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Council’s LDP proposals still fall drastically short says Cardiff Civic Society


25 February 2011

Council’s LDP proposals still fall drastically short says society

Cardiff Civic Society (CCS), the charitable organisation committed to improving the city’s natural and built environment for the benefit of its citizens, says that Cardiff council is still failing in its task of creating a viable Local Development Plan (LDP).

In April 2010, under pressure from the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) Planning Inspectorate, who deemed it unfit for purpose, Cardiff council was forced to withdraw its LDP.

It is now in the process of preparing a new plan, the first stage of which, the ‘Delivery Agreement’, has been submitted for public consolation, but the council’s response to which is not yet available.

As part of this process, CCS has produced a detailed document highlighting what it believes are serious flaws in the council’s proposals for the way the LDP is to be produced.

Peter Cox, CCS chair, comments,

“The ‘Delivery Agreement’ is unlikely to deliver an LDP that meets the guiding objectives set out by legislation and WAG advice - it is still overly focussed on land use, not strategic development, and it shows insufficient recognition of changed environmental and economic drivers and legislation.”

“Furthermore, the entire process will take too long - not before October 2014, exacerbating the planning hiatus that exists. This planning gap will allow developers to rush in with yet more inappropriate developments that fail to meet the needs of the population, and will further erode the city’s character.”

The CCS also believes that the council’s Community Involvement Scheme - which is how people become involved in shaping Cardiff’s future - is ‘deeply flawed’.

“Put simply, the Community Involvement Scheme does not actively engage with the citizens of Cardiff,” asserts Mr Cox. “It therefore removes any opportunity for the people of Cardiff to have meaningful input and arrive at a consensus for what is needed in terms of Cardiff’s vision and strategies to achieve that.”

The CCS believes that a different model, more in keeping with WAG’s guidelines, would drastically shorten the production time for a new LDP and radically increase community engagement so that a genuine consensus could be claimed for the LDP. This must involve transparency through development and active involvement with Cardiff’s citizens.

“Such an approach involves a complete rethink. The LDP is so much more than a land use plan, how it pans out will define Cardiff and the quality of life it provides for the 21st century. A much more collaborative and flexible approach is needed to genuinely engage with communities and to ensure that their views are incorporated into the LDP,” explains Peter Cox.

CCS also says that the new LDP needs to confront and address three potentially conflicting areas.

Manage growth
Make Cardiff a better place
Fulfil the wishes of its residents

“The fact that Cardiff is likely to grow may conflict in some cases with the wishes of its residents,” says Peter Cox. “But this difficult issue cannot be ignored if an acceptable outcome is to be achieved.”

“If we are to make Cardiff a better place, we need to set design standards to deliver high quality public space and buildings, as well as ensure that our parkland, open spaces and heritage are protected properly. A bold vision is needed, as the plan will set the base for the rest of the century.”

Notes to editors:

A printed copy of Cardiff Civic Society’s response to the Delivery Agreement Consultation is available by contacting Peter Cox, chair Cardiff Civic Society ([email protected]) or downloaded here http://tinyurl.com/CCSdaresponse . Other background documents can be found here: http://cardiffpartnerships.wikispaces.com/LDP+2+Delivery+Agreement+and+CIS

Background to Cardiff Civic Society’s document.
In May 2005, following agreement with the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Council resolved to cease preparation of the Cardiff Unitary Development Plan and commence work on a new Local Development Plan (LDP).

Following Deposit of the LDP in April 2009, the plan was submitted to the Assembly for examination in November 2009. However in view of significant concerns raised by the Inspectors examining the plan, following agreement from the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff Council withdrew the LDP from the examination in April 2010 and is now commencing work on the preparation of a new plan.

When adopted, the LDP will replace existing structure and local plans for Cardiff. The council is required to provide a Delivery Agreement and agree it with the Assembly. The Delivery Agreement must include:
- A Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) - indicating how the Council will involve consultation bodies and the public in plan preparation; and
- A timetable for preparing and adopting the LDP, currently planned for October 2014, and for preparing and publishing the sustainability report, the Annual Monitoring Report and supplementary planning guidance (SPG). This document responds to a request for comment and is given by Cardiff Civic Society (CCS).

About Cardiff Civic Society (CCS)

The CCS is a charitable trust which strives to conserve, sustain and develop the natural and built environment of the city for the benefit of current and future generation. Its objectives are to improve the built and natural environment of the city. Its role is to provide information and support, research and debate and, where necessary, to lobby local authorities, government and private interests to ensure the achievement of its aims. It runs conferences, workshops, education events and acts as a catalyst for other organisations with similar objectives to exchange ideas and develop skills.

From 2008 until 2010 CCS provided input into the now withdrawn Cardiff LDP, submitting evidence that the proposed plan was unsound on a number of grounds.

What is an LDP?

A Local Development Plan is key to effective planning of an area, but it is much more than the ‘old’ Unitary Development Plans that focussed on land use. At the RTPI Conference on 8 June 20102, Wales Assembly Government Minister For Environment, Jane Davidson set out the government’s commitment to the process and the fact that it was essential for economic renewal. The WAG Director of Planning for Wales in the Planning Inspectorate, John Davies also set out how a LDP should reflect the needs and aspirations of communities and not be just a land use plan.

Further press information: Nerys Lloyd-Pierce 02920 343 121/07701 007 128