Sustainable Placemaking in Conwy
The RLDP is formulated having had consideration of the strategic placemaking issues impacting on Conwy. This section of the PS focuses on those strategic polices that will have the greatest impact on the type of development which is ultimately delivered and its contribution to sustainable development and the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of Conwy. This section promotes integrated polices that should not be considered in isolation during the development process. This includes considering the design of a development and its impacts upon everyday lives as well as thinking holistically about where people might live and work and which areas should be protected. This section provides the strategic and locally distinctive placemaking vision for delivering sustainable placemaking, which is supported by strategic polices on Sustainable Placemaking, Growth Levels, Hierarchy of Settlements, Placemaking and Good Design, Promoting Healthier Places, The Welsh Language, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Placemaking in Rural Areas, Place Plans, Strategic Sites, Infrastructure and New Development and Managing Settlement Form. 3.1.1
All Strategic Polices within this Sustainable Placemaking Section relates to Strategic Objective 1 (SO1). The objective is therefore not repeated throughout the section.
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1): Contribute to the creation of sustainable places, social inclusion and improved wellbeing overall in Conwy through the delivery of inclusive placemaking and regeneration that ensures future growth levels and development takes place in sustainable and accessible locations, seeks to promote good design and healthier places, protects Welsh language and is supported by the necessary social, environmental, cultural and economic infrastructure to create great places. 3.2.1
Sustainable Placemaking Principles Strategic Policy SP/1
All proposals must embrace the concept of sustainable placemaking principles and ensure development supports the delivery of sustainable development and the environmental, social, cultural and economic well-being of Conwy. Where appropriate, development proposals will only be permitted where consistent with the sustainable placemaking principles:
- Maximises Environmental Protection and Limits
- Protects and enhances biodiversity, ecosystems, townscapes, soundscapes and landscapes;
- Promotes green infrastructure;
- Reduces environmental risks;
- Manages water resources naturally;
- Promotes clean air and reduces pollution;
- Promotes resilience to climate change; and,
- Creates special and distinctive environments.
- Facilitates Accessible and Healthy Environments:
- Promotes physical and mental health and wellbeing;
- Secures accessible and high quality green space;
- Promotes non-car dependency;
- Provides accessibility for all;
- Provides safe and inclusive communities for all; and
- Provides access to key services and facilities for all.
- Makes Best Use of Resources:
- Makes best use of natural resources;
- Promotes sustainable waste management;
- Prioritises the use of previously developed land and existing buildings;
- Unlocks potential, regenerating and attracting investment to create resilient communities; and
- Promotes good high quality design and sustainable developments.
- Grows Our Economy in a Sustainable Manner:
- Fosters economic activity which embraces smart and innovative technology and communication;
- Reduces climate change and promotes efficiency and renewable energy; and
- Promotes vibrant and dynamic economic environments which are adaptive to change.
- Creating and Sustaining Communities:
- Enables the Welsh language to thrive;
- Secures appropriate development densities;
- Ensures that homes and jobs are available to meet society's needs;
- Promotes a mix of uses where appropriate;
- Offers cultural experiences; and
- Secures and protects community based facilities and services.
Sustainable Development means the process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of Conwy by taking action, in accordance with the sustainable development principle, aimed at achieving the well-being goals. The most appropriate way to implement these requirements through the planning system is to adopt a placemaking approach. 3.2.2
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 delivering developments which contribute to the creation and enhancement of sustainable places in Conwy. Placemaking in development decisions happens at all levels and involves considerations at a global scale, including climate change, down to the very local level, such as considering the amenity impact on neighbouring properties and people. 3.2.3
The planning system should create sustainable places which are attractive, sociable, accessible, active, secure, welcoming, healthy and friendly. Development proposals should create the conditions to bring people together, making them want to live, work and play in areas with a sense of place and well-being, creating prosperity for all. Policy SP/1 sets out the main ways in which development proposals will be expected to demonstrate that they are supporting the delivery of economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being and therefore contributing towards sustainable development in Conwy. 3.2.4
Acting in accordance with the sustainable placemaking principles means that proposals must act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. As such, everyone engaged with or operating within the planning system in Conwy must embrace the concept of sustainable placemaking in order to achieve the creation of sustainable places and improve the well-being of communities in Conwy. 3.2.5
Not every development proposal will be able to demonstrate they can meet all of these outcomes. However, this does not mean that they should not be considered in the development management process to see if a proposal can be improved or enhanced to promote wider well-being. It is for developers to identify these opportunities and act upon them. Links to more specific Strategic Policies and approaches which will be used to assess whether the criteria of SP/1 are achieved are set out within the policy text relating to all Strategic Sections of the RLDP. A Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) will be prepared to set out guidance for developers in ensuring schemes are sustainable and conform to Policy SP/1. 3.2.6
Levels of Housing Growth
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1): 3.3.1
Levels of Housing Growth Strategic Policy SP/2
Housing requirement provision is made for approximately 4,300 dwellings in the Plan Period (plus 20% contingency). Provision is made within the Plan having considered completions, commitments, windfall and new allocations over the Plan Period.
