Conwy Local Development Plan 2007 - 2022

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1. Section One - Introduction

1.1 Synopsis

1.1.1 The Conwy Local Development Plan (LDP) covers that part of the Conwy County Borough outside Snowdonia National Park (known as the Plan Area). The Plan Area is rich in historic assets, has a buoyant tourism industry, excellent transport links, good water and air quality and a high quality natural environment (including coast and countryside). However, population and household projections have demonstrated that the population of the Plan Area could increase by as much as 7,850 people by 2022. The main characteristics of this population change and associated concerns are:

  • The number of people within the 18-64 age group is declining resulting in a reduction in those of economically active age at the detriment to the economic performance of the Plan Area;
  • The number of people aged 65+ is increasing significantly resulting in increased pressure on social care, health facilities and services at the detriment to economic performance;
  • The number of children is projected to decrease significantly at the detriment to future economic performance, school pupil levels and community identity;
  • The number of people living together in households is projected to decrease resulting in a requirement for new housing to support the existing population and a decline in family sized homes;
  • The number of people in-migrating into the Plan Area far exceeds those out-migrating resulting in an increased need for more housing and employment opportunities and;
  • The number of people residing in the Plan Area who out-commute to work in locations outside of the Plan Area is unsustainable resulting in a need to increase local employment opportunities.


1.1.2 The impact of these impending population changes creates a number of priority issues for the Council. There is a need to:

  • Accommodate a sustained and deliverable level of housing and employment growth which reflects the principal natural population change, household size change and net in-migration;
  • Accommodate additional employment opportunities to contribute to reducing out-commuting levels;
  • Encourage a more balanced age structure and promote a more stable economic position through housing and employment offer, skills development, jobs creation and creative housing design. Whilst at the same time, adjusting to an ageing population in terms of health, social care, housing and employment need;
  • Contribute to the current requirements for Affordable Housing for Local Need (AHLN) and maximise future provision;
  • Protect Conwy’s outstanding natural and built environment;
  • Safeguard and promote the Welsh language and community identity, and;
  • Encourage development which seeks to achieve the priority objectives of the Plan.


1.1.3 Having had regard to all these factors, the Council proposes a sustainable level of growth consisting of between approximately:

  • 6,520 new housing units with a 10% contingency level of up to 7,170 new housing units to reflect natural population change, household size change and net in-migration.
  • 2,350 new jobs with a contingency level up to 2,585 new jobs to reflect natural population change, household size change and net in-migration.
  • 1,800 jobs with a contingency level up to 1,980 new jobs to contribute to reducing out-commuting levels.
  • 1,875 new affordable housing units (1,000 from new build).


 

1.2 The Conwy Local Development Plan (LDP)

1.2.1 The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires the Council to prepare an LDP for the Plan Area which acts as a single framework for the control of development and use of land within its administrative boundary. It sets out the key challenges facing Conwy, identifies the Vision, Objectives and the Spatial Strategy for development in the area over the period 2007 to 2022. The LDP will be used by the Council to guide and control development providing the basis by which planning applications will be determined. The LDP replaces existing Structure Plans and Local Plans which previously provided the policy framework for the Conwy Plan Area


1.2.2 The purpose of the LDP is to:

  • Provide a practical and detailed basis for the control of development and use of land.
  • Afford protection to the natural and built environment.
  • Provide incentive to developers by allocating land for particular types of development.
  • Bring local and detailed planning issues before the public.

1.3 Structure of the Plan

1.3.1 The structure of the plan is such that clearly demonstrates how the needs and issues facing Conwy are to be tackled and delivered by 2022.


1.3.2 Section 2 sets out the key objectives of the Plan detailing how the land-use theme of the Conwy Community Strategy and key issues facing Conwy are to be tackled over the Plan period.

Section 3 presents the Council’s Development Strategy to deliver the vision and objectives over the Plan period.

Section 4 comprises the development principles, strategic and criteria based policies against which development proposals will be determined.

Appendix 1 shows how the particular policies and development sites will be implemented, including which agencies will contribute towards delivery.

The Implementation Plan includes a Phasing Plan, Strategic Site descriptions and a list of the type of supporting information that will be required at planning application stage for each of the strategic sites.

Appendix 2 sets out the LDP Monitoring Framework, providing the basis for review or partial review of the Plan and modifications, where required.


1.3.3 The LDP is also supported by a Proposals Map which shows the geographical location and extent of the site specific developments and protection policies that are designated within the LDP.

