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PART 2

CHAPTER D - MAINTAINING APPROPRIATE GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT

 

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY

SITES

UNITS AND BUILDINGS

 

TOURISM

ATTRACTIONS AND FACILITIES

VISITOR ACCOMMODATION

 

RETAILING

RETAILING IN CENTRES

RETAILING OUTSIDE CENTRES

 

MONITORING

 

6.1 INTRODUCTION

BACKGROUND

6.1.1The economy must be promoted and enterprise boosted in order to ensure successful community regeneration in Gwynedd. The Unitary Development Plan aims to help raise living standards and create employment opportunities in Gwynedd by establishing favourable conditions for a strong, varied and sustainable economy, including improvements to the strategic transport network. The objective of creating employment opportunities that would help reduce outward migration, especially amongst young local people, is central to this.   

6.1.2         The Economic Development Strategy attempts to lead the process of regenerating and sustaining the economy. It seeks to support businesses in the production of high quality goods that meet the needs of the market and promoting the development of a skilled, educated and healthy workforce able to take advantage of the opportunities on offer.

6.1.3         The Unitary Development Plan has a vital role to play in the development and maintenance of the economy and in contributing towards the aim of creating sustainable communities. The Plan’s policies will provide guidance on applications for developments involving industry and business including the establishment of new ventures, and encouraging the appropriate use of land for economic development.

6.1.4            The following paragraphs provide a brief introduction to land use matters that contribute towards the aim of promoting appropriate growth in the economy and employment.

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY

6.1.5         One of the main objectives of Gwynedd Council is to maintain and promote the area’s economy. The Council’s Economic Development Strategy will lead on the process of regeneration and supporting the economy. One of the main responsibilities of the Development Plan as regards the economy is to ensure that sufficient sites are available for economic enterprises, be it the relocation of existing enterprises, the establishment of new ventures or companies moving into the area. 

6.1.6         The aim is to develop employment opportunities on a scale suitable to the area, with the objective of creating sustainable economic development where employment will be a means of maintaining and enhancing the standard of living of local residents without compromising valuable environmental and cultural characteristics. Efforts will be made to create quality employment that will lessen the effects of seasonal work and low pay. This can make an important contribution to reducing the outward migration of people seeking employment, especially amongst the young, a tendency that is detrimental to the area’s communities.   

6.1.7         The state of the local economy has a direct effect on the prosperity of the area and the general welfare of local communities and the environment. The Gwynedd Unitary Development Plan strives to promote enterprise and to extend and diversify the urban and rural economy in order to protect the identity, viability and vitality of communities. The aim is to create appropriate conditions with a view to developing a wider economic base, ‘promoting enterprise’ and maintaining a prosperous local economy.  

TOURISM     

6.1.8    There is a strong tradition of tourism and leisure in Gwynedd, based mainly on the standard of the area’s coastal and rural environment. The seasonal nature of tourism causes a considerable variation in the demand for employees during the year, and has a significant effect on the economic prosperity of Gwynedd. People’s expectations of tourism services also change as regards standards and diversity, and the Plan aims to enable the sector to respond to these expectations. Developing the tourism and leisure sector offers one of the best opportunities to strengthen and vary the economy of Gwynedd.

6.1.9Biodiversity, the standard of the landscape and townscape, the cultural character and amenities of local communities make up the Area’s primary resources, and it is vital that these assets are not threatened by over-development or by incompatible tourist activities. These aspects should be used as a basis for the creation of a sustainable tourism base unique to Gwynedd. This is consistent with the concept of sustainable tourism that has been defined, for the purposes of this Plan as tourism that meets the needs of existing tourists and the tourist board regions whilst safeguarding and improving opportunities for the future’ (World Tourism Organisation).

6.1.10          Supporting and developing the tourism sector is vital to the economy of Gwynedd and it is foreseen that the industry will have an important role to play in helping diversify the rural economy. It is a dynamic industry, with constantly changing market requirements. In future a great deal more emphasis will be required on providing tourism produce of the highest standard and value for money in order to satisfy visitor expectations. In order to achieve this it will be necessary to make fundamental changes to the structure of the tourism industry in Gwynedd. This Plan attempts to enable these changes to take place for the long-term benefit of the tourism industry in Gwynedd.

6.1.11       In order to meet the requirements of domestic and foreign visitors and to encourage them to visit the area year after year, it is vital for Gwynedd to offer tourism produce of the highest standard, able to compete with other parts of Britain and abroad. It is foreseen that the development of ‘niche’ markets involving the wealth of natural, historic and cultural resources found in the County, will be a central part of ensuring that this target is achieved.

6.1.12          Additionally, various destinations within Gwynedd have already developed, or have the potential to develop tourism produce based on specific themes (e.g. historic heritage in Caernarfon, industrial heritage in Blaenau Ffestiniog, sailing in Pwllheli). Developing specific themes for various destinations will help them develop tourism produce with a strong local identity, whilst at the same time varying the tourist destinations in Gwynedd. The Plan will accentuate the renewal and upgrading of existing produce, extending the benefit throughout the whole County and establishing an exciting variety of local attractions.                      

RETAILING

6.1.13         The quality, number and location of shopping facilities is extremely important. It is essential that provision is available for the local population as well as holiday makers, and the diversity of services will increase the viability and prosperity of the Plan area. The effects of changes in economic circumstances and national trends in retail greatly influence the type and location of shops available in any area. Shoppers now place great emphasis on convenience and accessibility and companies have responded to this by establishing large shops on the edges of towns.

6.1.14         The Retail Study shows that the present hierarchy has a range of good quality shopping facilities on the whole. However the area’s towns face considerable competition from other towns and cities, leading to a financial ‘loss’ for the area. One of the priorities of the Plan is to promote and protect the present status of Service Centres in the County and to improve their image, especially the main shopping streets, offering a policy base to strengthen and extend the variety of services and facilities available within them, enabling them to prosper.

6.1.15       The Plan will support and facilitate any appropriate measures that will enhance the environment, amenity and infrastructure of towns in order to maintain their functions, so that they continue to be a focus for retailing, services, leisure and tourism activities.   

6.1.16            Retailing in rural areas - Outside town centres and other established shopping areas, individual shops or small groups of shops are found in residential areas. These shops also make an important contribution to the shopping provision in the area. They provide a top-up service, and a vital shopping service for some members of the community. They are especially important to individuals who do not own a car, those who do not have use of a car during the day, and people with mobility problems who are unable to travel to towns in order to meet their daily needs. It is not only shops that provide an important service for village residents. Public houses or garages including a shop can serve as an important venue. These facilities are also beneficial to the local area economically and environmentally. As regards the economy they are a source of employment for the local population and have a positive effect on the environment as they reduce the need to travel to reach these services. Due to this, it is important to maintain village shops and other commercial facilities wherever practical.

OBJECTIVES

6.1.17     BASED ON THE AIM OF PROMOTING APPROPRIATE GROWTH AS REGARDS THE ECONOMY AND EMPLOYMENT, THE OBJECTIVES OF THE UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN WILL BE:

STRATEGIC POLICIES

6.1.18   The Strategic Policies establish a framework and reflect the Council’s commitment, through its land use planning powers, to promote appropriate growth in the economy and employment. The Strategic Policies below set out the basis for the Plan’s efforts to achieve this.

 

INDUSTRIAL LAND - STRATEGIC POLICY 15

Land and property in the Plan area used for industry and business will usually be safeguarded for those purposes.

Catchment

Land on employment sites in the Plan area

Bangor

77.95 ha

Caernarfon

55.78 ha

Llŷn

17.14 ha

Porthmadog

35.52 ha

Ffestiniog

9.84 ha

Tywyn/Machynlleth

8.00 ha

Dolgellau/Abermaw

0.00 ha

Bala

0.00 ha

3.25 ha of land is allocated for employment initiatives to meet the shortage identified in the Plan area.

 

EMPLOYMENT - STRATEGIC POLICY 16

Development proposals that will strengthen or diversify local economies including on working farms within the Dependency Catchment Areas will be approved provided they do not significantly harm the environment, the area’s cultural characteristics or the amenities of nearby residents.

 

TOURISM - STRATEGIC POLICY 17

Proposals to develop or improve the variety and quality of tourist facilities and attractions will be approved provided they do not significantly harm the environment, the area’s cultural characteristics or the amenities of nearby residents.

 

SERVICE CENTRES - STRATEGIC POLICY 18

The role of the Service Centres will be maintained or improved by approving proposals for development that will encourage/ facilitate a wide range of shopping, commercial, employment, transport, entertainment, leisure and culture facilities and activities in suitable locations.

