Guest post from Gareth Barton, Turley Associates. Gareth Barton is an Associate Director in the Cardiff office of Turley Associates.
Yesterday Cardiff Council announced a further delay to its Local Development Plan (LDP). This means that the Council's LDP Preferred Strategy document is now not expected until October 2012, with adoption likely to be delayed until 2015. The LDP will set out Cardiff's housing, transport and economic policy until 2026.
This latest delay follows the withdrawal of the Council's previous LDP, which was submitted to Inspectors in 2010. Inspectors found the plan to be unsound, citing a number of evidence base issues and a lack of clarity in terms of the location and type of land to be allocated for housing. An LDP evidence base must be proportionate to the complexity of the planning issues prevailing - an issue that is becoming all the more apparent given Cardiff's rising population and economic significance to Wales.
The issues of housing supply and its location has been the subject of debate in recent months, with the council suggesting that Cardiff may have to look beyond its administrative area to accommodate its housing requirements and embrace a city-region model. This view follows recent Welsh Government publications and research that suggests that greater integration is required from an economic perspective, leading to greater regional cohesion in South East Wales.
The absence of up-to-date and coherent planning policy remains a hindrance to Cardiff's development, with the adopted Development Plan dating back to 1996. The Council is therefore heavily reliant on ad-hoc Supplementary Planning Guidance. There is a danger that the absence of an up-to-date policy framework, exacerbated by the latest delay to the LDP process, could have a knock on effect on the Council's proposed Central Business District (CBD).
Cardiff's planned CBD has recently been identified as one of five Enterprise Zones in Wales, with a specific aim of attracting financial services from outside of Wales. Details of how the Welsh Enterprise Zones will operate are yet to be fleshed out, but without an up-to-date planning policy framework there is a danger that confidence in achieving quick decision making through the planning process will be undermined, therefore discouraging big investment.
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