(4) 7.1 The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 makes provision for two or more local planning authorities to prepare a joint local development if they so wish. In addition to this, The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 now gives Welsh Ministers the power to direct local authorities to produce joint local development plans. Furthermore, the consideration of joint plans is also set out the Welsh Government's 'Local Development Plan Manual (Edition 2, August 2015)' and the White Paper on 'Reforming Local Government: Resilient and Renewed (January 2017)'.
7.2 Given these contextual and legislative changes, consideration needs to be given to the issue of joint working and plan preparation with neighbouring local authorities. Conwy have investigated a number of potential options for a Joint LDP, the starting point of which was to assess the individual stages of Plan preparation that our neighbours are at in August 2017.
7.3 Snowdonia National Park Authority are currently at a Deposit Plan stage following agreement by Welsh Government to progress a selective review. Due to the timing of the plan preparation it is not possible to progress a joint plan with SNPA. Despite this, Conwy continue to work closely with SNPA, especially in drawing up appropriate policies and land allocations within the shared settlement locations.
7.4 Denbighshire County Council offers the only potential opportunity to progress a joint plan having considered the start of the LDP review stage (review started in June 2017), shared administrative boundaries and related cross boundary issues. However, both local planning authorities are also independent, self-governing bodies. Both have their own strategic direction to address specific challenges, issues and opportunities as contained within Corporate/Well-being Plans and programmes. As it is a requirement and a 'test of soundness' in preparing LDPs to conform to strategic County Borough documents, the emerging LDP Review is unlikely to be succinct and integrated.
7.5 Additionally, difficulties of joint plan preparation also arise as a result of national and regional plan and policy preparation. The National Development Framework (NDF) is still in production and the development of an A55 Strategic Development Plan (SDP) is still to be decided regionally. Despite these national and regional uncertainties, Conwy consider that to progress an LDP Review now is unlikely to impact on their progression. For example, the Conwy LDP will be subject to future review at which point it can reflect changes in regional and national guidance.
(4) 7.6 Conwy have already stated that there is an urgency to review the Conwy LDP, primarily to overcome the impact of changes to technical Advice Note 1 (TAN1) 'Joint Housing Land Availability Studies' and the lack of a 5 year housing land supply. To progress a joint plan now, which will require further delay, will exacerbate the 5 year supply situation and put further pressure on greenfield lands from speculative developments.
7.7 Given this current uncertainty and challenges detailed above, and the fact that the evidence contained in this Report supports a full revision of the Conwy LDP, a joint LDP is not considered a suitable option at present. However, both Strategic Planning teams have developed comprehensive collaborative working relationships that includes joint production of evidence base and understanding of cross-border impacts and mitigation. This will be further built-on and continue in the future.