1.4 Background Evidence Papers

1.4.1 Various background papers and other technical data have provided the evidence base for the approach taken in this Conwy LDP (refer to the Council’s website for a definitive list www.conwy.gov.uk./ldp).

1.5 Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment

1.5.1 A Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA) has been carried out on the Conwy LDP to ensure that it meets social, economic and environmental objectives. The SA/SEA has been an important process in identifying areas of change and mitigation measures to ensure the Conwy LDP is sustainable. The results of the SA/SEA are presented in BP/10 available on the Council’s website www.conwy.gov.uk/ldp.

1.6 Habitats Directive Assessment

1.6.1 The Council is required to undertake an Appropriate Assessment of its land use development plans where it potentially affects European Sites (Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and Offshore Marine Sites). An initial Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) Screening Exercise was undertaken on the Conwy LDP assessing its overall impact, which is available on the Council’s website.

1.7 The Status of the Document and Cancellations

1.7.1 When the LDP is adopted in 2013, for the purposes of Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 the following plans will be cancelled:

Structure Plans

  • Adopted Gwynedd Structure Plan (1993)
  • Adopted Clwyd Structure Plan – Second Alteration (1999)

Local Plans

  • Adopted Colwyn Borough Local Plan (1999)
  • Adopted Llandudno Conwy District Plan (1982)

Unitary Development Plan

  • Draft Conwy Unitary Development Plan (2001)

Statement

  • Affordable Housing Delivery Statement

1.8 Policy Framework

The Wales Spatial Plan

1.8.1 The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and accompanying regulations require that the Conwy LDP must have regard to the Wales Spatial Plan (WSP). The WSP is divided into six cross-boundary Spatial Plan Areas (SPAs). The Conwy Plan Area falls mainly within the North East Wales – Border and Coast SPA and is seen as making a very important contribution to both the Welsh and UK economy. The future prosperity of the Area is closely linked with that of North West England SPA as well as the neighbouring SPA of North West Wales and Central Wales. Further information on the relationship between the LDP and WSP is provided in BP/1 - ‘Related Plans and Strategies’.


1.8.2 Other important national, regional and local plans and strategies have influenced the direction of the Conwy LDP. The main implications of these matters on the Plan are summarised in BP/1. However, throughout this LDP the relevant documents are referred to in the reasoning and justification for the policy approach, where appropriate.

1.9 Plan Area Context

1.9.1 The Plan Area covers an area of 1,130 sq. km. with an estimated resident population of approximately 111,700 people. The urbanised settlements of the Plan Area, predominantly along the narrow coastal belt, houses around 85% of the overall population, with the remaining 15% falling within rural settlements. Around 4% of the population reside in the Snowdonia National Park, which is located outside of the Plan Area. The coastal town of Llandudno represents the largest populated area (20,000 inhabitants), closely followed by Conwy (14,200 inhabitants), Abergele (10,000 inhabitants), Colwyn Bay (9,700 inhabitants) and Towyn & Kinmel Bay (7,800 inhabitants), all of which are served via excellent road and rail transport links and well established public transport services. The remaining, predominantly inland, rural area contains a number of locally important main villages and hamlets offering key facilities and services.


1.9.2 The Plan Area is an area of outstanding landscape ranging from sandy beaches and headlands to sheltered valleys, open moors and natural woodland which borders the mountains of Snowdonia National Park. There are a number of Historic Landscape areas as well as five designated nature conservation sites of international importance, which are offered the highest level of environmental protection. The Plan Area also includes a number of locally designated sites which contribute to the overall character and quality of the natural environment.


1.9.3 In general terms, the economy relies heavily upon tourism and service industries, and is largely evident within the urban coastal settlements and the attraction of the rural area. Industrial employment, although limited to a certain extent and predominately located near the coast, includes manufacturing and research, and is found in places such as Kinmel Bay, Colwyn Bay and Llandudno Junction. Agriculture and forestry are important employment activities in the predominately Welsh speaking rural areas. Some of these rural settlements are either partly or wholly within the National Park.


1.9.4 Llandudno is a traditional Victorian seaside resort, which combines its existing tourism role with a thriving commercial centre and acts as the sub-regional shopping centre for the area. Conwy Town Centre falls within a designated World Heritage Site and is important in terms of its contribution to the tourist economy, whilst Llandudno Junction is emerging as an important location for office and business-led investment. Other local important urban settlements include Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr to the west and the towns of Abergele and Kinmel Bay to the east.