 

SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY

Introduction

6.2.1  Planning has a role to play in sustaining and developing the economy and the diversification of the rural economy. The Unitary Development Plan designates specific sites for job creating enterprises and provides a policy framework that caters for all types of enterprises that would create employment and contribute towards the local economy. 

6.2.2      Whilst Policies D1-D12 will provide the land use planning guidance in respect of sustainable economic development within the Plan area, it is important to emphasise that these policies should not be read in isolation. Prospective developers should read the Plan as a whole in order to gain a full understanding of the issues related to the proposed development. The table below provides cross-references to other policies that are closely related to a particular policy. (The list is not exhaustive and it does not include other more general policies or development control type policies for each policy.)

Policies

Key policy considerations

D1 – D5  & D6

CH28 – Impact of development on journeys

D4

B22 - Amenities

D10 & D12

C4 - Adapting buildings for re-use; C7 – Building in a sustainable manner 

D3 – D12

CH18 – Availability of Infrastructure

SITES

6.2.3       Ensuring that suitable sites are available to meet the needs of different types of industry and business is essential in order to support the local economy. This is achieved by assessing the current supply, considering the need for new sites during the Plan’s lifespan and then, if necessary, designating suitable sites to meet future needs. The Gwynedd Employment Land Study (2005), and the Pwllheli and its Hinterland Employment Land Report (2005) were commissioned to identify the type and quantity of employment land that will need to be provided during the Plan period. An executive summary of the conclusions of the study and a copy of the report are available to view separately from this Plan as well as a Topic Paper – ‘Employment Land’ that sets out the considerations referred to as a basis of the need for and the supply of employment land in the Plan. 

6.2.4         The types of sites that are either safeguarded for particular forms of development or provided for in the Plan are as follows:

  • High Quality Employment Sites – Sites characterised by low density development and substantial landscaping to create a pleasant, high quality environment. These sites are safeguarded as suitable locations for prestige Class B1 uses (offices, laboratories, advanced technology, studios and light industry). The aim is to attract new companies and encourage the growth and development of existing companies that will benefit from a high quality environment.
  • Industrial Sites – Sites which cater for Class B2 uses and those Class B1 uses which do not require the prestige setting offered by the High Quality Employment Sites.  There are a significant number of existing Industrial Sites within the area accommodating a wide variety of businesses, including manufacturing, distribution and servicing businesses. The Plan aims to ensure an adequate supply of Industrial Sites and to safeguard existing sites for such uses.
  • ‘Bad Neighbour’ Sites – Within some industries the nature of the product, the impact of manufacturing/processing or other side effects (e.g. handling scrap metal or oil/rubber) leads to them being considered inappropriate uses for Industrial Sites. Such developments will therefore be directed to specific ‘Bad Neighbour’ Sites.

 

POLICY D1 - HIGH QUALITY EMPLOYMENT SITES

Land and units on High Quality Employment Sites, as identified on the Proposals Map, will be safeguarded for employment/business enterprises included within Class B1. In exceptional circumstances, small scale complementary support facilities may be approved provided that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that there is an overriding justification for such a facility in terms of catering for the needs of employees on the employment site and no such facility is available on the employment site;
  2. that the proposed development is on a scale proportionate to the ‘need’ of employees on the employment site;
  3. that the proposed development does not undermine the role of the site as a High Quality Employment Site, either individually or cumulatively.

The scale, design materials, layout and landscaping of any development is required to be of the highest quality and in keeping with the local environment and nature of the site.

6.2.5         Explanation - In order to promote prestige Class B1 uses (offices, laboratories, advanced technology, studios and light industry), the Plan needs to provide a choice of High Quality Employment Sites. The policy ensures that these sites are safeguarded mainly for Class B1 uses. Due to the size and location of some High Quality Business Sites, there is an increasing demand to provide support services such as a crêche or a café as a means of attracting and retaining employees. Additionally, providing such facilities at the source of employment could help to reduce car travelduring working hours by providing for the daily needs of employees on site.

6.2.6       However, it is important to ensure that the scale and nature of such facilities reflect the number of employees on the High Quality Business Site in question and their needs and that they do not attract customers from outside the site. For this reason criteria 1-3 have been included in the policy to safeguard the integrity of such sites as High Quality Employment Sites. Uses which fall into Class A1 ,C1 or D2 will not normally be appropriate as they are unlikely to be ancillary to the work of existingbusinesses on High Quality Employment Sites and would create additional vehicle movement. In the case of Class A1 uses it would also diminish the vitality of town centres.

6.2.7         The success of High Quality Employment Sites depends to a great degree on maintaining the high quality of their built and landscaped environment.  For this reason, any future development on these sites mustcomplement the prestige status of such sites. The following sites shown on the Proposals Map have been designated as High Quality Employment Sites in the Unitary Development Plan. 

Site

Site Area  (HA)

Parc Menai, Bangor

14.15

Adwy’r Hafan, Pwllheli

1.64

Parc Eryri, Penrhyndeudraeth

4.0

 

POLICY D2 - INDUSTRIAL SITES

Land and units on Industrial Sites, as identified on the Proposals Map, will be safeguarded for industrial/business or other enterprises falling within Classes B1, B2 or B8 uses.

 

Proposals for developments not included in class B1, B2 or B8 uses will be permitted providing:

  1. they provide small scale ancillary business facilities that provide anappropriate service solely for the employees of the industries/businesses located on the industrial site;
  2. they provide waste management facilities or other 'sui generis’ uses with similar features to Class B2 or B8 uses;
  3. they do not result in a shortage of land or units for uses B1, B2 or B8.

The size and design of any new development must be in keeping with the local environment and the nature of the site. 

6.2.10Explanation - Industrial Sites provide for a variety of industrial and business uses falling within Class B1 (offices, laboratories, advanced technology, studios and light industry), B2 (general industries) and B8 (wholesale warehouse, distribution centres and repositories).

6.2.9The aim of this policy is to protect Industrial Sites for mainly B1, B2 and B8 uses. In order to sustain economic growth it is important that these sites are safeguarded from competing uses for example retail/commercial (A1, A2 and A3). However, due to the size and location of some industrial sites, it is believed that approving proposals that will provide ancillary services, such as a crêche or a café solely for employees of the industrial site will help reduce traffic movement during working hours and will be a means of attracting and retaining workers. Also the North Wales Waste Strategy has noted that industrial estates are appropriate locations for waste management facilities as they are activities which provide employment opportunities and have similar features to Class B2 activity. There are several other ‘sui generis’ businesses in Gwynedd with Class B2 and B8 features that could be acceptable on industrial sites. Such uses could include car servicing and repairs, bus storage and maintenance and electrical workshops.

6.2.10                The following sites, shown on the Proposals Map, have been designated as Industrial Sites in the Unitary Development Plan:

Catchment Location Use Class Site Area (HA)¹
Bangor Coed y Parc, Bethesda B1 1.35
  Felin Fawr, Bethesda B1, B2       2.03
  Llandygái Industrial Estate B1, B2, B8 24.45
  Bryn Cegin Estate, Llandygái B1, B2     35.97
       
Caernarfon Blythe Farm B1 4.63
  Cibyn B1, B2, B8 32.52
  Peblig, Caernarfon B1, B2, B8    5.72
  The Industrial Estate, Penygroes B1, B2, B8 9.18
       
Llŷn Glanydon Industrial Estate, Pwllheli B1, B2, B8 7.9
  Nefyn Industrial Estate B1, B2, B8 3.5
  Penrhos B1, B2, B8   3.6
  Trefor B1, B2, B8 0.5
       
Porthmadog Llanystumdwy Agricultural Park,² B1, B2, B8¹ 7.1
  Porthmadog Business Park B1, B2, B8 2.38
  Penamser Estate, Porthmadog B1, B8   10.08
  Y Traeth, Porthmadog                                    B2 6.6
  Griffin, Penrhyn B1, B2, B8 3.4
  Cookes, Penrhyn B1, B2, B8 2
       
Ffestiniog Tanygrisiau B1, B2  7.7
  Glan y Don, Blaenau Ffestiniog B1, B2 2.14
       
Bala³      
       
Dolgellau/      
Abermaw³
       
Tywyn/  Pendre Estate B1, B2, B8 8
Machynlleth

¹ Existing  Industrial Sites or sites with planning permission
² Restricted to agri/food businesses
³ Industrial Sites located within the Snowdonia National Park

6.2.11                In addition to those sites noted above, there are a number of private industrial/business sites in the area occupied by one company or a multitude of smaller companies. These vary from large employers to small units used as workshops by local companies. The Plan recognises the importance of these sites in supporting employment and aims to safeguard them for future industrial use.     

