1. Introduction

1.1.

THE DEVELOPMENT PLAN CONTEXT

1.1.1.

Section 54A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) requires that:

“Where, in making any determination under the planning Acts, regard is to be had to the development plan, the determination shall be made in accordance with the plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.”

1.1.2.

As a result of the provisions in the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994 each Local Planning Authority in Wales is now required to prepare a Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for its administrative area. The National Assembly for Wales has produced 'Unitary Development Plans Wales' (2001), Unitary Development Plans - A Guide to Procedures' (2001) and Planning Policy Wales (2002) which will be taken into account in the formulation of the UDPs policies and proposals. 

1.2.

THE FORMAT OF THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN

1.2.1.

This UDP provides the strategic and detailed policy framework within which provision will be made for development and conservation needs. It guides development for 15 years and comprises two parts.

PART I - consists of the Council's strategic policies for the development and other use of land in its area and provides a context and framework for more detailed policies and proposals in Part II. Part I indicates the overall provision to be made for housing, employment and other major land uses in the area as a whole, identifying the broad locations for development, and areas where policies for restraint are necessary.

PART II - consists of justifications of these strategic policies and contains more detailed policies, proposals and guidance. A Proposals Map illustrates the Plan's policies and proposals on an Ordnance Survey base.

1.2.2.

The written statement is divided into 9 chapters. These cover the main topic areas of the Environment, Housing, Economic Development and Tourism, Transportation, Retail, Sport and Recreation, Minerals, Waste Management and Community and Utility Services. 

1.2.3.

This Plan concentrates on the issues that the Council consider necessary to address in order to protect and enhance the environment of the Vale of Glamorgan whilst providing detailed guidance for future development proposals. More detailed issues, however, will be considered through the publication of Supplementary Planning Guidance which should be read in conjunction with this UDP. 

1.3.

STAGES IN THE PREPARATION OF THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN UDP

1.3.1.

The preparation of this UDP followed a number of stages before it was finally adopted by the Council. The first stage was the preparation of the Consultative Draft which set out the Council's intended Strategy, Objectives, Policies and Proposals. Consultation with statutory consultees and other interested bodies (as required by Planning Guidance (Wales) Unitary Development Plans 1996) took place from July to September 1997. The representations made during this period together with changes to be made to the Plan prior to it being placed on Deposit, were reported to the Council's Economic Development, Planning Transportation and Highways Committee on the 22nd October, 1997 (Council minutes 1041,1042 and 1043 refer 20/10/97). 

1.3.2.

The Deposit Draft Plan was placed on deposit for a six-week period during April - May 1998 at which time Statutory Consultees, members of the public and anyone with an interest in the Plan could make representations. The representations made during this time together with changes to be made to the Plan prior to the Inquiry were reported to the Council's Economic Development, Planning, Transportation and Highways Committee on 2nd December, 1998. 

1.3.3.

In January 1999 the Council issued a Proposed Changes document which sought to ameliorate representations made to the deposit draft Plan. The Proposed Changes document was placed on deposit between January - February 1999. The representations made to these Proposed Changes and any further changes were reported to the Council's Development Control Committee on 22nd April 1999. Whilst a Further Proposed Changes document was produced because of time constraints, the document was not made available for public consultation. The remaining, unresolved representations were considered at the Public Local Inquiry held between June 1999 and January 2000. The Inspector's Report of findings into objections made to the emerging Plan was received by the Council in November 2000.

The report was presented to Planning Committee on 7th February 2001. As a result of the recommendations contained in the Inspector's Report the Council formulated a Statement of Decisions and a Modifications Report. Both of these documents were placed on Deposit in February 2003.

1.3.4.

In view of the number of representations received, Further Proposed Modifications were prepared and consulted upon during October and November 2004. Only a small number of representations were received in respect of this document and in February 2005, the Council resolved to adopt the Unitary Development Plan (Council Minute 616 refers 9/2/05). 

