Wales planning news, October 2020


Wales planning news, October 2020

12 Oct 2020



Headline news


Introducing Future Wales: the national plan 2040

The Welsh Government has published a draft National Development Framework (NDF) with proposed changes following last year’s consultation on an earlier version. The emerging NDF has now been branded as Future Wales: the national Plan 2040 and has undergone revision since the 2019 draft.
The NDF is a spatial plan which will sit alongside Planning Policy Wales and will set the direction for strategic and local development plans for the 2020-2040 period. The emerging NDF identifies and supports broad locations of development, to guide investment and inform planning and development decisions. It sets out how the planning system will respond to national policy priorities, including the Welsh Government’s plans for the economy, decarbonisation, protecting and enhancing Wales’ ecosystems and improving the health and well-being of its communities.
A suite of supporting documents accompanies the latest draft, including:
  • Consultation Report;
  • NDF: schedule of changes;
  • Future Wales: integrated sustainability appraisal;
  • NDF: habitats regulations assessment; and
  • NDF: monitoring framework.
Future Wales has now been put before the Senedd for a 60 day period of scrutiny. The Welsh Government’s current timelines estimate that it could be in place by February 2021, subject to any further changes made following consultation and scrutiny.

Welsh Government, Future Wales: The National Development FrameworkNational Development Framework, Consultation Report: Summary



Quote of the month


Lockdown has made us appreciate our local ‘places’ more so than ever before and it’s vital, therefore, that all of us who work in the built environment sector strive to make the places where we live, work, shop or meet with others as good as they can be, for every member of society.

Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James, at launch of Placemaking Wales Charter


The Welsh Government launches a new place charter

A new charter aimed at driving up standards for design and placemaking has been launched by the Welsh Government and the Design Commission for Wales. More than 25 organisations have now signed the Placemaking Wales Charter pledge which builds upon a range of considerations that contribute to establishing and maintaining good places:
  • people and community, 
  • public realm; 
  • movement; 
  • location;
  • mix of uses; and 
  • identity.
The six principles set short but clear requirements during the planning, design and management of new and existing places, which includes the need to ensure that the local community is involved in the development of the proposals.

Welsh Government, New charter will put places at heart of planning

New consultation on statutory procedure for making Strategic Development Plans

On 12 October 2020 the Welsh Government published its consultation document on regulations to establish the procedure for the preparation of Strategic Development Plans (SDPs) (“The Town and Country Planning (Strategic Development Plan) (Wales) Regulations 2021”). In parallel it commenced consultation on regulations to establish Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) (the “Establishment Regulations”), which would be responsible for the preparation of SDPs.
The preparation of an SDP would mirror the current Local Development Plan (LDP) process with its two key stages of preferred strategy and deposit plan prior to submission. An SDP should be capable of being prepared and adopted within 4 years. Areas with an adopted SDP would have LDP “Lites” (LDPLs), to be prepared and adopted within around 2 years.
It is proposed that a CJC must review its LDP within 4 years of adoption.
The Minister for Housing and Local Government intends to establish four initial CJCs – one for each of the four regions in Wales (as proposed by the Draft National Development Framework) by April 2021. The CJCs would be responsible for SDPs, Regional Transport Plans and for “economic well-being”, which would enable integration with City and Growth deals. The membership of the CJCs would comprise Leaders of each local authority together with any additional invited representatives from councils or other organisations. CJCs would be accountable to their constituent local authorities but would have delegated powers. Voting would be established on a “one member one vote” basis.
Lichfields’ view: While it is positive to see progress on the regulations for the development of SDPs, which should help to create a more integrated, holistic planning system across Wales, the adoption of these plans is in reality still several years away. Governance has been an issue that has delayed progress on SDPs to date, so it will be interesting to see whether or not the establishment of CJCs will assist in accelerating plan preparation. Either way, these announcements should not be a reason to delay the preparation of LDPs or negate the need for interim measures to support much-needed development in the short term.
Responses to each of these consultations are due by 4 January 2021.