The LDP housing requirement figure is influenced by a demographic scenario which includes migration assumptions based on jobs growth locally and as a result of the needs associated with the North Wales Growth Deal. This scenario results in a slightly higher annual requirement for dwellings than the Welsh Government's projections, but reflects the priority issues and background evidence base, in particular a need to contribute to a more balanced age structure, reduced out-commuting levels and protection and enhancement of community identity. The dwelling requirement includes an acceptance of churn in the housing market which includes an allowance for vacant homes, second homes and holiday accommodation. 3.3.2
The scale of housing land requirement of 4,300 (290 a year) is based on an anticipated growth in population of approximately 5.8% between 2018 and 2033 . The level takes into consideration the likely supply of housing that may come forward within the Snowdonia National Park part of the County Borough (100 over the Plan Period) and capacity of the house building industry. The total housing supply of 5,150 homes includes an allowance for 20% (850 dwellings) contingency in order to allow for choice, flexibility and renewal of the existing housing stock and for non-take up of sites. The ability to deliver the housing requirement is demonstrated through a housing trajectory within the housing section. 3.3.3
New homes will be developed on land allocated for housing, mixed-uses and supported by the relevant community and utility infrastructure. Sites are located in line with the Settlement Hierarchy and relates to the population split, sustainability, accessibility and the needs of communities. The scale and distribution of housing also addresses the constraints recognised to the east of Plan Area. Overall, a broad balance between housing, community facilities, services and employment opportunities in both urban and rural areas is promoted to minimise the need for long distance commuting. 3.3.4
5 Key Strategic Sites consisting 1,300 new homes and infrastructure are proposed within the higher order settlements. The Strategic Sites are potentially major generators of travel demand and, as such, are proposed within existing urban areas and areas which are, or can be, easily reached by walking or cycling, and are well served by public transport. The sites are proposed having understood the infrastructure capacity and requirements, viability and are supported by concept drawings. It is clear that a number of the Strategic Sites need to be phased appropriately in order to meet the Band 'B' and 'C' School Modernisation Programme over the Plan Period. 3.3.5
Supported by the relevant polices within the Plan, well-designed, energy efficient, good quality market and affordable housing that will contribute to the creation of sustainable places is promoted. The Plan promotes sites for the full range of housing types to address the identified needs of communities, including the needs of older people and people with disabilities. In this respect, sustainable residential mixed tenure communities with 'barrier free' housing, for example built to Lifetime Homes standards to enable people to live independently and safely in their own homes for longer, is promoted subject to viability. 3.3.6
The Plan also provides for a range of sustainable and deliverable sites to allow all sectors and types of house-builder, including nationals, regionals, registered social landlords (RSLs), Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the custom and self-build sector, the opportunity to contribute to delivering the proposed housing requirement. For example the Housing Strategy proposes policies to assist Registered Social Landlords to bring forward lands outside of settlement boundaries where it assists higher levels of affordable housing delivery. 3.3.7
The Level of Housing growth will be delivered in line with polices contained within the Healthy and Social Places Strategic Section. 3.3.8
Levels of Jobs Growth
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.4.1
Levels of Employment Growth Strategic Policy SP/3
Employment requirement provision is made for approximately 1,800 new jobs in the Plan Period (inclusive of contingency) to encourage a more balanced age structure, reduction in out-commuting, safeguard community identity and contribute positively to the North Wales Growth Deal. Provision is made within the Plan having considered completions, commitments and new allocations over the Plan Period.
Conwy's has an aging population and the younger population is declining at the detriment to creating sustainable places and safeguarding community identity. It is crucial that the RLDP seeks to contribute to a more balanced age structure, seeks to retain and encourage the younger population to return to the area and that out-commuting levels are reduced. Together with protecting and enhancing the social, environmental and cultural assets it provides for a strategy that will contribute to sustainable places in Conwy. Having considered the impacts of the North Wales Growth Deal over the Plan Period and economic forecasts the RLDP needs to develop an additional 1,800 jobs between the period 2018-2033, which equates to between approximately 12 - 14 hectares of land. As per the Employment Land Review the jobs requirement is split evenly between B1 Office and B1c/B2/B8 Industrial and Warehousing. 3.4.2
The jobs and land requirement is distributed in line with the Commercial Market Analysis Assessment, which predominantly supports growth in close proximally to the coastal A55 and rail corridor. Of the 5 Key Strategic Sites proposed, 2 are located within the higher order urban settlements consisting of approximately 6 hectares of employment land collectively and the necessary infrastructure. The site proposed to the east of the Plan Area supports the project proposals detailed in the North Wales Growth Deal. The sites are proposed having understood the infrastructure capacity and requirements, viability and are supported by concept drawings. 3.4.3
The Level of jobs growth will be delivered in line with polices contained within the Prosperous Places in Conwy Strategic Section. 3.4.4
Growth Distribution and Hierarchy of Settlements
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.5.1
Growth Distribution and Hierarchy of Settlements Strategic Policy SP/4
Over the Plan Period, development will be located in accordance with the strategic approach as set out by the growth distribution strategy, and the hierarchy of settlements. Most development will take place within the Coastal Development Strategy Area, which includes most of the built-up parts of the authority and is separated into four sub-areas. The Rural Development Strategy Area makes up the majority of the land area of the Plan Area but includes a relatively small proportion of the population.