POLICY D3 - ALLOCATION OF ADDITIONAL EMPLOYMENT LAND

Additional sites are allocated for employment purposes at the following locations:

 

Catchment

Location

Use Class

Site Area (HA)

Llŷn

Near Glandon Garage, Pwllheli

B1, B2 or B8

2.0

Near Y Ffôr Industrial Estate

B1, B2 or B8

0.75

Near Afonwen Laundry

B1, B2 or B8

0.5

 

Development proposals on these sites will only be permitted where they are in accordance with the development brief provided for the site and policies D1 or D2 in the Plan (i.e. whichever is relevant). 

6.2.12Explanation - It is essential to ensure that suitable provision is available for industrial and business use within the area during the Plan’s lifespan. Having considered the results of the studies commissioned by the Council and the need to facilitate employment opportunities across the Plan area it is considered that the sites designated under this policy are the most suitable and would provide sufficient provision with enough flexibility.

POLICY D4 – ‘BAD NEIGHBOUR SITES’

Developments involving a ‘Bad Neighbour’ industry1 will be approved provided they are located on a designated ‘Bad Neighbour’ industrial site listed below and shown on the Proposals Map. New units will only be permitted on condition that the scale and design are in keeping with the local environment and the nature of the site.

 

Catchment

Location

Bangor

Penrhyn Quarry Site   

Caernarfon

Griffiths Crossing Site

Llŷn  

Nanhoron Brick and Block Site

Porthmadog

Cookes Site, Penrhyndeudraeth

Ffestiniog

Cefn Bychan Site Blaenau Ffestiniog

 

Manod Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog

 

In exceptional circumstances, where provision is not available on designated sites, the development of a new site will be approved provided:

  1. that it is sited in an unobtrusive and well screened location, close to a development boundary;
  2. that the site is a previously developed site or that efforts to find a suitable previously developed site have proved unsuccessful.

1The term ’bad neighbour’ industry is used to describe many activities varying from melting down metals to handling scrap or operating a skip service. They are often described as ’heavy’ or ‘dirty’ industries.

6.2.13        Explanation - Provision must be made for ‘bad neighbour’ industries¹ since they often provide necessary services which make a valuable contribution to the economy by creating employment. However, such industries can have a detrimental effect on other nearby uses, and therefore it is considered more appropriate to locate them together on appropriate sites. Careful selection of appropriate sites can reduce the effect on the amenities of local residents and the environment. Only in exceptional circumstances, will the development of new sites be approved subject to the criteria listed above.

 

POLICY D5 - SPECIAL LOCATION NEEDS1

In exceptional cases, proposals to locate an industrial or business development on sites that have not been designated or safeguarded for business/industry will be permitted provided the proposed development has genuine ‘special location needs’¹ which cannot be met on an existing designated High Quality Employment or Industrial site.

6.2.14      Explanation - A situation could arise where the sites provided for under policies D1, D2 and D3 of the Plan do not satisfy the ‘special location needs’¹ of a proposed industrial/business development. Under such circumstances there must be genuine justification for need of a new site for the industry or business in question. Therefore, it must be shown that full consideration has been given to the existing sites currently available, and the reasons why they are not suitable for the proposal on account of the special location needs¹ nature of the development. 

6.2.15       In all cases, an Environmental Statement, or where appropriate an Environmental Impact Assessment must be submitted with proposals considered in accordance with this policy in order to demonstrate, to the Local Planning Authority’s satisfaction, that all other options have been investigated and to ensure that all possible effects of the proposed development have been considered. Proposals must also conform to any relevant design guidance issued by the Local Planning Authority.

1 Special location needs is defined as businesses and industries which need to be located close to the source of raw materials (e.g. wood processing works) or that require a constant supply of natural resources for their activities (e.g. water from a river or from the sea).

 

UNITS AND BUILDINGS

6.2.16  A supply of suitable units and buildings for employment purposes is of vital importance in order to sustain and promote the area’s economy. Businesses and companies can benefit from the use of existing buildings and this is also consistent with the principle of sustainability. Making use of vacant and redundant buildings could obviate the necessity to build from new.

 

POLICY D6 - INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS UNITS WITHIN DEVELOPMENT BOUNDARIES

Proposals to build units for industry or businesses within development boundaries will be approved provided that:

  1. the site has not been designated for any other use;
  2. that the scale, type and design of the development is appropriate for the site and the immediate surroundings and is compatible with other existing nearby uses.

6.2.17          Explanation - Locating industrial and business developments within centres or villages can add to the centre/village’s vitality, ensuring that sites are developed close to the workforce and where effective transport facilities are available, including public transport. At the same time this ensures that the countryside is protected from inappropriate development. This policy also encourages industries and businesses to locate within the Plan’s centres and villages.

6.2.18                      The above policy refers to business developments, industry and storage which fall into use Classes B1, B2 and B8 in the Use Classes Order 1987, but not industry that falls into a special use class (‘sui generis’).

 

POLICY D7 - RURAL WORKSHOPS OR SMALL SCALE INDUSTRIAL/BUSINESS UNITS OUTSIDE DEVELOPMENT BOUNDARIES

Proposals for workshops or small scale industrial/business units outside development boundaries will be permitted provided it can be shown that the proposed site is the most suitable location to fulfil that need and if all the following criteria can be met:

  1. an existing building is used or, in exceptions where there are no existing suitable buildings available, that the site is physically related to an existing development boundary, adjoins an existing group of buildings or is a previously developed site;
  2. that the scale, type and design of the development is appropriate for the building or site and the immediate surroundings and is compatible with other existing nearby uses;
  3. that the proposal includes adequate new boundary treatment and sensitive landscape measures to alleviate the visual impact of the proposed development on the surrounding area;
  4. that a new dwelling is not necessary to serve the development.

6.2.19      Explanation - The provision of rural workshops and small scale industrial and business units is considered important in supporting the sustainability of the rural economy. The aim of this policy is to permit small scale developments that are in keeping with rural areas. There are a number of buildings in rural areas that could be suitable for industrial or business use. In addition, there are many vacant buildings or buildings that are no longer required for their original use. The Plan supports proposals to use such buildings if their use and development conforms to the policies included in this Plan.

6.2.20         However, it is acknowledged that situations could arise where an existing suitable building is unavailable. For that reason an exceptions policy is introduced that will promote the development of genuine small scale non-speculative employment outside development boundaries. In order to be consistent with the Plan's principles on protecting the environment, new small scale employment developments will be encouraged to sites that adjoin a group of existing buildings, or to previously developed sites. It is also important that buildings of this kind can blend into the rural background; criteria have been included in the policy to achieve this. Proposals must also conform to any relevant design guidance issued by the Local Planning Authority.

6.2.21         The purpose of the policy is to create a variety of different employment opportunities locally mainly by converting buildings into commercial or industrial developments as well as for tourism, sport and leisure. As a result there will be a presumption against approving applications that lead to an accumulation of similar uses in a specific area unless evidence is available that this will increase the viability, opportunities and value of a group of economic enterprises (agglomeration).

6.2.22   The Local Planning Authority will consider applications to convert buildings that are permitted under agricultural use carefully in order to prevent the misuse of permitted planning development rights.

 

POLICY D8 - EXPANSION OF EXISTING ENTERPRISES

Proposals involving the expansion/extension/intensification of existing industrial and business or other enterprises will be approved provided all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the proposal does not involve an existing use which is already causing significant harm to the surrounding area and/or existing nearby uses;
  2. that the proposal is sited within or adjoining the existing development;
  3. that the proposal is ancillary to the existing operation;
  4. that the scale of the existing development together with the proposal will not cause significant harm to amenity, the environment, and the local highway network;
  5. that the proposal includes adequate new boundary treatment and sensitive landscape measures to alleviate the visual impact on the surrounding area.

6.2.23            Explanation - Existing enterprises play an important role in the local economy and can add to the vitality of existing centres and villages. The aim of this policy is to facilitate their future development. Expansion, extension and intensification proposals should not cause any problems on High Quality Employment Sites or Industrial Sites. However, on other sites, for example within villages, residential areas or open countryside, many issues will need to be considered to assess the impact of the proposed development and whether it has outgrown its existing location and should be relocated to a more suitable location on a High Quality Employment Site or Industrial Site.

 

POLICY D9 - FARM BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES

Proposals to erect buildings and structures for agricultural purposes will be approved provided they are reasonably necessary for agricultural purposes and all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the site adjoins existing agricultural buildings unless there are site or technical design difficulties which prevent this from happening;
  2. that the development will not significantly harm a protected building¹;
  3. that the development will not have a detrimental impact on biodiversity (in particular aquatic life) and that the proposal incorporates adequate environmental mitigation measures.