Pre-Application Consultation temporary arrangements extended

New legislation has extended the temporary provisions that enable applicants of major planning applications and developments of national significance to undertake statutory pre-application consultation in advance of submission.
The Planning Applications (Temporary Modifications and Disapplication) (No. 2) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Order 2020 came into force on 18 September, amending several procedural requirements within the DMPO 2012.
The ‘emergency period’ has now been extended until 8 January 2021. During this period publicity and notice requirements for pre-application consultation are modified, as will the time in which community councils have to make representations on applications.

The Planning Applications (Temporary Modifications and Disapplication) (No. 2) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Order 2020

Welsh Government consults on its new manufacturing framework

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation seeking views on a new framework to support and grow the country’s manufacturing sector and setting out the key areas where government, industry, unions and academia should focus efforts.
The Welsh Government has said it aims to ensure that the sector transitions towards activities which are “high value”, in so far as the contribution they make to the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.
The framework aims to build on the following principles set out in its Economic Action Plan (EAP):
  • decarbonise and become more resource efficient;
  • encourage greater innovation and headquarter location across Wales;
  • grow Wales’ export potential;
  • increase quality employment and skills across Wales; and
  • expand the research and development base across Wales.
Ten key areas are outlined for action; this includes supporting the provision of modern infrastructure to support changes in the way the Welsh manufacturing sector works, through the provision of “modern employment sites and premises, transport infrastructure, energy infrastructure, circular economy infrastructure, communication systems and the merger of personal and public mobility”.
The framework also aims to support the development of manufacturing clusters and communities within the different manufacturing sub-sectors outlined in the recent Brown review, which includes data analytics; clean energy/circular economy; creative; professional services; medical/bio tech; and advanced manufacturing.
Also, of interest, the framework aims to improve the anchorage of businesses in Wales by encouraging and facilitating different elements of the headquarters, research and development, sales and marketing and procurement in Wales.

Welsh Government, A manufacturing future for Wales: a framework for action

City Deal funding to support stalled sites and boost growth

Funding worth £45m has been provided via The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal (CCR) to construct 2800 new homes across ten local authorities that have suffered from low levels of new housing. The CCR is a partnership between the UK Government, the Welsh Government and the ten local authorities in South East Wales to bring about significant economic benefits to this area.
The monies are split between two sub funds, with the Housing Viability Gap Fund providing £35m and a smaller SME Finance Fund comprising £10m. One of the main aims of the fund will be to create opportunities for investment in housing developments where housing is most in demand while also stimulating job creation thus facilitating the long term growth of the targeted regions. The fund will also look to improve infrastructure and connectivity as well as stimulating regeneration. Funding will be allocated to different authorities on a competitive basis with the criteria being that at least 40 homes must be created through the development process.
Nicola Somerville, CCR’s Head of Inclusive Growth and Business Development said:
‘the funds are not only about delivering new houses. For us, it is about the creation of new communities, engaging with new supply chains and providing equality of opportunity for existing residents and new, the ability to access good quality housing in an area of their choice’.
The fund is now receiving applications.

Cardiff Capital Region, New £45m Cardiff Capital Region Investment Fund set to unlock stalled housing sites for development



The Lichfields perspective

The Welsh Government’s progress on the National Development Framework is welcomed. Whilst we endorse the positive placemaking agenda, economic and social outcomes sought their delivery must be questioned if the level of future growth in Wales is to be based on the past trends set out by the central estimates. With an aging population it is essential to the wellbeing of future generations in Wales that we have a growing work force to support economic growth and fund the necessary social infrastructure.

Gareth Williams, Senior Director


Disclaimer: This publication has been written in general terms and cannot be relied on to cover specific situations. We recommend that you obtain professional advice before acting or refraining from acting on any of the contents of this publication. Lichfields accepts no duty of care or liability for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of any material in this publication. Lichfields is the trading name of Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners Limited. Registered in England, no.2778116