Paper 1: Priority Issues, Vision and Objectives
Key Drivers for Planning, Placemaking and creating Sustainable Communities
2.1 Conwy County Borough Council has determined that a review of the existing LDP (adopted October 2013) is needed to allow a replacement LDP to be prepared and adopted prior to the expiration of the current LDP in 2022. It is considered that a replacement LDP is needed to take account of a range of new Acts, policy frameworks, initiatives, evidence and spatial issues at national, regional and local levels since the adoption of the current LDP. This section of the Paper introduces you to the key drivers that impact on the creation of sustainable communities and ultimately the preparation of the Conwy RLDP. It provides detail on important new legislation that has arisen since the adoption of the current LDP. In response to this changing legislation, together with an assessment of evidence, this section proposes a new structure for the RLDP. It also highlights the approaches to assessing the RLDP to ensure sustainable places are created. We would like your views on this before progressing onto the RLDP 'Vision' and 'Objectives' later in this Paper. There is a lot of information to take on board, but it is considered essential in understanding the proposed restructure and direction of the RLDP.
2.3 With the introduction of the WFG Act, in addition to the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 there is a need to consider restructuring the content and assessment processes covered in the adopted LDP so that it takes account of these legislative requirements.
Diagram 1: The WFG Act seven well-being goals
2.4 The WFG Act also establishes the 'Five Ways of Working' which public bodies need to demonstrate they have carried out in undertaking their sustainable development duty and in preparing the RLDP. Giving consideration to these ways of working is an intrinsic part of the planning system. Conwy will need to set out how it will operate in this manner in developing and delivering the RLDP. The five areas are 'Long Term', 'Prevention' 'Integration', 'Collaboration' and'Involvement'
2.5 In considering how the five Ways of Working can specifically relate to the planning system in Wales, the Welsh Government identifies five key 'Planning Principles' (Diagram 2) which should be the starting point in preparing the RLDP. As detailed in Diagram 2, it is clearly shown how the five key planning principles link to the WFG Act 'Ways of Working'. In preparing the RLDP against these principles, it will enable the goals and ways of working set out in the WFG Act and Environment Act principles to be realised through production of the RLDP. They provide the context and act as a catalyst for the positive delivery of the planning system across Wales. Further consideration of these principles will be set out in the Conwy SA/SEA and will form the baseline to inform RLDP evidence, vision, objectives, policies, land allocations and future monitoring.
Diagram 2: Welsh Government Five Key Planning Principles
2.7 What makes a sustainable place in Conwy will vary from settlement to settlement. Each place will have its own unique characteristics, history and identity, based on how people have, and will, interact with it, which make it unique. This 'sense of place' varies, from the rural countryside which provides an economic and environmental base for agriculture and tourism to thrive to urban areas which can be renewed through regeneration and change.
2.8 Sustainable placemaking is an inclusive process, involving all of those with a professional or personal interest in the built and natural environment, which focuses on developing plans, making decisions and delivering developments which contribute to the creation and enhancement of sustainable places.
2.9 Placemaking in development decisions happens at all levels and involves considerations at a global scale, including climate change, down to the local level, such as considering the amenity impact on neighbouring properties and people. The planning system and production of the Conwy RLDP is the key management tool for delivering Sustainable Places in Conwy. It provides a critical mechanism where opportunities for long term benefit and integrated decision making meet allowing preventative and proactive solutions to be found.
2.11 Therefore, to ensure the Conwy RLDP contributes to WFG Act seven goals (Diagram 1), the key 'planning principles' (Diagram 2) and contributes to Sustainable Places, it is essential that the RLDP seeks to deliver development that addresses the National Sustainable Placemaking Outcomes (Diagram 3).
Diagram 3: National Sustainable Placemaking Outcomes
2.13 When the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 were being developed, the Welsh Government made a commitment to restructure PPW in-line with the above legislation. The new draft Edition 10 of PPW also sought to promote the concept of 'place making' in both plan making and development management decisions which is central to the wider objectives of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Consultation on draft PPW (Edition 10) was undertaken between 12th February 2018 and the18th May 2018. Whilst the new PPW Edition is in draft form this Paper 1 takes full account of it in considering the restructure of the Conwy RLDP. Any changes made to the final PPW will be reflected in later stages of the Conwy RLDP preparation.
2.14 In terms of the new structure in PPW, the Welsh Government has considered the key drivers and proposes to re-align the existing planning policy topic areas to the 7 well-being goals set out in the WFG Act. Following an examination of the goals against the National Sustainable Placemaking Outcomes, the policy topic areas have been grouped under 4 new thematic headings namely 'Place Making', 'Active and Social Places', 'Productive and Enterprising Places' and 'Distinctive and Natural Places' which show their relationship with each other. For example, the 'Active and Social Places chapter' includes policy statements on housing, retail, community facilities, open space and transport. Each chapter highlights the connections between the policy topic areas and the place making outcomes and refers to the linkages with the 7 well-being goals and the 5 ways of working in the Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
2.15 Chapter 2 of the draft PPW refers to 'place making' and paragraph 2.1 states that "everyone engaged with or operating within the planning system in Wales must embrace the concept of place making in both plan making and development management decisions in order to achieve the creation of sustainable places".