1.3.5.

The Council served notice on the Welsh Assembly Government on 1st March 2005, informing them of the Council's intention to adopt the Plan. In the subsequent 6 weeks, no direction was made to the Plan and it was formally adopted as the Unitary Development Plan for the Vale of Glamorgan on the 18 April 2005. 

1.3.6.

The Welsh Assembly Government has produced a useful booklet to help people who want to understand the procedures, which are followed in the preparation of development plans. The booklet is entitled 'Unitary Development Plans: A guide to Procedures' and is available free of charge from the Welsh Assembly Government. 

1.3.7.

Previously, a series of plans covered the Vale in both adopted/approved or draft form which have now been superseded by the adopted UDP. These are listed on the table on the following page. 

1.4.

ENVIRONMENTAL APPRAISAL

1.4.1.

The Government lays particular emphasis on environmental concerns and stresses the need to take a range of issues into account in development plan preparation. Among the key issues are the conservation of energy and the attention given to the interests of future generations in relation to global warming and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and other pollutants. Most development plan policies and proposals will have environmental implications which are required to be appraised as part of the plan preparation process. 

1.4.2.

Environmental appraisal has a number of purposes: -

  • To enable the plan to demonstrate that environmental matters are taken fully into account; 
  • To assist the plan in being effective in achieving its environmental objectives;
  • To assist in achieving sustainable development as required by planning guidance;
  • To assess the implications for the environment of the strategy and of any policy options, or interacting group of policy options;
  • To enable the implications for different aspects of the environment to be taken into account;
  • To allow environmental matters to be considered alongside economic and social factors, and so assist in making a choice between alternative policies and proposals in a way which will secure the best overall outcome.
1.4.3.

In order to ensure that the environmental appraisal of the emerging UDP was conducted in a systematic, iterative and objective manner, the Council commissioned independent Planning Consultants, Baker Associates. The Consultants were required to co-ordinate and mange the process of appraising the Plan. An Officers Working Group under the chairmanship of John Baker of Baker Associates was established, which acted as a forum for debating issues which had arisen as a result of the appraisal of individual topic areas. The environmental appraisal was conducted during February and March 1997. 

1.4.4.

The fundamental objective of the appraisal was to answer the following question:

“Does the Plan take all of the aspects of the environment that are susceptible to influence by planning decisions sufficiently into account in every part of the Plan, and does it demonstrate clearly how this is done?”

1.4.5.

The appraisal methodology sought to provide an answer to the question through a rigorous and systematic examination of the UDP. The essence of the methodology was derived from the stages recommended in the Environmental Appraisal: Good Practice Guide (DOE 1993) and tailored to reflect the particular characteristics of the Vale of Glamorgan. The stages were as follows:

  1. Characterising the environment of the Vale of Glamorgan

    Through detailed discussions with the Working Group, the Consultants were able to identify those elements of environmental stock which were of global, natural and local significance. The following elements of environmental stock were identified:

    • The Global Environment: Air, Water, Energy, Biodiversity
    • The Natural Environment: Minerals, Soil, Landscape and Countryside
    • The Local Environment: Open space, Heritage and Culture, Quality of Life

    The appraisal process assessed the policies and proposals contained within the emerging UDP in light of their possible impact on the above elements of environmental stock.

  2. Scoping the Unitary Development Plan

    The purpose of this exercise was to ensure that the policies and guidance contained within Part I and II of the emerging UDP reflected the environmental objectives of central government. In scoping the Plan the Consultants identified current environmental objectives or 'desirable trends' in relation to each element of environmental stock. Consideration was then given to examining how the Plan could influence the environment and which existing policies supported these objectives. The results of the scoping exercise are contained within Table 1, Appendix 1.