Employment growth should generally be focussed in the
Key Desirable Employment Locations as shown on the key
diagram, although provision of sites for employment
purposes will be based on the needs of the business,
using a sequential approach to site search when a new
site is required as set out in Strategic Policy 27:
Economic Development. To enable a proportion of
economic growth in the rural area a more flexible
approach will be taken with regards to the expansion of
rural businesses, enabling them to grow without the
need to relocate where it is appropriate and
sustainable to do so.
Housing growth is to be distributed to each strategy area as shown below.
Coastal Development Strategy Area
Rural Development Strategy Area
Proportion of total growth
New development proposed within a settlement should be appropriate relative to the size, function, location and character of the existing settlement. The type and scale of development considered suitable within a settlement is based on its position within the Settlement Hierarchy as defined below:
Abergele/Pensarn, Colwyn Bay (inclusive of Rhos-on-Sea and Old Colwyn), Conwy, Deganwy/Llanrhos, Llandudno, Llandudno Junction, Llanfairfechan, Mochdre, Penmaenmawr and Penrhyn Bay/ Penrhynside and Towyn/Kinmel Bay.
Key service Centre
Tier 1 Main Villages
Llanddulas, Dwygyfylchi*, Glan Conwy
Tier 2 Main Villages
Betws-yn-Rhos, Cerrigydrudion, Dolgarrog*, Eglwysbach, Llanfair Talhaiarn, Llangernyw, Llansannan, Llysfaen, Tal-y-Bont*/Castell and Trefriw*
Bryn Pydew, Glanwydden, Groes, Henryd, Llanbedr-y-Cennin*, Llanddoged, Llanelian, Llangwm, Llannefydd, Pentrefelin, Pentrefoelas, Rhyd-y-Foel, St George, Tal-y-Cafn and Tyn-y-Groes.
Bodtegwel, Bryn-y-Maen, Brymbo, Bryn Rhyd-y-Arian, Bylchau, Capelulo*, Cefn Berain, Cefn Brith, Dinmael, Glasfryn, Groesffordd, Gwytherin, Hendre, Llanfihangel GM, Maerdy, Melin y Coed, Nebo*, Pandy Tudur, Pentre-llyn-cymmer, Pentre Isa, Pentre Tafarn-y-Fedw, Rhydlydan, Tan-y-Fron.
* Settlements partly within Snowdonia National Park
Urban settlements and the Key Service Centre of Llanrwst will be fundamental in delivering the housing, employment and other infrastructure, facilities and services needed over the plan period. Strategic sites have been identified in Llanfairfechan, Llanrhos, Old Colwyn, Abergele and Llanrwst to support the provision of these land use requirements. Further sites will be allocated in the Deposit plan as required in the urban settlements, the Key Service Centre and also within Tier 1 Main Villages.
The approach to housing delivery is set out in detail
within the housing section. All residential
developments above the minimum threshold size in urban
settlements, the Key Service Centre and Tier 1 Main
Villages to provide a minimum level of affordable
housing, according to the split policy to be informed
by the affordable housing viability study. To provide
flexibility for increased opportunities for delivering
higher levels of affordable housing, small-scale
developments including a minimum of 50% affordable
housing will be supported on suitable sites outside but
adjoining the settlement boundaries.
Within the smaller settlements - Tier 2 Main Villages, Minor Villages and Hamlets - housing sites will not be allocated but small scale developments proportionate to the size and level of facilities of the settlement will be supported on suitable sites where they comprise infill or rounding off. Such sites must be driven by local demand for housing and provide a minimum of 50% affordable housing for local need.
As an exception to this policy, sites to deliver 100%
affordable housing will be supported outside the
confines of the smaller settlements, subject to all
other local and national policy matters and where there
is evidenced local need.
In the open countryside away from defined settlements, any development will be strictly controlled and only permitted in exceptional circumstances. In the case of housing, to meet evidenced need for a Rural Enterprise Dwelling or to provide One Planet development, in line with national guidance.
The growth distribution and settlement hierarchy detailed here have been defined taking account of the Strategic Placemaking section of PPW, including sustainability and accessibility considerations, local facilities and site availability, as set out in Background Papers BP2: Spatial distribution Options Report and BP3: Hierarchy of Settlements and Settlement Boundaries. 3.5.2
This approach focusses growth predominantly in the urban coastal settlements, also in the Key Service Centre where there is greater access to local services, employment and sustainable transport links. Appropriate development will be supported on suitable sites in all settlements across the authority however, subject to need and other relevant policy considerations. This approach is set out in more detail in the housing and employment sections of the Preferred Strategy. 3.5.3
Placemaking and Good Design
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.6.1
Placemaking and Good Design Strategic Policy SP/5
- To contribute to Sustainable Placemaking and
address the 5 key aspects of Good Design, development
proposals should, where appropriate:
- Meet Strategic Policy 1: Sustainable Placemaking Principles;
- Address 'Access and Inclusivity' for all by making provision to meet the needs of people with sensory, memory, learning and mobility impairments, older people and people with young children;
- Address 'Environmental Sustainability' by seeking to maximise energy efficiency and the efficient use of other resources (including land), maximise sustainable movement, minimise the use of non-renewable resources, encourage decarbonisation and prevent the generation of waste and pollution;
- Address 'Character' through consideration of the layout, form, scale and visual appearance of a proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings. A clear rationale behind the design decisions made, based on site and context analysis, a strong vision, performance requirements and design principles, should be sought throughout the development process and expressed, when appropriate, in a design and access statement;
- Address 'Community Safety' through the design process by preventing and reducing crime and disorder; and
- Address 'Movement' by designing in non-car dependency and maximising opportunities for people to make sustainable and healthy travel choices.