1 A protected building is defined as a dwelling (or other building used by people e.g. schools, hospitals and offices) not on an agricultural holding.

6.2.24Explanation - Contemporary methods of farming usually require suitable and modern farm buildings and structures. This policy aims to support the development of buildings and structures (e.g. slurry pits and grain stores) if they are genuinely needed for farming purposes.

6.2.25               Agricultural buildings and structures can have a significant impact on the use and amenities of protected buildings¹ in particular if they are sited within 400 metres of such buildings. Proposals that are considered likely to significantly harm (e.g. due to noise, dust, smell or other disturbance) protected buildings will be refused. 

6.2.26        On unsuitable sites (e.g. close to streams and rivers), farming operations from agricultural buildings and structures can have a detrimental impact on biodiversity, in particular aquatic life. It is therefore essential to ensure that such buildings and structures are appropriately sited and that environmental containment provisions are adopted. 

6.2.27        Details of siting, design and materials to be used are very important with developments of this nature. They are often large developments in the countryside which can be very prominent. Every effort should be made to try to ensure that these buildings and structures blend into the rural background. It will therefore be necessary to seek the best possible site in order to ensure that the development blends into the landscape or is located out of sight. Suitable design, materials and colours will also be crucial. 

 

P0LICY D10 - CONVERSION OF BUILDINGS FOR INDUSTRY OR BUSINESS USE

Proposals for the change of use of buildings for small scale industry or business uses will be approved provided the chosen location can be justified and all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the scale and type of development is acceptable considering its rural/urban location and the size of the building in question;
  2. that the development would not lead to an unacceptable relationship with nearby buildings or existing uses.

6.2.28      Explanation - There are many buildings in towns, villages and rural areas that could be suitable for industrial or business use. There are also many buildings which are vacant or are no longer required for their original purpose. The Plan supports proposals to make use of such buildings providing that their use and development conforms to the policies of this Plan.   

6.2.29       The purpose of this policy is to create a variety of local employment opportunities through the conversion of buildings to commercial and industrial use including tourism, sports and leisure uses. For this reason there will be a presumption against approving applications that will lead to a concentration of similar uses within a specific area unless evidence is available that this will increase the vitality, opportunities and value of a group of economic ventures (‘agglomeration’).

6.2.30   The Local Planning Authority will examine applications to convert buildings permitted under agricultural use rights thoroughly, in order to prevent the misuse of permitted development planning rights.

 

P0LICY D11 - HOME BASED BUSINESS1

Proposals to use part of a dwelling or its curtilage, or a building ancillary to a dwelling, for small scale home based business purposes will be permitted providing the following criteria can be satisfied:

  1. that the proposed development will not significantly alter the residential character and appearance of the building and its curtilage;
  2. that there would be no adverse impact on the character of the area or on residential amenity by reason of its scale, nature, operation, noise or traffic generation.

1 This policy only applies where the home based business activity is likely to  or has changed the residential character of a dwelling, and is not applicable to activities that are ancillary to the residential use as a dwelling which do not  require planning permission.

6.2.31       Explanation - Advances in technology and communications have made it possible for more people to work from home. In a peripheral rural area such as Gwynedd the establishment of home based businesses can contribute significantly to the local economy whilst at the same time supporting sustainability by reducing the need to travel long distances. However, not all types of business activities are suitable for residential areas. Therefore, this policy only facilitates those types of activities that can be tolerated within a residential area without causing a nuisance through increased traffic noise or general disturbance. Where planning permission is approved, conditions may be imposed controlling noise, hours of operation, advertising, parking, traffic and storage.  

 

POLICY D12 - NEW OFFICES

New offices included in Class B1 uses will be permitted:

  1. on High Quality Employment Sites and on Industrial Sites,
  2. on sites close to defined town centres,
  3. on upper floors in properties that are within defined town centres
    ch. by converting buildings,
  4. in special circumstances as seen in Policy D7,

provided all the following criteria are met:

  1. the development will not adversely affect nearby properties;
  2. there is sufficient room on the site for servicing the development parking and movement of vehicles around the site;
  3. the scale and nature of the development is in keeping with the character of the local area.

6.2.32                Explanation - Different types of offices fall within Class B1 (Business Use). Their purpose is not principally to provide services for the public from day to day as provided by professional and financial offices (Class A2). Class B1 offices tend to be footloose and can operate in a variety of places. Within defined town centres Class B1 offices are not permitted on ground floors within the main shopping areas that are reserved mainly for shops. When existing buildings are converted to Class B1 office use, whether in rural or residential areas, the impact of the proposal on the character of the neighborhood will be assessed.

 

TOURISM

Introduction

6.3.1           The tourism industry is extremely important to the local economy and is seen as having a significant role to play in aiding the diversification of the rural economy. It is therefore essential for Gwynedd’s economy that a quality tourism sector is sustained and developed.

6.3.2        Whilst policies D13-D21 will provide the land use planning guidance in respect of tourism development within the Plan area, it is important to emphasise that these policies should not be read in isolation. Prospective developers should read the Plan as a whole in order to gain a full understanding of the issues related to the proposed development. The table below provides cross-references to other policies that are closely related to a particular policy. (The list is not exhaustive and it does not include other more general policies or development control type policies for each policy.)

Policies

Key policy considerations

D13

A2 – Protect the social, linguistic and cultural fabric of communities; C3 – Re-using previously developed sites; CH28 - Impact of development on journeys; CH32 - Increasing accessibility by public transport

D14

CH32 - Increasing accessibility by public transport

D15

A2 – Protecting the social, linguistic and cultural fabric of communities; C3 – Re-using previously developed sites

D16 -D17

A2 – Protecting the social, linguistic and cultural fabric of communities; B8 – The Llŷn and Anglesey Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); B10 – Protecting and enhancing Landscape Conservation Areas

D19 - D21

B8 – The Llŷn and Anglesey Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB);  B10 – Protecting and enhancing Landscape Conservation Areas

 

ATTRACTIONS AND FACILITIES

6.3.3        Gwynedd’s appeal as a tourist destination is based on the quality of the environment and coastline, and the archaeological, historical and cultural wealth of the area.  The tourism economy is also dependent on the quality and variety of facilities and attractions. The Plan intends to build on this foundation by promoting:

  • tourism which safeguards the environmental, historical and cultural wealth of the area
  • attractions and facilities of the highest standard, based on interpreting and exhibiting the natural, cultural and historical resources of the area in a sustainable manner
  • the provision of quality all weather attractions and facilities which will attract visitors to the area all year round 

6.3.4    It is anticipated that the development of ‘niche’ markets, which provide for specialist activities, will present genuine opportunities to extend the tourist season in Gwynedd.

 

POLICY D13 - ATTRACTIONS AND FACILITIES

Proposals to develop:

  1. new tourist attractions and facilities, or
  2. to improve the standard of existing facilities

will be approved, providing that they are within the development boundary. Where there are no suitable opportunities within the development boundary, only proposals that involve:

  1. the re-use of an existing building(s) or a previously used site, or
  2. an existing building(s) or a site closely related to other existing buildings that forms part of an existing tourist facility complex including one that provides visitor accommodation, or
  3. the development of an activity restricted to a specific location due to its use of a historical or natural resource

will be approved. Every proposal will be required to comply with all of the following criteria:

  1. with the exception of attractions or facilities ancillary to existing tourist enterprises, that the proposal is consistent with the development of ‘niche’ markets or supports the development of an identified theme for a specific destination as identified in the Gwynedd Tourism Strategy1;
  2. the scale, type and character of the proposed development is appropriate for its urban/rural setting;
  3. that the proposed development is of high quality in terms of design layout and appearance.

1The Gwynedd Tourism Strategy (2003-8) identifies three ‘niche’ markets in which Gwynedd has a clear advantage over other areas, namely, activity tourism, cultural tourism and events tourism. The strategy aims to develop the tourism product in Gwynedd by giving priority to these ‘niche’ markets and specific geographical initiatives, for example the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG)  Visit Wales designated Tourism Growth Areas (Caernarfon – Regional Tourism Growth Area, Bala, Dolgellau and Trawsfynydd – Specialist Interest Tourism Growth Area, the Dyfi Valley Tourism Growth Area) and the ‘cycle hubs’ being developed in the Dolgellau and the Llŷn Penisnsula as part of the  Visit Wales  and Gwynedd Cycling Strategies.

6.3.5        Explanation - In order to sustain a prosperous tourism industry that provides employment opportunities for local communities it is essential to extend the variety and standard of tourist attractions and facilities.