1.9.5 Conwy is faced with the challenge of improving socio-economic conditions in areas of economic decline and multiple deprivation, such as Colwyn Bay. In order to meet this challenge, a Strategic Regeneration Area (SRA) has been designated to foster an economic and social upturn especially in central and eastern Conwy. The SRA is wide reaching and extends into the neighbouring county borough of Denbighshire.

1.10 The Key Issues in Conwy

1.10.1 In order to ensure a robust basis for the development strategy of the plan, a review was undertaken of the social, economic and environmental information available for issues affecting the Plan Area.


1.10.2 Further details of these issues are set out in the LDP Consultation Report and BP/1 available on the Council’s website www.conwy.gov.uk/ldp

1.11 The Issues facing Conwy

1.11.1 The table below provides a list of the priority issues, their source and related outcomes from the ‘One Conwy’ Community Strategy, related spatial objective and relevant policies in this LDP to contribute towards tackling them.
 

Table 1: Key Issues Impacting on the Plan Area
PRIORITY ISSUES SOURCE ONE CONWY OUTCOMES LDP SPATIAL OBJECTIVE LDP IMPLEMENTATION
  • Overcoming High Levels of Constrained Land:Previously Developed Land in Conwy is limited. Additionally, the potential for development is also constrained resulting from a high level of flood risk along the coast in particular in Llandudno and to the east of the Plan Area, high levels of natural and heritage assets and topography. However, Conwy needs to use land efficiently, by locating development in sustainable locations and, where practicable, on previously developed land to protect the unique natural and built environment.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • BP/4 ‘Housing Land Supply’.
  • BP/5 ‘Housing Land Availability Study’
  • BP/27 ‘Landscape Character Areas’
  • BP/28 ‘Historic Environment’
  • BP/30 ‘Phasing Plan’
  • BP/31 ‘Capacity of the House Building Industry’
  • BP37 ‘Growth Distribution Options Report’
1, 2, 3, 6, 8 SO1 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, NTE/1, Design SPG, Planning Obligations SPG and Biodiversity in Planning SPG
  • Tackling Deprived Areas:Colwyn Bay has experienced a significant decline in the tourism industry. There is a need to promote the comprehensive regeneration and renaissance of Colwyn Bay to broaden economic activity, address social exclusion, reduce deprivation, and limiting and reducing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) through the Strategic Regeneration Area Initiative and the Colwyn Bay Masterplan.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • Bay Life Initiative Strategy (2006)
  • Welsh Government Strategic Regeneration Initiative Area Status.
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Brief (2009)
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Baseline Study
  • 'Turning the Tide Strategy'
  • BP/37 ‘Growth Distribution Options Report’
3, 5, 8 SO2 Development Principles, HOU/1, CFS/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Design SPG, Colwyn Bay Masterplan SPG and Welsh Language SPG
  • Accommodating Sustained Housing Growth and promoting a More Balanced Age Structure:More houses are required as a result of changing household sizes and net in-migration. There is a need to accommodate a maximum of up to approximately6,520 new houses, with a contingency level of up to 7,170 new housing units, primarily in the accessible and sustainable urban coastal belt locations. The new houses will be of the right type and creatively designed to encourage the younger population and families to remain and return to the area in order to contribute to a step change in the predicted population age structure and associated declining workforce.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • BP/2 ‘Population and Household Projections’,
  • BP3 ‘Growth Level Options Report’,
  • Welsh Government (WG) latest 2008 based National and Sub National Household Projections.
  • BP/9 ‘Affordable Housing Viability Study’
  • BP/30 ‘Phasing Plan’
  • BP/31 ‘Capacity of the House Building Industry’
  • BP/37 ‘Growth Distribution Options Report
3, 4 SO3 Development Principles, HOU/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Buildings and Structures of Local Importance SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, Welsh Language SPG and Rural Conversions SPG.
  • Prioritising Affordable Housing Need:Conwy has an inadequate supply of affordable housing for local need. There is a requirement to ensure that provision of up to approximately 1,875 new affordable homes for local need are provided to contribute to the levels of demand and to promote a more balanced age structure.
  • BP/7 ‘Local Housing Market Assessment (Phase 1)’,
  • BP/9 ‘Affordable HousingViability Study
  • BP/34 ‘Site Viability Assumptions Paper’
  • BP/36 ‘Affordable Housing Needs Calculation’
  • Conwy Affordable Housing Register (2010)
  • Conwy First Steps Register (2010)
3, 4 SO3 Development Principles, HOU/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Buildings and Structures of Local Importance SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, Welsh Language SPG and Rural Conversions SPG.