- Site and context analysis should be used to determine the appropriateness of a development proposal in responding to its surroundings.
Achieving good design and creating an effective sense of place requires an understanding of the relationship between all elements of the natural and built environment. Design is a fundamental component in creating sustainable development, which is itself at the forefront of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015. 3.6.2
Good design is fundamental to creating sustainable places where people want to live, work and socialise. Design is not just about the architecture of a building but the relationship between all elements of the natural and built environment and between people and places. To achieve sustainable placemaking in Conwy, design must go beyond aesthetics and include the social, economic, environmental and cultural aspects of the development, including how space is used, how buildings and the public realm support this use, as well as its construction, operation, management, and its relationship with the surroundings area. 3.6.3
Design is an inclusive process, which can raise public aspirations, reinforce civic pride and create a sense of place and help shape its future. Conwy will seek that development meets the objectives of good design. These objectives are categorised into five key aspects in PPW, 10 (see Figure:1): This policy is intended to ensure that development proposals can achieve positive economic, social, environmental and cultural outcomes, and can minimise adverse ones. It will, along with the more detailed policies to be developed in the Deposit RLDP, form the basis of all planning decisions, and indicators will be developed as part of the Plan's monitoring framework to show the effectiveness of the policies. 3.6.4
Figure 3: Aspects of Good Design
Promoting Healthier Places
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.7.1
Promoting Healthier Places in Conwy Strategic Policy SP/6
To promote healthier places in Conwy, reduce health inequalities and contribute to the Conwy & Denbighshire Wellbeing Plan, development proposals are required to:
- Enable opportunities for outdoor activity and recreation in line with Strategic Policy 18: Recreational Spaces
- Reduce exposure of populations to air and noise pollution in line with Strategic Policy 25: Water, Air, Soundscape and Light;
- Promote active travel options in line with Strategic Policy 14: Sustainable Transport and Accessibility; and
- Seek environmental and physical improvements, particularly in the built environment in line with Strategic Policy 5: Placemaking and Good Design
The built and natural environment is a key determinant of health and well-being in Conwy. The RLDP will play an important role in shaping the social, economic, environmental and cultural factors which determine health and which promote or impact on well-being in line with the Healthier Wales goal. The way places work and operate can have an impact on the choices people make in their everyday lives, including their travel and recreational choices and how easy it may be to socialise with others. 3.7.2
Disadvantaged and deprived communities tend to be disproportionately affected by health problems. There are links between the built and natural environment and health throughout a person's lifetime and an understanding of the wider determinants of health is a key component of the RLDP. SP/6 identifies the strategic proactive and preventative measures to reduce health inequalities, which are progressed further through the relevant sections of the RLDP. 3.7.3
Conwy has a role to play in the prevention of physical and mental illnesses caused as identified in the Conwy & Denbighshire Wellbeing Plan, or exacerbated by pollution, disconnection of people from social activities (which contributes to loneliness) as well as the promotion of travel patterns which facilitate active lifestyles. Development proposals must consider the impacts of new development on existing communities and maximise health protection and well-being and safeguard amenity. This will include considering the provision of, and access to, community and health assets, such as community halls, libraries, doctor's surgeries and hospitals. Health impacts should be minimised in all instances, and particularly where new development could have an adverse impact on health, amenity and well-being. In such circumstances, where health or amenity impacts cannot be overcome satisfactorily, development should be refused where appropriate. 3.7.4
The RLDP should develop and maintain places that support healthy, active lifestyles across all age and socio-economic groups, recognising that investment in walking and cycling infrastructure can be an effective preventative measure which reduces financial pressures on public services in the longer term. The way a development is laid out and arranged can influence people's behaviours and decisions and can provide effective mitigation against air and noise pollution. Effective planning can provide calming, tranquil surroundings as well as stimulating and sensory environments, both of these make an important contribution to successful places in Conwy. 3.7.5
Green infrastructure can be an effective means of enhancing health and well-being, through linking dwellings, workplaces and community facilities and providing high quality, accessible green spaces. In all development and in public spaces especially, there should be sensitive management of light, and exposure to airborne pollution should be kept as low as reasonably practicable. The compatibility of land uses will be a key factor in addressing air quality and creating appropriate soundscapes which are conducive to, and reflective of, particular social and cultural activities and experiences, particularly in busy central areas within the CDSA. Equally, the provision of quiet, tranquil areas which provide peaceful sanctuaries in otherwise noisy environments can help to reduce general levels of pollution and promote both mental and physical well-being in Conwy. 3.7.6
The Welsh Language
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.8.1
Welsh Language Strategic Policy SP/7
Use of the Welsh language in Conwy will be supported and encouraged through the RLDP, by supporting the provision of local employment and residential development commensurate with the needs of local communities.