6.3.6  Whilst developing tourist attractions and facilities, it is important to ensure that this is achieved in a way which does not cause significant harm to environmental, economic and social considerations. The impact of proposals will be assessed against the criteria listed in the policy above and other relevant policies within the Plan.

6.3.7         This policy is not relevant to the provision of visitor accommodation which will be considered under policies D14 to D20 of this Plan.

 

VISITOR ACCOMMODATION

6.3.8           A range of visitor accommodation of appropriate quality and type in the right location are vital for a successful tourist industry.  Accommodation standards must evolve in line with increasingly higher visitor expectations and the accommodation sector needs to adapt significantly if it is to satisfy the needs of future visitors. 

6.3.9          Basically there are two types of visitor accommodation, namely serviced and self-serviced accommodation.  These are available either as:

  • Permanent facilities – e.g. hotels, farm accommodation, holiday flats, chalets, bed and breakfast establishments, hostels, outdoor centres etc
  • Temporary facilities – e.g. static sites (caravans) and touring units, tents.

 

POLICY D14 - SERVICED HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

Proposals for:

  1. the development of new permanent serviced holiday accommodation, or the conversion of existing buildings into such accommodation, or
  2. extending existing serviced holiday accommodation establishments

will be approved, provided they are of a high quality in terms of design, layout and appearance and that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. in the case of new build, that the development is located within a development boundary, or makes use of a suitable previously developed site;
  2. that the proposed development is of appropriate scale considering the site, location and/or settlement in question.

6.3.10             Explanation - This policy applies to a variety of different types of serviced accommodation, from large high quality hotels to small bed and breakfast accommodation on farms. Quality hotels and other serviced accommodation can potentially bring significant economic benefits to the Plan area and broaden the range of holiday accommodation available to visitors. In general the Plan area lacks an adequate range of such accommodation. The aim of this Policy is to support the principle of expanding the range and improving the quantity and quality of serviced accommodation.

 

POLICY D15 - SELF-SERVICED HOLIDAY ACCOMMODATION

Proposals for:

  1. new development, or the conversion of existing buildings into permanent self-serviced holiday accommodation, or
  2. extending existing self-serviced holiday accommodation establishments

will be approved providing the development is of a high quality in terms of design, layout and appearance and that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. in the case of new build, that the development is located within a development boundary, or makes use of a suitable previously developed site;
  2. that the proposed development is appropriate in scale considering the site, location and/or settlement in question; 
  3. that the proposal will not result in a loss of permanent housing stock;
  4. that the development is not sited within a primarily residential area or does not significantly harm the residential character of an area;
  5. that the development does not lead to an over-concentration of such accommodation within the area.

6.3.11        Explanation - A wide range of high quality self-serviced accommodation is essential in providing visitors with choice. The aim of this policy is to support the principle of providing high quality self-serviced holiday accommodation which presents such a choice. 

6.3.12          Where planning permission is given for self-catering holiday units, a condition will be attached to ensure that the building will only be used as holiday accommodation and that it cannot be used for permanent occupation.

6.3.13          Existing national guidance and the priority given to the conversion of existing buildings for economic use, means that within some areas, there is an abundance of buildings that have been converted to self-serviced accommodation. Clearly it is not the intention of national guidance or the Council for this policy to lead an over-concentration of this type of holiday accommodation within a particular location. In assessing proposals under this policy, the Council will consider the locality’s capacity to reasonably accommodate such developments in terms of its impact on the environment, social and cultural character, road network, amenities etc. 

6.3.14 This policy is not relevant to proposals to establish new static holiday and touring caravans and holiday chalets sites. Such proposals will be considered under policies D16 and D17 of this Plan.

 

POLICY D16 - PROVISION OF NEW STATIC HOLIDAY CARAVAN AND HOLIDAY
CHALET SITES

Proposals for the development of new sites for static holiday caravan (single or twin caravan) units 1 or holiday chalets 2 will be refused.

1 Defined under the Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960 (as amended by the Caravan Sites Act 1968)
2 For the purpose of this Plan, a holiday chalet will be defined as any structure or suitable building intended for use as holiday accommodation, which is not defined by the statutory definition of caravan, that is:

  • when it is not possible to transport the structure to the site in one piece, and/or
  • that the structure/building prior to assembly is composed of more than two parts; and/or
  • that the structure is placed on a purpose-built foundation, and /or
  • that the structure, once assembled, cannot be removed from the site in one piece

6.3.15            Explanation - The proliferation of static caravan and chalet parks, in particular along the coastline has had a detrimental impact on the appearance of the landscape. The high number of existing sites means that the Plan area is already well served by such uses, with the static holiday caravan and holiday chalet sector providing the majority of all visitor accommodation bedspaces within the County. Consequently, there is no justification for the provision of either new static holiday caravans (single or twin units) or new holiday chalets sites within the Plan area.

 

POLICY D17 - UPGRADING OF EXISTING STATIC HOLIDAY CARAVAN AND HOLIDAY CHALET SITES

Proposals to upgrade existing static holiday caravan and holiday chalet sites by:

  1. minor extensions to the land area of existing static holiday caravan sites (i.e. single or twin caravan units) and holiday chalet sites,  
  2. the relocation of static holiday caravan or holiday chalet units from prominent settings to less prominent locations;
  3. a minor increase in the number of static holiday caravan or holiday chalet units, or

    ch. proposals to exchange touring pitches for static holiday caravan units;

will be approved provided that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the proposed development is part of a scheme to improve the range and quality of tourist accommodation and facilities on the site;
  2. that the proposed development offers significant and permanent improvements to the design, layout and appearance of the site and its setting in the surrounding landscape;
  3. that any increase in the number of static holiday caravan or holiday chalet units is minor and is commensurate with the scale of any improvements to the site. 

6.3.16 Explanation - High quality static holiday caravan and holiday chalet sites make a vital contribution to providing a variety of high standard tourist accommodation. Whilst some sites have already seen progressive improvement, many require upgrading and improvement. Correspondingly, many sites are located in visually sensitive areas, particularly along the coastline. The aim of this policy is to promote improvements and upgrade the standard of visitor accommodation on existing sites, and to reduce the impact of these sites on the landscape, including views out of the Snowdonia National Park.  A proposal with the sole purpose of replacing single unit holiday caravans with twin unit holiday caravans will be regarded as insufficient justification for permitting applications under this policy.  Proposals to provide retail facilities (foods and non-food), restaurants/cafes and take-away food are dealt with under the retailing policies of this Plan.

6.3.17   ‘Minor’ in relation to extending site area is not defined except in relation to an increase in the number of units and should be no greater than a 10% increase on the number at the time of the first application to increase the number of units. However, because of the considerable variety in the size, nature and location of sites, each application will be assessed on its merit within this general guide.

 

POLICY D18 - STATIC HOLIDAY CARAVAN AND HOLIDAY CHALET SITES -
EXTENDING THE SEASON

Proposals to extend the holiday season on static holiday caravan (single and twin units) and holiday chalet sites to a period of ten and a half months will be approved on condition that the units are of a standard suitable for the purpose of winter occupation.

6.3.18        Explanation - This policy permits static caravan and holiday chalet sites to operate for a period of ten and a half months, between March 1st and January 10th of the following year, thus enhancing the economic advantages to be gained from the tourist industry.

6.3.19 Where planning permission is granted in accordance with this policy, a condition will be attached to ensure that static caravan units will be used only as holiday accommodation, and not for permanent occupation.

 

POLICY D19 - NEW SITES FOR TOURING CARAVANS, CAMPING AND TOURING UNITS

Proposals for new touring caravan, camping or touring unit sites will be permitted provided that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the proposed development is of a high quality in terms of design, layout and appearance, and is sited in an unobtrusive location which is well screened by existing landscape features and/or where touring units can be readily assimilated into the landscape in a way which does not significantly harm the visual quality of the landscape;
  2. that the site is close to the main highway network and that adequate access can be provided without significantly harming landscape characteristics and features;
  3. that the site is used for touring purposes only and that any units are removed from the site during periods when not in use; 
  4. that the proposed development, taking into account the cumulative impact of existing and approved touring caravan, camping and touring unit sites within the the immediate locality, will not exceed the capacity (e.g. environmental, social and cultural, road network, amenities etc.) of that locality to reasonably accommodate such developments. 

6.3.20        Explanation - The aim of this policy is to facilitate the establishment of high quality touring and camping sites in appropriate locations and recognises:

  • the contribution made by high quality touring and camping sites to the range of holiday accommodation available for visitors;
  • that touring caravan and camping sites situated in prominent and open locations can have a significant impact on the appearance of the countryside;
  • that some areas already contain a high density of this type of holiday accommodation (e.g. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and coastal areas in general) and additional provision could have a detrimental impact on landscape, and could also spoil the intrinsic qualities which render those areas popular tourist destinations in the first place.