    DEVELOPMENT PLAN
    STATUS
    Structure Plans
    South Glamorgan Structure Plan Proposals for Alteration No. 1 1989
    Approved (For the area previously administered by theformer Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council.)
    Replacement South Glamorgan Structure Plan Deposit Draft (as amended) 1995
    Together with the Examination in Public Panel Report this plan is regarded as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.
    Mid Glamorgan Structure Plan(Incorporating Proposed Alterations No. 1) 1989
    Approved (For the area previously administered by the
    former Ogwr Borough Council.)

    Replacement Mid Glamorgan Structure Plan 1995
    Together with the Mid Glamorgan EIP Panel Report this plan is regarded as a material consideration in the determination of a planning application.
    Local Plans
    Barry Local Plan 1983
    Adopted
    Barry/Penarth Coastal Area Local Plan 1983
    Adopted
    East Vale Local Plan 1987
    Adopted
    Cowbridge Local Plan 1986
    Adopted
    Ogwr Local Plan 1995
    Adopted (For the area previously administered by the
    former Ogwr Borough Council.)

    South Glamorgan Minerals Local Plan Deposit Draft 1995
    Regarded as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the area previously administered by the Vale of Glamorgan Borough Council.
    Mid Glamorgan Minerals Local Plan Deposit Draft 1995
    Together with the Inspector’s report this plan is regarded as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications in the area formerly administered by Ogwr Borough Council.
  3. Appraising the contents of the Unitary Development Plan

    The process of appraising the Plan's contents was threefold and required consideration of the following areas:

    • The compatibility of the Plan's policies and proposals with its spatial strategy;
    • The effectiveness of the Plan's policies in influencing the environment and achieving environmental objectives; and
    • An assessment of the environmental credentials of each of the Plan's chapters, according to their level of engagement with the environment.

    The results of the appraisal in respect of the first two areas are explained at length within the Environmental Appraisal Report. Consideration of the findings in respect of the third area provides a 'flavour' of the manner in which the UDP addresses environmental issues at all levels. The findings of this exercise are contained within Table 2, Appendix 1.

1.4.6.

The findings of the appraisal and the emerging Consultative Draft UDP have been considered in detail by the Council and have resulted in a number of amendments to the Plan. The Council recognises that the principles established by the appraisal should be taken into account at each stage of the plan making process. 

1.4.7.

The Environmental Appraisal Report and Environmental Appraisal Response Report, which comments in detail upon the findings of the appraisal, are available as separate documents to the UDP. 

1.5.

MONITORING OF THE PLAN'S STRATEGY AND POLICIES

1.5.1.

Unitary Development Plans Wales (2001) requires authorities to monitor and evaluate Plans. Central to the Strategic Principles of the UDP is the concept of encouraging 'sustainable development' and evaluation of the success of the Plan will require a Monitoring Framework covering three aspects of sustainability - economic, social and environmental improvement. 

1.5.2.

Environmental and Sustainability Indices have been developed as part of the Environmental Appraisal process and are illustrated at Appendix 1 of the Plan. These indices will provide a useful starting point for measuring how well the Plan Policies are achieving the objectives for each topic area. 

1.5.3.

The components of the monitoring framework will draw on the wide range of surveys and statistics available at national and regional level as well as the wide range of statistics and surveys conducted on a regular basis by the Council and other local organisations and agencies. The Council already undertakes regular surveys of such topics as:

  • the amount of housing land available;
  • the take up of employment and industrial land;
  • transport and travel flows, e.g. road traffic of all types, patronage of local rail and bus services, travel modes to shopping;
  • planning application and appeal decisions;
  • retail floorspace, vitality and viability of shopping centres;
  • mineral production.
1.5.4.

There is a wide range of national and regional statistics which will be useful when monitoring the Plan; e.g. census of population, census of employment, unemployment data, transport data, housing statistics, environmental statistics etc.

1.5.5.

A topic paper will be issued after the Plan's adoption, outlining the Monitoring Framework that will be used to evaluate the Plan Strategy and Policies. Selective reviews of the Plan will be undertaken when policies are not found to be achieving the objectives required or when there are substantial shifts in government or Council policies.