A Welsh language impact assessment will be undertaken and will highlight what mitigation, if any, will be required to offset potential harm to use of the Welsh language that may be caused by development proposals. Language sensitive areas will be defined, and a criteria-based policy included in the Deposit Plan to identify unanticipated developments that will require an impact assessment at application stage.
The Welsh Language is a key part of the social and cultural fabric of Conwy, with over 27% of the population able to speak Welsh . The 2011 census found significant variation in the use of the Welsh language across Conwy, from over 70% of the population in Uwchaled ward in the rural south-east of the county, to less than 12% in the eastern coastal areas of Pensarn, Towyn & Kinmel Bay. 3.8.2
The Welsh language is a material consideration in determining planning applications, however TAN20 makes it clear that the impact of development on the Welsh language is a matter which should be assessed at development plan stage; only in exceptional circumstances should individual planning applications require submission of an impact assessment. 3.8.3
A high level impact assessment is therefore being undertaken to consider the strategic approach set out in the Preferred Strategy, and how the RLDP can be used to support use of the Welsh language. This may be both through encouraging development of the right type and location to strengthen Welsh-speaking communities, and to require some developments to mitigate against potential harm caused by development. 3.8.4
Given the uncertainties around the economy associated with Britain exiting the EU, it is critical for the Plan to provide sufficient flexibility to respond to changing circumstances. This flexibility will in part be created by criteria based policies which will enable applications on sites outside allocations to be considered. 3.8.5
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.9.1
Sustainable Management of Natural Resources Strategic Policy SP/8
To maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide to sustainable placemaking, the Council will put in place a framework to ensure that the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) principles, Natural Resources Policy, 'State of Natural Resources Report' and 'Area Statements' are positively contributed to.
3.9.2 The Environment (Wales) Act 2016 introduces the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SNMR) and sets out a framework to achieve this as part of decision-making. The objective of the SMNR is to maintain and enhance the resilience of ecosystems and the benefits they provide. The translation of SMNR into the planning system is an integral part of the essential components of sustainable places in Conwy and through encouraging approaches based on identifying and securing outcomes which deliver multiple ecosystem benefits.
The Welsh Government must publish and implement a statutory Natural Resources Policy setting out its priorities in relation to the SMNR while Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is required to produce a 'State of Natural Resources Report' and prepare 'Area Statements' to inform place-based action. The Natural Resources Policy and Area Statements are a key piece of evidence which must be taken into account in development plan preparation. To date the Area Statement related to Conwy has not been published. 3.9.3
The planning system is wide in its social, economic environmental and cultural scope and takes an all embracing approach to sustainable development where decisions on short and long term needs and cost and benefits come together. It secures outcomes where multiple benefits (more than one ecosystem benefit) can be provided as part of plan making strategies or individual development proposals. The Strategic Policy will be delivered further through policies detailed in the Cultural and Natural Places Section. 3.9.4
Placemaking in Rural Areas
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.10.1
Placemaking in Rural Areas Strategic Policy SP/9
In line with the Settlement Hierarchy, development proposals in rural settlements will be supported where they foster adaptability and resilience of Conwy's rural communities and strike a sustainable balance between meeting the economic, social and recreational needs of local communities and visitors with the need to conserve and, where possible, enhance the natural and cultural environment.
A strong rural economy will be promoted to support sustainable and vibrant rural communities in Conwy. Fostering adaptability and resilience will be a key aim for rural settlements in face of the considerable challenge of maintaining the identity and vibrancy of communities. 3.10.2
The establishment of new enterprise and the expansion of existing business is crucial to the growth and stability of rural areas, supported by the required housing and necessary community infrastructure. This needs to be balanced against the need to conserve and, where possible, enhance the natural and cultural environment. 3.10.3
For most rural areas within the Conwy RDSA the opportunities for reducing car use and increasing walking, cycling and use of public transport are more limited than in CDSA. Therefore settlements falling within the RDSA will focus on local growth and diversification dependent on their sustainability and position within the Hierarchy of Settlements. A constructive approach towards agricultural development proposals will also be adopted, especially those which are designed to meet the needs of changing farming practices or are necessary to achieve compliance with new environmental, hygiene or welfare legislation. A positive approach to the conversion of rural buildings for business re-use, in addition to taking a positive approach to diversification projects in rural areas will be adopted. 3.10.4
The approach will ensure that the countryside is resilient to the impacts of climate change and plays a role in reducing the causes of climate change through the protection of carbon sinks and as a sustainable energy source. 3.10.5
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.11.1
Place Plans Strategic Policy SP/10
To promote collaborative action, improve well-being and placemaking, Place Plans will be supported where they deliver RLDP Polices, are prepared at the initiation of the local community and are adopted as supplementary planning guidance.