In order to avoid doubt ‘touring units’ includes touring caravans, tents, trailer tents and motor-caravans.

6.3.21 In all cases, the applicant will need to submit a landscaping scheme, as well as an improvement plan, with the application. Since the countryside looks very different during the winter months, a condition will be attached to planning permissions for all new sites approved, limiting the operational period of the site to between 1st March and 1st October of the same year.

 

POLICY D20 - TOURING CARAVAN, CAMPING AND TOURING UNIT SITES – EXTENSIONS, ADDITIONAL PITCHES, RELOCATION AND EXCHANGES

Proposals for:

  1. an increase in the number of pitches on, or extensions to, existing touring caravan, camping and touring unit sites
  2. the relocation of pitches away from visually prominent sites, or
  3. the exchange of tent or touring caravan pitches for an appropriate number of touring unit pitches

will be approved provided that the proposal forms part of a scheme that will result in environmental and visual improvements in terms of siting, layout, design and the appearance of the site and its setting in the surrounding landscape and the proposed development, taking into account the cumulative effect of existing and approved touring caravan, camping and touring unit sites within the locality, will not exceed the ability (e.g. environmental, social and cultural, road network, amenities etc.) of that locality to reasonably accommodate such development.

6.3.22        Explanation - High quality touring and camping facilities make an important contribution to providing a variety of high standard tourist accommodation.  Whilst some of the existing site operators have invested in providing high standard facilities, a large number of sites need to be significantly upgraded and improved. Additionally a number of sites are located in visually sensitive areas. The purpose of this policy is to promote improvements to the quality of existing touring caravan, camping and touring unit sites and to reduce their visual impact on the landscape, subject to specific criteria. 

6.3.23 Due to the substantial range in the size, nature and location of sites, each application will be assessed on its merit. In respect of ‘exchanges’ the ‘appropriate’ number of touring unit pitches permitted on existing sites will be assessed against the size and character of the existing site and the impact of the proposed development on those issues listed in the above policy and all other relevant policies of the Plan.  In all cases, the applicant will need to submit a landscaping scheme with the application along with an improvement plan.

 

POLICY D21 - STORING TOURING CARAVANS

Proposals for storing touring caravans will be approved provided all the following criteria can be met:

  1. the caravans are stored in appropriate existing buildings, or
  2. where there are no appropriate existing buildings available that unobtrusive outdoor locations are utilised;
  3. that the site will be used to store unused touring caravans.

6.3.24        Explanation - The aim of this policy is to complement policies D19 and D20 of the Plan (i.e. the principle that sites are used for touring purposes only) by permitting the establishment of touring caravan storage facilities. There are a number of existing rural buildings that could be used to store touring caravans without having a harmful effect on the surrounding visual amenities and which would also provide an opportunity for rural diversification. In circumstances where there are no appropriate buildings that could be used, permission to use unobtrusive locations for the same purpose may be considered as an exception. 

6.3.25   An unobtrusive location is defined as one which is well screened by existing landscape features and/or where touring units can be readily assimilated into the landscape.

 

RETAILING

Introduction

6.4.1        Whilst Policies D22 – D32 provide guidance on land use planning matters related to providing land or adapting existing buildings for shopping and commercial uses in town centres and villages, it is important to emphasise that these policies should not be read in isolation. Prospective developers should read the Plan as a whole in order to gain a full understanding of the issues related to the proposed development. The table below provides cross-references to other policies closely related to a particular policy. (The list is not exhaustive and it does not include other more general policies or development control type policies for each policy.)

Policy

Key policy considerations

D23 & D24

D22 - New development within defined town centres; B4 - Development in or affecting the setting of conservation areas

D27

B23 - Amenities; C2: Adopting the sequential approach ; CH28 – Impact of development on journeys

 

RETAILING IN CENTRES

POLICY D22 - NEW DEVELOPMENT WITHIN DEFINED TOWN CENTRES

Proposals for new retail development or extensions to existing retail developments within defined town centres identified on the Proposals Map will be approved provided all the following criteria can be met:

  1. the development will not undermine the attractiveness, viability and vitality of the centre;
  2. the development maintains an acceptable balance between retail and non-retail uses;
  3. that the traffic network and car parks are able to cope with any additional traffic generated by the development;
  4. there are appropriate arrangements for servicing the unit in place or provided as part of the development;
  5. that the development is accessible and provides facilities for people with children, the elderly and the disabled (in accordance with the scale and nature of the development);
  6. there is a provision for refuse collection and recycling facilities on the site (in accordance with the scale and nature of the development).

6.4.2            Explanation - The hierarchy of shopping centres in Gwynedd has been defined as follows

Sub-regional

Urban

Local

Bangor

Blaenau Ffestiniog
Caernarfon
Porthmadog
Pwllheli

Abermaw
Bethesda
Criccieth
Llanberis
Nefyn
Penrhyndeudraeth
Penygroes
Tywyn

 

Applications for any retail development will be assessed according to their ability to contribute towards sustaining and strengthening these Service Centres. The Council want to see appropriate new developments located in the identified town centres¹ rather than on their outskirts or on sites outside the centre. The physical extent of the town centres is identified on the relevant Inset Map for each of the centres listed above. All applications for retail developments over 2,500 square metres gross floor space should be supported by an Impact Assessment². Such assessments may also be necessary for some smaller developments, for instance those that are likely to have a large impact on a smaller town or district centre.  Within town centres planning applications for retail development will not be required to consider to the need for the development.

6.4.3         A large scale development could have a detrimental effect on traffic levels and flow in a centre. The development must fit into the existing traffic network and comply with other policies in the Plan. Furthermore, the Council would like to see a large scale development providing appropriate facilities for its customers, for example, a toilet for shoppers confined to wheelchairs, rooms for adults with small children, etc.

6.4.4 Planning obligations are also becoming increasingly commonplace in ensuring that development proposals are acceptable in land use planning terms. They may only be used where necessary to the development plan policy/ proposal or the granting of planning permission, relevant to planning and relevant to the development to be permitted. The Council will only seek to use such measures where problems cannot be overcome by using planning conditions. Where they are necessary and appropriate they will cover a variety of factors from which ‘community benefit’ is derived, including infrastructure, services and facilities, parking, open space, landscaping and nature conservation.

¹ Area within the Service Centre where most shops, commercial uses and offices are located.

² Technique used to identify the effects a new development is likely to have on the attractiveness, vitality and viability of town centres Guidance on what should be included in Impact Assessments is provided in paragraph 6 of Technical Advice Note (Wales) 4, Retailing and Town Centres

POLICY D23 - CHANGE OF USE OF GROUND FLOOR UNITS IN THE FOLLOWING TOWN CENTRES - BANGOR, CAERNARFON, PORTHMADOG AND PWLLHELI

In order to maintain the attractiveness of existing town centres, ground floor units will be safeguarded for shopping purposes (i.e. Class Use A1 1). Proposals to change the use of ground floor shops to non-retail uses (except hot-food takeaways) within the defined town centres of Bangor, Caernarfon, Porthmadog and Pwllheli will be assessed against all the following considerations:

  1. Within the Primary Shopping Area 2:

 

  1. the need to ensure that shops are the main use
  2. the number of existing non-retail units or units with unimplemented planning permission for non-retail use
  3. the need to avoid dead frontages

    ch. the length of time the property has been vacant and on the market
  4. the impact of the proposed development on the character of the shopping area

 

  1. In the rest of the town centre:

    dd. the suitability of the proposed use in a town centre

    e. the need to avoid dead frontages

1 Use for all or any of the following purposes: sale of goods other than hot food; post office; travel agency; sale of sandwiches or other cold food for consumption outside the premises; hairdressing; funeral director; hiring of domestic or personal goods; laundrette.

2 Usually a central area within the town centre where most of the town’s shops are located

6.4.5        Explanation - Within the towns identified in the Policy, the majority of ground floor units in the Primary Shopping Areas are shops. The Primary Shopping Areas are identified on the Proposals Map and their boundaries were selected following a Retail Impact Study.
          
6.4.6         The aim is to safeguard and support the role of the Primary Shopping Areas by controlling the number of non-retail uses, as an accumulation of non-retail uses would pose a threat to the prosperity of Primary Shopping Areas.

6.4.7         The Council recognises that some shops may become vacant and could remain vacant for a long period of time. If a unit remains vacant for a long period, it could mean lost opportunities to provide services or other facilities which are compatible with the role of the centre. When considering proposals for the change of use of a unit under such circumstances, clear evidence must be presented to show that the unit has been widely marketed as a shop for a continuous 12 month period at a fair price or rent and that no reasonable offer has been refused.