1.6.

THE COUNCIL'S VISION AND KEY PRINCIPLES

1.6.1.

In recent years local authorities have adopted a more sustainable approach to their affairs enabling them to adapt easily to meet local or changing circumstances. The Vale of Glamorgan Council is no exception and has evolved into a responsive organisation, setting up mechanisms by which it can improve its service provision. Policy direction and spending proposals are subject to continuous review and are liable to change depending on the circumstances and priorities that prevail at the time.

1.6.2.

The Council's own Vision as set out in the Vale of Glamorgan Service Delivery Plan 1996/97, is simply:

“To make the Vale of Glamorgan the best Unitary Authority in Wales by providing the highest quality of services.”

1.6.3.

There are certain key values to which the Council is corporately committed and which provide the motivation and philosophy behind all of the Council's activities. These values broadly state the standards of excellence, which the Council sets out to achieve in its delivery of services and provide a statement of the Council's vision of its primary future purpose. They are:

  • Quality and equality
  • Working together
  • Fairness
  • Accountability and Accessibility
  • A Positive, Responsive Caring Attitude
  • Openness and Honesty 
1.6.4.

In respect of the Planning function the Council's overall aim is:

“To provide a planning framework for the development of The Vale of Glamorgan that reflects the need to conserve the best of the natural environment and yet to allow beneficial land use development in a sustainable way.”

1.7.

THE GUIDING UNITARY DEVELOPMENT PLAN PRINCIPLES

1.7.1.

The Unitary Development Plan will provide a clear land use planning framework for The Vale of Glamorgan that reflects the need to conserve the best of distinctive rural, urban and coastal character whilst permitting beneficial development. The Plan will achieve this objective by embracing and promoting the concept of sustainability and sustainable development and implementing proposals which seek to maintain and enhance the quality of human life-social, economic and environmental, whilst maintaining the delicate balance of the Vale of Glamorgan ecosystem and conserving finite resources.

1.7.2.

The guiding principles of the Plan are as follows:

Social

  • To reduce disadvantage, poverty and social stress and improve the quality of life for all communities; 
  • To ensure that all changes contribute to a better quality of life;
  • To ensure equality of access;
  • To provide better access to work, shopping, cultural and leisure opportunities;
  • To improve the urban fabric.

Economy

  • To improve and diversify the economy, safeguarding existing jobs and creating a range of new job opportunities, whilst protecting the natural environment; 
  • To recognise and capitalise on the importance of the waterfront strip and M4 motorway corridor in attracting new inward investment;
  • To serve and maintain a healthy and viable agricultural industry throughout the rural areas of the Vale.

Environment

  • To favour the precautionary principle (i.e. where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation); 
  • To continue the protection and enhancement of the built and natural environment;
  • To support the principle of sustainability especially by devising an energy efficient land use/transportation strategy;
  • To promote urban regeneration and the re-use of Brownfield land thereby minimising the use of Greenfield sites;
  • To manage natural resources wisely avoiding irreversible damage wherever possible in order to maintain and enhance their value for future generations;
  • To ensure the design of proposed development is of a high quality;
  • To minimise waste and pollutants;
  • To encourage recycling and the re-use of resources.
1.8.

THE STRATEGY

1.8.1.

The Vale of Glamorgan came into being as a unitary authority on 1st April 1996. The Council is one of the 22 new Welsh authorities created as a result of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994. The authority is located in the southern most part of Wales and together with the other 10 newly formed unitary authorities forms the South East Wales Region.

1.8.2.

National Assembly guidance contained in Unitary Development Plans Wales outlines the manner in which the National Assembly wishes to see unitary authorities operate at a regional/subregional level. Paragraph 1.3 of the document states:

“Consultation and collaboration is needed between authorities, and with other organisations as appropriate, to consider issues of a strategic nature which affect more than one authority. This work can best be taken forward by appropriate groups of authorities and all authorities in Wales should become part of such a group(s). This process and the strategic planning conclusions which the groups produce will form part of the context for, and an input to UDPs, especially Part I strategies and policies.”