Place Plans are non-statutory documents. They may be prepared at the initiation of the local community and are a powerful tool to promote collaborative action to improve well-being and placemaking. Place Plans should support the delivery of LDP policies and are adopted as supplementary planning guidance. 3.11.2
Place Plans provide an opportunity for communities to engage in the plan making process at a local level, with LPAs supporting Placemaking initiatives in local communities. Place Plans are about delivering local outcomes, helping build consensus and buy-in within the wider development plan process. They can add the fine grain detail to an adopted LDP. They can be produced by Town and Community Councils or the LPA in conjunction with local communities. It is essential all parties involved have an appreciation of the resources required to prepare a Place Plan and early engagement with all parties will be essential. 3.11.3
Place Plans should be in conformity with the RLDP and adopted as SPG. They can inform a LDP review, be prepared in parallel with an LDP, or following adoption, providing there is a sufficient 'policy hook' within the plan. They cannot duplicate or introduce new policy, nor can they de-allocate sites identified in the adopted development plan. Place Plans are not part of the statutory development plan; instead they add detail to the adopted plan. 3.11.4
Place Plans can also provide a steer to distribute and spend funding raised from s106 planning obligations/commuted sums and where relevant, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). Place Plans should state which relevant site allocation policy in the RLDP it relates to and/or state how it expands on other generic related policies, such as, design, commercial centres and green spaces. The Council has published guidance and supporting material on the use and preparation of Place Plans. 3.11.5
Strategic Objectives 1 (SO1) 3.12.1
Strategic Sites Strategic Policy SP/11
To partly meet the future growth requirements, reflect highly constrained land to the east of the County Borough and contribute positively to the North Wales Growth Deal, five Key Strategic Sites* are proposed in sustainable and accessible locations, supported by the required infrastructure and proposed phasing over the Plan Period:
Coastal Development Strategy Area (CDSA):
- Llanfairfechan - Mixed Use Housing (400 Homes), Affordable Housing, Primary School, Allotments and Recreational Space. The site is phased between 2021 and 2029
- Llanrhos - Mixed Use Housing (250 Homes), Affordable Housing, Primary School, 1 Hectare of B1 Employment Land, Allotments and Recreational Space. The site is phased between 2024 and 2031.
- Old Colwyn - Housing (450 Homes), Affordable Housing, Allotments and Recreational Space. The site is phased between 2024 and 2033.
- Abergele - Mixed Use Employment (4.7 Hectares of B1, B2 & B8), Retail, Recreational Space and a Primary School. The site is phased between 2021 and 2027.
Rural Development Strategy Area (RDSA)
- Llanrwst Key Service Centre - Housing (200 Homes), Affordable Housing, Allotments and Recreational Space. The site is phased between 2021 and 2026.
*All Key Strategic Sites are supported by a Viability Assessment, Site Assessments and Concept Drawings. All Strategic Sites will be supported by a Placemaking Vision, Design Principles and Development Briefs.
In reflecting their contribution to the future growth requirements for Conwy and as key components of the North Wales Growth Deal, five Strategic Sites have been identified as being core to delivering growth during the Plan Period. Key Strategic Sites will be supported by a placemaking vision, design principles and Development Briefs as the RLDP progresses to adoption. The proposed sites are the result of a frontloading exercise involving key public services and utility companies and as such reflect capacity issues and the new infrastructure required over the Plan Period. 3.12.2
All allocations and development proposals should consider all relevant RLDP Polices and, in particular, how Sustainable Placemaking principles and good design influence the scale and location of development. It is essential that proposals create well designed quality places where people will want to live, work and visit. Whilst not exhaustive, Key Strategic Sites will need to consider the following in preparing Development Briefs: Land uses, density and house types, scale & massing, key access, movement corridors and the street hierarchy, transport / movement (all modes), green infrastructure, physical infrastructure, biodiversity, renewable energy / energy efficiency opportunities, phasing and infrastructure requirements. 3.12.3
Viability Assessment work is underway to assess the opportunities to require higher sustainable building standards, including zero carbon, on development sites which will inform the Deposit Plan. 3.12.4
Llanfairfechan - Mixed Use Housing (400 Homes), Affordable Housing, Primary School, Allotments, Recreational Space, Green Infrastructure and Active Travel Linkages. The site is phased between 2021 and 2029. 3.12.5
A new mixed-use Strategic Site is proposed in Llanfairfechan consisting of 400 new homes, affordable housing, new primary school, allotments and recreational space. The frontloading approach has determined that there is capacity in the water supply and sewerage/drainage infrastructure and Doctor's Surgery. However, active travel routes and safer routes to school options require improvement from the wider residential areas within Llanfairfechan. A new Band-B Primary School is also planned between 2019 and 2024. The impact of the growth level has been considered and reflected in the appropriate size of school.