6.4.8         It is considered that Bangor, Caernarfon, Porthmadog and Pwllheli present sufficient opportunities outside the Primary Shopping Areas, yet within the town centres, for non-retail uses. For this reason, and to encourage more variety and flexibility within the rest of the defined town centre, the size of the Primary Shopping Areas has been restricted to a fairly small area. Outside the Primary Shopping Areas the Council will consider the suitability of non-retail uses in terms of the effect of that use on the retail role, character or vitality of the area defined as the Town Centre.

 

POLICY D24 - CHANGE OF USE OF GROUND FLOOR UNITS WITHIN DEFINED TOWN CENTRES IN ABERMAW, BETHESDA, BLAENAU FFESTINIOG, CRICCIETH, LLANBERIS, NEFYN, PENRHYNDEUDRAETH, PENYGROES, AND TYWYN TO NON-RETAIL USES

Proposals to change the use of the ground floor retail units within the defined centres of Abermaw, Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Criccieth, Llanberis, Nefyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Penygroes and Tywyn to non-retail uses (except hot-food takeaways) will be approved provided that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. the proposed development, either individually or cumulatively, does not undermine the retail role of the centre;
  2. the unit has been vacant and unsuccessfully marketed exhaustively as a retail unit;
  3. the proposed use will make a positive contribution to the attractiveness, viability and vitality of the town centre;
  4. the proposed use is in keeping with adjacent uses;
  5. the development does not create an excessive amount of dead frontages.

6.4.9            Explanation - Maintaining the attractiveness, vitality and viability of all town centres is extremely important. It is considered that the main service provided in the town centres of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Abermaw, Tywyn, Llanberis, Bethesda, Criccieth, Nefyn, Penrhyndeudraeth and Penygroes will be shopping.  However, other facilities add variety and have a positive impact on the attractiveness, viability and vitality of centres and give people an opportunity to use a variety of services and facilities during the same visit. This policy includes an element of flexibility towards managing the change of use of ground floor units currently used as shops.

 

POLICY D25 - HOT FOOD TAKE-AWAY DEVELOPMENTS

Hot food take-away facilities will be refused unless all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that the use is in keeping with adjacent land uses;
  2. that the development will not generate excessive noise, smells or litter in a manner that will have an unacceptable impact on the character of the area;
  3. that the development will not lead to a concentration of this type of development in one specific area.

6.4.10        Explanation - Applications for hot food take-away facilities will need to be considered carefully as they can have a potential detrimental effect on the character of the shopping area and on the amenities of nearby users and residents. Such developments will have to be assessed in the light of adjacent land use to ensure that they are in keeping with the area and its character and will not have a negative effect on the locality. In addition, there is a risk that these developments will generate excessive noise, smells and litter and therefore these types of applications should be dealt with by assessing their potential to create harm. On the whole this type of development can be a valuable asset to a town centre, particularly for visitors and the centre’s night time economy. But unless these are managed they can have a detrimental impact on the attractiveness, vitality and viability of town centres. Thresholds where this type of development will become unacceptable will have to be defined by examining the circumstances prevelant in a particular centre. The existence of a similar development on the same street as the proposal as well as an unimplemented planning permission for a similar type of development will be considered.

 

POLICY D26 - SHOPS IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS WITHIN THE DEVELOPMENT BOUNDARIES OF CENTRES

Local shops located outside defined town centres but within the development boundary will be safeguarded by refusing proposals for other uses unless it can be demonstrated that all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that there is a similar service available that is as fully accessible to the residents of the vicinity or if there is no similar service present, that the property has been on the market for a reasonable selling price or rent for a continuous period of 12 months;
  2. that the new use will not have detrimental impact on adjacent uses.

Proposals for small scale new shops in residential areas that meet the daily needs of residents for essential daily goods will be approved.

6.4.11      Explanation - This policy refers in particular to corner shops which are usually less than 200sqm gross in use class A1 and which are within reasonable walking distance of homes.

6.4.12       If no other similar service is available in the vicinity, the Council will expect planning applications for the change of use of shops to another use in a residential area to provide evidence that the property has been on the market as a commercial unit at a reasonable price or rent for a continuous 12 month period and that a reasonable offer has not been refused during that period.

6.4.13      Occasionally, residential development proposals will offer an opportunity to provide a small shop in an area where an adequate service is not available within walking distance.  Proposals providing a small shop as part of the development or proposals making use of existing buildings in an existing residential area will be supported.

 

POLICY D27 - COMPARISON AND CONVENIENCE GOODS RETAIL STORES OUTSIDE DEFINED TOWN CENTRES

Proposals for retail stores selling comparison and/or convenience goods or extensions to existing ones on sites within or near Service Centres but outside the defined town centres identified on the Proposals Maps will be approved provided all the following criteria can be met:

  1. that a need exists for the additional comparison or convenience goods floor space
  2. that the sequential test shows that a more suitable site is not available or likely to become available;
  3. that the proposed development does not significantly harm the viability, vitality and attractiveness of the defined town centre or other adjacent shopping centres;
  4. that the site is genuinely accessible to a variety of modes of transport enabling customers and staff to reach the site without using the private car;
  5. that the development does not significantly harm travel patterns or create an unacceptable increase in the use of the private car;
  6. there is provision for refuse collection and recycling facilities on the site (in accordance with the scale and nature of the development). 

When a development will be approved planning conditions or agreements will be used to ensure that the unit will not change its make-up in a way that would significantly harm the attractiveness, viability or vitality of a town centre.

6.4.14     Explanation - One of the Plan’s priorities is to promote and protect the current status of the Plan area’s Service Centres as the most appropriate locations for shopping and functions complementary to it.  Adopting a sequential approach to site selection where need has been established will promote a complementary mix of uses in centres, which will also sustain and enhance the vitality, attractiveness and viability of centres. It is recognised that stores selling bulky goods may not be able to find suitable sites in town centres due to their nature and particular requirements. This can be a significant consideration in terms of applying the sequential test which may justify the provision of a bulky goods retailing outlet further from the town centre than would otherwise be the case. In applying the sequential test, sites likely to become available within a period of 5 years will be considered.  

6.4.15       Due to the nature of historic towns in the area, it may not always be possible to cater for this type of shop in the town centre or on the outskirts of the town due to the impact on the urban environment, traffic networks and the parking provision. However, the developer and retailers will have to be flexible regarding the form, design and size of the development.  

6.4.16       In appropriate cases, including an application to extend existing premises, a developer will be required to provide a Retail Impact Assessment. This will allow the Council to assess whether there is a need for the development, the justification for selecting the site in question and the likely impact of the proposed development on the attractiveness, viability and vitality of the town centre.

6.4.17       Food stores can be an important means of maintaining the quality and range of shops in towns. The Retail Study shows that most of the area’s shopping centres already have either a fairly large food supermarket(s) or a combination of small food supermarkets and traditional shops. Since the Study suggests there will be very little demand for any further food supermarkets the Council will scrutinise proposals carefully in order to establish that the additional provision is needed within the centre’s local catchment area, and the impact of the proposed development on the attractiveness, viability and vitality of the town centre.

6.4.18  If a proposed development is acceptable in terms of location etc, the Council will attach conditions to the planning permission in order to ensure that the unit will not change its composition in any way which would have an adverse effect on the town centre, for example, by restricting the type of goods sold (e.g. post offices and pharmacies) and preventing the shops from being subdivided into smaller units, and controlling extensions. Planning obligations are also becoming increasingly commonplace in ensuring that development proposals are acceptable in land use planning terms. They may only be used where necessary for the development plan policy/ proposal or the granting of planning permission, relevant to planning and  the development to be permitted. The Council will only seek to use such measures where problems cannot be overcome by using planning conditions. Where  necessary and appropriate they will cover a range of factors from which ‘community benefit’ is derived, including infrastructure, services and facilities, parking, open space, landscaping and nature conservation.

 

RETAILING OUTSIDE CENTRES

POLICY D28 - SAFEGUARDING VILLAGE SHOPS AND PUBLIC HOUSES

Proposals to change the use of a village shop or public house will be refused unless a similar service is available that is as fully accessible to the residents of the vicinity or, if there is no similar service present, that the property has been on the market for a reasonable selling price or rent for a continuous period of 12 months.

6.4.19        Explanation - It is important that the daily needs of communities, in particular the elderly, individuals with mobility problems or children, are reasonably satisfied in their locality. Provision of these services locally will reduce the need to travel and help to sustain communities. When considering applications for a change of use, it will be necessary to assess local provision in the area to identify whether any other facilities are reasonably available.