1.8.3.

Accordingly, the South East Wales Unitary Development Plans Liaison Group (SEWUDPLG) was established. The group has published two volumes of Strategic Planning Guidance addressing a range of important issues in the sub region. However, this guidance does not attempt to make any assessment of future housing demand or how this should be distributed. In this regard weight must be given to national planning guidance, which at the time of the Plan's conception was contained in Planning Guidance Wales: Planning Policy (Welsh Office, 1996).

1.8.4.

Planning Guidance (Wales) identifies the coastal area of the Eastern Vale as one of only three 'Major Growth Areas' in Wales, highlighting the importance of the Vale of Glamorgan in enhancing economic and social well-being in South Wales. The 1st revision to this planning guidance in 1999 continues the assumption that economic development will focus on the heavily populated coastal strips of South and North Wales (paragraphs 10.1.3 and 10.1.4 refer). The Vale is thus inextricably linked to the economic pressures surrounding the M4 corridor and the regeneration of the Valleys/Cardiff Bay and the strategy is intended to take account of the realistic pressures for development being exerted on the Vale from beyond.

1.8.5.

The regional role of the Vale is further reinforced by its inclusion as part of a wider travel to work area that sees many residents travelling to Bridgend and Cardiff for employment. It is an aim of the Plan however to stem the daily out migration of commuters in order to reduce travel distances. Employment allocations are made accordingly in order to allow existing industries to develop locally and attract further inward investment. It is unrealistic however to assume that all out commuters from
the Vale will switch to new jobs within the plan area and as the employment allocations are taken up a degree of inward migration and additional commuting into the Vale is anticipated.

1.8.6.

Housing is a part of the infrastructure of economic growth and as such the employment aims of the Plan will inevitably apply additional pressure to the already strong demand to live in the area. In setting a context for a housing target, the strategy seeks to recognise the wider strategic role of the Vale in providing employment and housing opportunities in the region, whilst reconciling the pressure this places on the existing environment and the need to conserve the special character of the area.

1.8.7.

The UDP Strategy seeks, through land use policy, to realise the objectives expressed in the Plan's Guiding Principles by maximising the opportunities for residential, employment, retail and leisure development within the urban areas of the Waterfront Strip. Fundamental to this objective is the need to ensure that land within the urban areas of the Waterfront Strip - Rhoose, Barry, Penarth, Sully and Dinas Powys- is used in an efficient manner, whist ensuring that these areas remain attractive places to live and work. In light of the Guiding Principles the Strategy for the Vale of Glamorgan is as follows:

  • Concentration of development opportunities in the urban areas of the Waterfront Strip from Penarth to Rhoose (including Cardiff International Airport), with particular emphasis on the regeneration of Barry Docks.
  • Development and improvement of infrastructure and transportation facilities, particularly public transport facilities, to focus on and support this regeneration.
  • Positive management and protection of the urban fringe and prevention of urban sprawl through a range of countryside protection and enhancement policies, particularly in the south eastern part of the Vale in the areas between Cardiff, Penarth, Llandough, Dinas Powys, Sully, Barry and Wenvoe.
  • Enhancement of the Vale of Glamorgan's attractive natural environment by maintaining the character of the countryside and by protecting those areas of fine landscape and important wildlife habitat.
  • Conservation and enhancement of the Heritage Coast.
  • Recognition of the importance of the M4 corridor and Cardiff Bay as factors in attracting investment and securing jobs.
  • Reinforcement of the vitality, viability and attractiveness of district and local shopping centres.
1.8.8.

Each of the Part II chapters have more specific objectives that have been developed from the guiding principles and the strategy outlined above.

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