Llanrhos - Mixed Use Housing (250 Homes), Affordable Housing, Primary School, approximately 1 Hectare of B1 Employment Land, Allotments, Recreational Space, Green Infrastructure and Active Travel Linkages. The site is phased between 2024 and 2031. 3.12.6
A mixed-use Strategic Site is proposed at Llanrhos between the urban settlements of Llandudno Junction and Llandudno consisting of 250 new homes (including affordable housing), approximately 1 hectare of B1 (office) to promote cluster employment uses, new primary school, allotments and recreational space. The area is also recognised as an area in need of improved public transport, active travel and green infrastructure, which will be progressed via a comprehensive Development Brief. The Strategic Site is phased from 2024 onwards to ensure it links with the 'Band C' School Modernisation Programme.
Old Colwyn - Housing (450 Homes), Affordable Housing, Allotments, Recreational Space, Green Infrastructure and Active Travel Linkages. The site is phased between 2024 and 2033. 3.12.7
A Strategic Site to the south of Old Colwyn consisting of 450 new homes, allotments and recreational space. The Strategic Site will be phased from 2024 onwards to consider Band C School Impacts. Following the frontloading approach, the site may need to accommodate improvements to the wider highway network, improved public transport service and active travel linkages. Hydraulic Modelling is also underway to determine whether capacity improvement works will be required to the water supply and sewerage/drainage infrastructure.
Abergele South East - Mixed Use Employment (4.7 Hectares of B1, B2 & B8), Retail, Recreational Space, a Primary School, Green Infrastructure and Active Travel Linkages. The site is phased between 2021 and 2027. 3.12.8
Abergele South East forms a key project within the North Wales Growth Deal. The site was previously allocated in the Adopted LDP and as such careful consideration has been given to re-allocating the Key Strategic Site for mixed-use Employment (4.7 Hectares of B1, B2 & B8), Retail, Recreational Space and a Primary School. Key to delivery of the site is the available capacity in the highway network and town centre to accommodate the growth without the need for significant highway infrastructure improvement in the town centre. Evidence suggests that the town centre traffic lights are at capacity and further growth and related traffic would be detrimental without town centre interventions (e.g. a gyratory or one way system).
To inform the deliverability, a Highways Capacity Study has been undertaken which demonstrates that the proposed uses can be delivered without the need for significant town centre interventions. The proposed uses, through the promotion of active and sustainable travel modes, place different travel demands on the town centre than would be experienced by new housing schemes, as such the evidence and frontloading approach suggest that the site is deliverable over the Plan Period. 3.12.9
The RLDP continues to promote town centre traffic capacity improvements though the encouragement of a strategic intervention. Options for improvement are being considered in the line with the WelTag process. This is supported by the Regional Transport Plan and will further aid the objective of the RLDP to promote regeneration and investment to the Abergele and Pensarn Area. 3.12.10
Llanrwst Key Service Centre - Housing (200 Homes), Affordable Housing, Allotments, Recreational Space, Green Infrastructure and Active Travel Linkages. The site is phased between 2021 and 2026. 3.12.11
The majority of rural growth is focused in the Key Service Centre of Llanrwst, which is a settlement that supports the wider rural communities in terms of employment, retailing and community services and facilities. To encourage development in sustainable locations a Llanrwst Strategic Site is proposed consisting of 200 new homes (market and affordable), allotments and recreational space along the A470. Frontloading suggests that there is capacity in the public and utility services.
Infrastructure and New Development
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.13.1
Infrastructure and New Development Strategic Policy SP/12
- Development proposals must fund and/or deliver new
or improved infrastructure, services or community
facilities where they are:
- necessary to make the development acceptable in planning terms;
- directly related to the development; and
- fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind to the development.
- The infrastructural requirements of developments
will vary greatly according to their location, existing
infrastructure provision, scale and type. In
considering the needs of development proposals the
following infrastructure, services and facilities may
- Works required to secure a safe environment for
the community and future occupiers of the proposed
- Traffic, transport and highway initiatives (including public transport, active travel and safe routes to schools);
- Natural and built environment; and
- Waste management and recycling.
- In the case of residential development the
provision of affordable housing to meet the needs
of the local community:
- Affordable Housing.
- Measures required to meet the needs of the
future occupants of the proposed development where
the failure to provide the obligation would impose
unacceptable impacts on the local community:
- Recreational Spaces (including Green Infrastructure);
- Educational Facilities;
- Leisure; and
- Measures required to mitigate the impact of the
proposed development on the local community or
matters of acknowledged importance:
- Employment And Training;
- Welsh Language;
- Regeneration Initiatives;
- Digital Infrastructure;
- Community Safety; and
- Renewable and low carbon energy.
- Other facilities and services considered necessary
- Works required to secure a safe environment for the community and future occupiers of the proposed development:
The provision of appropriate infrastructure, services and facilities is vital to ensure the delivery of the Plan's policies and proposals. Appropriate infrastructure is key to facilitate development but is also a necessity to support the ongoing needs and demands of a development and Conwy's communities. 3.13.2
The requirements of planning obligations will take into consideration the financial viability of a proposed development. In instances where there is dispute regarding the impact which the requirements have upon the financial viability of the scheme, the applicant will be required to meet the costs of securing an independent viability appraisal, completed by a suitably qualified and approved third party. 3.13.3
The Plan seeks to ensure that the infrastructure, services and facilities needed to support development is delivered in a timely manner prior to, or upon commencement, of the development, or where appropriate phased through the development process. The Plan encourages the delivery of infrastructure is undertaken in a coordinated manner with minimal disruption caused to existing communities. 3.13.4
Contributions may include the following: 3.13.5
- In Kind Contributions - The developer carries out required works directly.
