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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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2 The Strategy

Introduction

2.1 Flintshire continues to need more houses, jobs, facilities and infrastructure. At the same time, the Council is acutely aware of the need to protect and enhance Flintshire’s built and natural environment and heritage. Assessing the needs of the community involves reconciling these often conflicting demands, and this is no easy task.

2.2 The policies contained within this Plan aim to find this balance through a strategy which is framed within national and regional planning guidance, and which embraces a number of strategic themes which have at their core the concept of sustainable development. This forms a consistent thread throughout the Plan in defining the strategy and direction for the Plan, and the spatial implications of this.

2.3 A clear Plan strategy provides the framework for making policy decisions and clarifies how issues interrelate with each other. It ensures consistency in dealing with development proposals as they arise during the lifetime of the Plan. Furthermore, by setting out explicitly a well defined set of aims and objectives, it can give the Plan’s users confidence in it, and provides a clear basis against which the Plan’s performance can be measured and improved over time.

 

Strategy Themes

2.4 The UDP will help to make Flintshire a better place to live and work, enhancing the quality of life of its residents by improving their social and economic well-being, whilst at the same time ensuring that the distinctive environmental and cultural heritage is preserved for the future.

2.5 Four main themes underpin the Plan strategy, which together set a consistent agenda for the Plan to follow:

2.6 Taken together, these have been distilled into an overriding vision for the Plan:

To nurture sustainable development capable of improving the quality of life in Flintshire without causing social, economic, resource or environmental harm to existing or future generations

2.7 A series of strategic aims have been defined, which support this vision and are the framework on which the policies in this Plan are derived from. There are also three functional aims, which define the role and function of the Plan in helping to meet the needs of the community and achieve sustainable outcomes.

 

Strategic Aims

  1. economy - to create a thriving and sustainable economy providing a wide range of quality employment opportunities for local people.
  2. social and welfare - to enable all local residents the opportunity to have access to quality housing, services, shops and leisure, recreational and sports facilities.
  3. health - to promote and facilitate the development of a safe and healthy environment.
  4. community identity - to preserve community life by limiting development to a level which can be reasonably sustained and assimilated within existing communities.
  5. natural environment - to conserve and enhance the natural environment and its diversity - landscape, nature conservation and biodiversity.
  6. built environment - to conserve, regenerate and enhance the built and historic environment.
  7. energy - to stabilise and ultimately reduce non renewable energy consumption and encourage appropriate renewable energy.
  8. resources - to make the most prudent and efficient use of resources, including land and buildings, and encourage the use of recycled and secondary rather than primary resources.
  9. pollution - to stabilise and ultimately reduce the potential of pollution.
  10. waste - to stabilise and ultimately reduce waste generation and disposal utilising waste management measures.
  11. culture and language - to promote and support a diverse local culture including the protection and development of the Welsh language.
  12. transport and access - to integrate new land uses with the existing transport network, and to improve accessibility to varying alternative transport modes other than the car, and to promote the integration of transport modes.
  13. tourism - to facilitate appropriate tourism development which meets the needs of visitors without harming the natural and cultural assets on which tourism is based.
  14. proximity principle – to apply the proximity principle whereby problems are solved locally rather than passing them on to other places or to future generations.
  15. respect for environmental limits – to ensure that resources are not irrecoverably depleted or the environmental irreversibly damaged.

 

Functional Aims

  1. guidance - to give clear guidance as to the future use of land and buildings and the control of development.
  2. regulation - to provide a regulatory framework for the promotion of high standards in development.
  3. public participation - to ensure the needs and appropriate aspirations of local people are taken into account in shaping their own environment through the plan making process.

 

Spatial Strategy

2.8 The Strategy so far has been expressed in terms of a vision, strategic aims and underlying themes. However, it is also necessary for these general principles to be expressed ‘spatially’ i.e. how they translate ‘on the ground’. Although most of the Plan’s objectives and policies will have some spatial implications, only the key spatial elements of the Plan’s strategy in terms of areas of growth and restraint etc., are set out as follows:

  1. creating a sustainable settlement pattern whereby:
    a. most new development will be directed to the main towns (category A settlements which have an indicative potential growth band of 10% - 20%) which have existing infrastructure, jobs and services, subject to environmental and other constraints.
    b. new development will be directed to those semi-urban villages (category B settlements which have a potential growth band of 8% - 15%) which have existing facilities, jobs and services subject to environmental and other constraints.
    c. new housing is restricted in rural villages (category C settlements which have a potential growth band of a maximum of 10%) due to the general lack of existing facilities, jobs and services and presence of environmental and other constraints.
  2. resisting pressure for sporadic unnecessary development in the open countryside, particularly along the A55 (T) corridor and the undeveloped coast;
  3. adopting a sequential approach to the identification of land for development whereby derelict and redundant land and buildings are utilised in preference to greenfield land;
  4. encouraging the efficient use of land through higher densities, particularly in locations close to existing services and public transport routes;
  5. protecting and enhancing the landscape character and quality of the Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty;
  6. protecting and enhancing the environmental quality of the County generally in terms of landscape, nature conservation and biodiversity, as well as important green spaces within towns and villages;
  7. protecting and enhancing those aspects of the built environment which are of architectural or historic importance including listed buildings, conservation areas, archaeology and historic parks and gardens;
  8. designating green barriers only where additional policy protection is necessary to protect the open character and appearance of sensitive and strategic areas of land and prevent settlements from merging;
  9. promoting the revitalisation of town centres and other local / district centres which offer a range of everyday shopping, community and employment opportunities;
  10. promoting the regeneration of older and run down settlements and built up areas;
  11. directing employment development to existing employment sites and buildings, allocating new sites which are well related to the existing population, services and public transport and promoting the diversification of the rural economy;
  12. improving major transport corridors through the County including the Wrexham - Bidston and North Wales Coast railway lines and the A55(T), A494(T) and the A548;
  13. locating major generators of travel demand in existing centres which are highly accessible by means other than the private car.

2.9 The spatial expression of the Plan’s strategy is considered to represent a balanced and sensible approach, having regard to the characteristics of the County, national and regional planning guidance and those policies and commitments inherited from previous development plans and planning permissions. In drawing up the strategy, brief consideration was given to alternative spatial strategies but these were easily dismissed as being out of accord with national planning guidance and not reflecting or even harming the character of the County. For information these alternative strategies include:

  1. locating all development along public transport corridors i.e. the Wrexham - Bidston and North Wales Coast railway lines;
  2. spreading development evenly across settlements based on a rigid interpretation of the settlement growth bands;
  3. identification of a new settlement on a public transport corridor;
  4. locating development based on an assessment of capacity to accommodate new development;
  5. locating development only where it would bring about regeneration;
  6. locating development only in areas of market demand.

2.10 There are clear advantages and disadvantages of each spatial option and these are explained in more detail in the sustainability appraisal background paper, available on request. The most sustainable option is clearly that which is based on a capacity assessment of each settlement or area. However, if the Plan’s spatial strategy is to be deliverable it must also incorporate elements of regeneration, have regard to public transport corridors and satisfy both the market demand for and social need for housing. The Plan therefore adopts a hybrid spatial approach which is considered to represent a sustainable framework for the delivery of and control of development in the County over the Plan period.


Key Diagram

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