable differences in the preparation of the Plans, it is not possible to fully assess the compatibility or otherwise of the strategic approaches. However, continuing liaison ensures a mutual understanding of the respective approaches. Specific dialogue has progressed and resulted in cross border co-operation on a fundamental element to the delivery of both documents i.e. the Burry Inlet (SAC). A Memorandum of Understanding and co-operation in addressing the issues affecting the SAC represent important steps in the development of a long term solution to water quality matters in the Inlet. The progress of the Swansea LDP will be monitored and duly considered.

2.6.4 Powys County Council commenced the preparation of their LDP having consulted on the Preferred Strategy in March / April 2013. Given the timetable differences in the preparation of the plans it is not possible to assess the compatibility or otherwise of the strategic approaches. However, discussions will continue to examine strategic compatibility. Progress of the Powys LDP will be monitored and duly considered.

2.6.5 Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s LDP was adopted on the 29th September 2010. This LDP is compatible with the plan for the National Park reflecting a hierarchical settlement structure and a consistency in the broad planning policy approach. The tourism links across the coastal belt are recognised and reflect the content of the WSP. There is also a consistency of approach in respect of sustainability and sustainable places. The LDP recognises the relationship between the authorities and the contribution that Carmarthenshire can make to the value and qualities of the National Park.

2.6.6 Pembrokeshire County Council adopted its LDP on the 28th February 2013. There is a broad consistency and alignment in terms of the approach from a policy and strategic perspective. The vision and the spatial framework for a hierarchy of settlements in general terms is compatible. There is also a broad alignment of approach to the scale of development and growth.

2.6.7 The role of Carmarthen as a regional centre is mutually recognised with the complementarity of settlements developed and understood through the WSP: Pembrokeshire the Haven spatial area influencing the preparation of both LDPs.

2.6.8 Ceredigion County Council adopted its LDP on the 25th April 2013. Although the settlement strategies differ slightly, there is a general compatibility with the respective Visions and with the commitment to respect and maintain the diversity and quality of the plan areas, to reduce the need to travel and to sustainability and the creation of sustainable places. Continuity also exists in relation to understanding and respecting landscape quality with both plans including Special Landscape Areas.

2.6.9 Border settlements have cross boundary implications with both Plans recognising this relationship. It is noted that two of Ceredigion’s Urban Service Centres have cross border implications (namely Lampeter and Llandysul) with Carmarthenshire, whilst Newcastle Emlyn and Llanybydder (designated respectively as a Service Centre and Local Service Centre within this LDP) are located on the border. Discussions have, and will continue to ensure that the LDP and its strategy and that of the neighbouring authority are, where appropriate, consistent and do not have unacceptable implications.

2.6.10 Brecon Beacons National Park Authority adopted its LDP on the 17th December 2013. There are no clear cross border settlement issues. Whilst the strategy acknowledged a housing need in the west of the Park which may have implications for settlements in that part of the County, discussions and the content of their LDP indicates a minimal impact in apportionment terms of the household requirement for Carmarthenshire. In this regard, the Brecon Beacons National Park LDP provides no indication for the number of units allocated. Rather, in relation to its identified settlements (within Carmarthenshire), it makes allowance for infill provision only. Further liaison and ongoing monitoring will be required.

2.7 Regional Working

2.7.1 The close relationship with WG departments and neighbouring authorities was an important element in the preparation of the WSP with ongoing co-operation recognised as being important in ensuring the effective delivery of its provisions. Resultant collaboration includes the Settlement Complementarity Study (in partnership with WG, Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) undertaken for the Pembrokeshire - The Haven Spatial Plan area.

2.7.2 The Council will, through the membership of the South West Wales Regional Planning Group (SWWRPG) with the above neighbouring authoritiesas well as attendees from the WG, will continue to work closely with neighbouring authorities. This forum has facilitated effective cross border and collaborative working liaison and information sharing. The formation of a subsequent pathfinder group allowed members of the SWWRPG to develop and share their LDP experiences and expertise to mutual benefit.

2.7.3 Details and schedules of cross border and inter-authority discussions are set out within the LDP Consultation Report.

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