- On Site / Off Site Contributions - The developer contributes financially towards the provision of measures that would mitigate the detrimental impacts of development.
- Pooled Contributions - The Council may seek to pool contributions from more than one developer across the County Borough, in order to address the wider impacts across developments.
On-site provision is the preferred option, particularly for obligations such as affordable housing and recreational spaces. Where necessary, the developer will be responsible for the future upkeep of the obligation. Development should not take place before the infrastructure needed by its occupants is in place. Unless otherwise stated, there are no exceptions. 3.13.6
Conwy Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) 3.13.7
The Council is progressing a Viability Assessment which considers both planning obligations via the S106 approach and the Community Infrastructure Levy. The CIL is currently held in abeyance to await the Welsh Government's Review. Should the Council progress and adopt a CIL charge in line with the Viability Assessment outcome, the obligation will not be sought again via Section 106 Agreement or planning condition.
Managing Settlement Form
Strategic Objective 1 (SO1) 3.14.1
Managing Settlement Form Strategic Policy SP/13
To protect open land from development, increase countryside access and encourage sport and recreation opportunities over the Plan Period, green wedges are identified in urban settlements and Tier 1 Villages within the Coastal Development Strategy Area.
Within the Coastal Development Strategy Area there is a need to protect open land from development, increase countryside access and encourage recreation to improve health. This can be achieved through the identification of Green Wedge designations. The proposed Green Wedges are soundly based and have been designated to protect the urban form where settlement boundaries may be considered as robust enough to protect the open land. 3.14.2
Best and Most Versatile Agricultural Land 3.14.3
Agricultural land of grades 1, 2 and 3a of the Agricultural Land Classification system (ALC) is the best and most versatile, and should be conserved as a finite resource for the future.
When considering the sequential search for sites, in development plan policies and development management decisions considerable weight should be given to protecting such land from development, because of its special importance. Land in grades 1, 2 and 3a should only be developed if there is an overriding need for the development, and either previously developed land or land in lower agricultural grades is unavailable, or available lower grade land has an environmental value recognised by a landscape, wildlife, historic or archaeological designation which outweighs the agricultural considerations. If land in grades 1, 2 or 3a does need to be developed, and there is a choice between sites of different grades, development should be directed to land of the lowest grade. 3.14.4
Green Wedges 3.14.5
Green wedges essentially have the same purpose as Green Belts and have been used to provide a buffer between the settlement edge and statutory designations and safeguard important views into and out of the area. Green wedges will again be proposed and be subject to review as part of the RLDP process. The general policies controlling development in the countryside apply in a green wedge but there is, in addition, a general presumption against development which is inappropriate in relation to the purposes of the designation. Green wedges can have other beneficial effects including the provision of access to the countryside and sport and recreation opportunities. However, the extent to which the use of land fulfils these objectives is not a material factor in determining whether land should be included within a green wedge.
Green wedge boundaries are chosen carefully using physical features and boundaries to include only that land which it is necessary to keep open in the longer term. To maintain openness, development within a green wedge must be strictly controlled. The Council will demonstrate why normal planning and development management policies would not provide the necessary protection to the green wedge designation. 3.14.6
When considering applications for planning permission in green wedges, a presumption against inappropriate development will apply. Substantial weight should be attached to any harmful impact which a development would have on the purposes of green wedge designation. Policies will be included to outline the circumstances when development would be permitted in these areas where the openness of the green wedge will still be maintained. 3.14.7
Inappropriate development should not be granted planning permission except in very exceptional circumstances where other considerations clearly outweigh the harm which such development would do to the green wedge. Green wedge policies in development plans should ensure that any applications for inappropriate development would not be in accord with the plan. These very exceptional cases would therefore be treated as departures from the plan. 3.14.8
The construction of new buildings in a green wedge is inappropriate development unless it is for the following purposes: 3.14.9
- justified rural enterprise needs;
- essential facilities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation, cemeteries, and
- other uses of land which maintain the openness of the green wedge and which do not conflict with the purpose of including land within it;
- limited extension, alteration or replacement of existing dwellings; or
- small scale diversification within farm complexes where this is run as part of the farm business.
The re-use of buildings in a green wedge is not inappropriate development provided that: 3.14.10
- the original building is substantial, permanent and capable of conversion without major reconstruction;
- the new use will not have a greater impact on the openness of the green wedge and the purposes of including land within it. Strict control will need to be exercised over the extension, alteration or any associated use of land for re-used buildings; and
- the building is in keeping with its surroundings.
Certain other forms of development may be appropriate in the green wedge provided they preserve its openness and do not conflict with the purposes of including land within it. 3.14.11
These could include:
- mineral extraction;
- renewable and low carbon energy generation;
- engineering operations; and
- local transport infrastructure schemes.
Other forms of development would be inappropriate development unless they maintain the openness of green wedge and do not conflict with the purposes of the designation. 3.14.12