6.4.20  The developer will be required to provide clear evidence that the unit has been permanently vacant or vacant for an extended period, and that it has been on the market as a commercial unit for a reasonable price or rent for a continuous period of 12 months and that no reasonable offer has been rejected.

 

POLICY D29 - NEW  SHOPS IN VILLAGES

 

Proposals for the change of use of buildings to a shop, or proposals for new shops or extensions to existing shops will be approved provided that the following criteria can be met:

  1.  that the proposal makes a suitable use of an existing building;
  2. that the proposed building/ site lies within the development boundary of the village;
  3.  that the new development does not significantly harm the amenities of neighbouring residents or on the character of the area.

6.4.21Explanation - As well as safeguarding existing village shops the Council is eager to see an improvement and expansion of shopping provision in rural areas. Priority will be given to proposals that make use of a suitable existing building or share a building with another service in order to reduce the potential impact of a new building.

 

POLICY D30 - RETAILING IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

     

Proposals for small shops will be approved outside development boundaries provided all the following criteria can be met:

     
  1.   that the shop is a subservient element of an existing business on the site;
  2.   that the shop will not significantly harm a neighbouring village shop;
  3.   that priority has been given to using an appropriate existing building;
  4.  
  5. that the new use will not significantly harm on the amenities of neighbouring residents or the character of the area.

6.4.22        Explanation - Normally, the most suitable location for shops is within the settlement boundaries of towns and villages. However, shops that are run in conjunction with an existing business on the site or example, a farm, a garden centre or a petrol station can provide a useful service to rural communities by offering a new source of services and employment close to rural homes. However, it is important that the shops should be ‘subservient’ to the existing business as this would ensure that the shop serves the existing business (rather than merely being sited on the same site) even where the extent of the retail activity is such that it represents a material change in use of the planning unit.

6.4.23         In relation to criterion 2, the Council may seek to use planning conditions to limit the amount and/or type of retail sales if this would allow the development to proceed.

 

POLICY D31 - RETAILING FROM INDUSTRIAL UNITS

   

Proposals for individual shops in industrial units will be refused unless all the following criteria can be met:

   
  1. that the shop is ancillary to the main use of the unit;
  2. that only goods produced within the planning unit are sold;
  3. that the shop does not significantly harm either individually or cumulatively the vitality and viability of a town centre.

6.4.24            Explanation - Individual shops within industrial units will only be acceptable provided that they sell their own goods and that they do not damage the vitality, attraction or viability of a town centre. Existing shops within neighbouring industrial units will also be considered whilst assessing proposals to ensure that the proposed unit does not individually nor cumulatively draw trade for similar goods away from existing town centres.

 

POLICY D32 - CAR BOOT SALES AND MARKETS

   

Proposals for car boot sales or markets will be refused unless all the following criteria can be met:

   
  1. that the development does not significantly harm the vitality and viability of a nearby village shop or shopping area;
  2. that the development does not lead to a concentration of car boot sales or markets in one particular area;
  3. that the traffic network is able to cope with any additional traffic generated by the development;
  4. that adequate parking provision is available for stallholders and customers;
  5. that the site is genuinely accessible to a variety of modes of transport enabling the majority of customers to reach the site without having to use a private car;
  6. that adequate servicing arrangements are in place for the site;
  7. there is provision for refuse collection and recycling facilities on the site (in accordance with the scale and nature of the development).

6.4.25            Explanation - Car boot sales and markets can add to the variety of generally more affordable goods available to local communities. However, these activities can generate excessive traffic and noise, causing concern to local residents. Locating such activities near to sensitive sites is likely to lead to problems. They can also have a detrimental effect on services provided by existing shops in the area. Some sites could also lead to potential customers having to rely on private cars. Therefore, in circumstances where planning permission would be required, these activities should be strictly controlled. If permission is given planning conditions may be applied to limit operating periods.

 

MONITORING

Sustainability Principle: Maintaining appropriate growth in the economy and employment

Topic: Sustainable economy

Strategic Aim:

 

To promote sustainable economic growth and  growth in employment across the Plan area

Strategic Polices:

 

Strategic Policy 15 – Land and property in the Plan area used for industry and business will usually be safeguarded for those purposes.

 

3.25 ha of land is allocated for employment initiatives to meet the shortage identified in the Plan area.

 

Strategic Policy 16 - Development proposals that will strengthen or diversify local economies including on working farms within the Dependency Catchment Areas will be approved provided they do not significantly harm the environment, the area’s cultural characteristics or the amenities of nearby residents.

List of Part 2 Policies: D1 – D12

Policy performance indicators:

 

Applications for significant industrial and business development approved

 

Applications to extend existing ventures approved.

 

Applications for industrial/ business units approved on unallocated sites within development boundaries

 

Applications for rural workshops or small scale industrial/ business units approved outside development boundaries

Target:

 

 Ensure that significant industrial and business development is located on sites safeguarded or allocated for employment

 

Increase the number of industrial/ business units and rural workshops

Key Partners:

  1. Gwynedd Council
  2. Neighbouring Authorities
  3. Welsh Assembly Government
  4. Business Connect
  5. Farming Connect
  6. Antur Penllyn
  7. Menter a Busnes
  8. Mantell Gwynedd
  9. North Wales Regional Forum
  10. Private Sector

Supplementary/ supporting actions

  1. Review and implementation of the Gwynedd Economic Development Strategy
  2. Activities of  Gwynedd Council’s Business and Operations Section
  3. Maintain an industrial land database
  4. Provision of advance units and sites

 

Sustainability Principle: Maintaining appropriate growth in the economy and employment

Topic: Tourism

Strategic Aim:

 

To enable the development of a strong tourism sector that is sustainable, of a high standard and flexible, and which meets the needs of visitors and distributes the benefits seasonally and geographically

Strategic Polices:

 

Strategic Policy 17 – Proposals to develop or improve the variety and quality of tourist facilities and attractions will be approved provided they do not significantly harm the environment, the area’s cultural characteristics or the amenities of nearby residents.

List of Part 2 Policies: D13 – D21
 

Policy performance indicators::

 

Applications for tourist attractions approved

 

Applications serviced accommodation approved

 

Applications for self-serviced accommodation approved

 

Target:

 

Add to the choice of year round, sustainable, high quality tourist attractions available

 

Maintain the variety of holiday accommodation and balance in terms of different types of accommodation and geographical location within the Plan area

Key Partners:

  1. Gwynedd Council
  2. Visit Wales (Welsh Assembly Government)
  3. North Wales Tourism Partnership
  4. Mid-Wales Tourism Partnership
  5. Welsh Assembly Government
  6. Gwynedd Tourism Associations
  7. Private Sector

Supplementary/ supporting actions

  1. Undertake the Gwynedd Accommodation Survey every two years together with other specific tourism surveys
  2. Maintain the STEAM information system which provides a summary of the impact of tourism activities on the local economy
  3. Specific tourism projects stemming from the Gwynedd Economic Development Strategy
  4. Prepare and implement a Tourism Strategy for Gwynedd
  5. Maintain and improve services at Tourist Information Centres
  6. Working jointly with local tourism groups/associations
  7. Publication of the Eryri Mountains and Sea booklet

 

Sustainability Principle: Maintaining appropriate growth in the economy and employment

Topic: Retailing

Strategic Aim:

 

To support and strengthen the role of the Service Centres by ensuring that town centres will be the main focus for meeting the needs for shopping facilities

Strategic Polices:

 

Strategic Policy 17 – The role of the Service Centres will be maintained or improved by approving proposals for development that will encourage/ facilitate a wide range of shopping, commercial, employment, transport, entertainment, leisure and culture facilities and activities in suitable locations.

List of Part 2 Policies: D22  – D32

 

Policy performance indicators:

 

% new shops approved on sites outside town centres

 

% of ground floor units within defined Primary Shopping Areas that are shops

 

Number of shops or other commercial facility lost due to planning consent for a change of use

 

Target:

Direct % of new shops to sites within town centres or edge of centre sites where this is more feasible

 

Maintain or increase the number of shops in ground floor units in the defined Primary Shopping Areas, compared to 2000 statistics

 

Nil loss of shops or other local commercial facility in villages as a result of development

Key Partners:

  1. Gwynedd Council
  2. Private sector
  3. Town and Community Councils
  4. Local Chambers of Trade
  5. Cwmni Tref Caernarfon
  6. Local Regeneration Groups
  7. Cwmni Adwy

Supplementary/ supporting actions:

  1. Maintain a comprehensive database of facilities and services in town centres and villages
  2. Establish and implement strategies for town centre regeneration
  3. Provide a toolkit to assist local businesses

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