  • Accommodating Gypsies and Travellers:Conwy needs to ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to accommodate any identified need for gypsies and travellers.
  • BP/22 ‘Gypsy and Traveller Site Demand Assessment’,
  • CCBC Unlawful Encampments Register (Dec 2009),
  • BP/7 ‘Local Housing Market Assessment (Phase 1)’
3, 4 SO3 Development Principles, and HOU/1
  • Accommodating Sustained Economic Growth, Reducing Out-Commuting and Promoting a more Balanced Age Structure: There is a need to accommodate sustained economic growth of a maximum of up to approximately 20.5 hectares, with a contingency level of up to 22.5 hectares of employment land to meet the population change predictions. To contribute to the reduction in out-commuting levels, a further 15.5 hectares of employment land, with a contingency level up to 17 hectares will be accommodated. The strategic hub of Conwy, Llandudno Junction, Colwyn Bay and the accessible and sustainable location of Abergele will be utilised in meeting this need. To contribute to a more balanced age structure, a greater emphasis will be placed on higher value employment opportunities and skills development.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • BP/3 ‘Growth Level Options Report’
  • BP/13 ‘Employment Land Monitoring Report’
  • BP/14 ‘Employment Land Study Report’,
  • Denbighshire and Conwy Sub Regional Economic Study (2007),
  • Statistics on Commuting in Wales 2008 – WG Statistical Directorate statistical bulletin SB 80/2009
1, 5 SO4 & 5 Development Principles, EMP/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, Welsh Language SPG and Rural Conversions SPG.
  • Protecting Regional & Town Centres:The regional centre of Llandudno and other important Town Centres within the Plan Area experience pressure from non-retail uses. There is a need to maintain and, where appropriate, enhance Llandudno as the retail centre for the region, promote the regeneration of Colwyn Bay, as well as other retail centres and, where possible, enhance the overall vitality, attractiveness and viability of the centres through a more diverse shopping experience.
  • BP/15 ‘Retail Study’
  • BP/16 ‘Primary and Secondary Retail Areas and Hierarchy Study’
  • CCBC Planning Applications
  • Bay Life Initiative Strategy (2006)
  • Welsh Government Strategic Regeneration Initiative Area Status
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Brief (2009)
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Baseline Study
5 SO6 Development Principles, CFS/1, Shop Front Security & Design SPG, Buildings and Structures of Local Importance SPG, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, and Welsh Language SPG
  • Encouraging Sustainable Tourism:The tourism sector results in an increase in unemployment over the winter months in Conwy. There is a need to encourage and, where possible, safeguard the tourism sector, particularly in the coastal resorts, and exploit tourism potential, especially relating to the natural and built environment, in order to encourage all year round tourism.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • BP/14 ‘Employment Land Study’,
  • North Wales Tourism Strategy (2003 – 2008),
  • Denbighshire and Conwy Sub Regional Economic Study (2007),
  • 'Turning the Tide Strategy'
6 SO7 Development Principles, TOU/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, and Welsh Language SPG
  • Encouraging Sustainable Transport:The dominant mode for journeys to work, including high outward commuting, is by car within the Plan Area. There is a need for improved sustainable transport use and transport infrastructure in Conwy through the development of an integrated transport system, sustainable accessibility in urban and rural areas, public transport provision, modal interchanges, increased cycling and walking facilities and the requirement of travel plans to reduce car dependency.
  • Wales Spatial Plan (Update 2010)
  • Conwy Local Transport Plan (2006),
  • Denbighshire and Conwy Sub Regional Economic Study (2007),
  • Statistics on Commuting In Wales (National Statistics, 2008),
  • North Wales Regional Transport Plan (2008)
  • Bay Life Initiative Strategy (2006)
  • Welsh Government Strategic Regeneration Initiative Area Status
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Brief (2009)
  • Colwyn Bay Masterplan Baseline Study
4, 5, 6 SO8 Development Principles, STR/1, Parking Standards SPG, Design SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Design SPG and Rural Conversions SPG
  • Promoting High Quality Design:There is a need to insist on high quality sustainable design to sustain and enhance the character of Conwy as well as providing more innovative design to encourage the younger population to remain and return to the area.
  • 2008 based Population and Household Projections,
  • CCBC Planning Applications
  • BP/28 ‘Historic Environment’
  • Conwy Conservation Area Appraisals
6 SO9 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, NTE/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Buildings and Structures of Local Importance SPG, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, Welsh Language SPG and Rural Conversions SPG
  • Efficient Use of Natural Resources:Conwy is vulnerable to the impacts of Climate Change, in particular, to rising sea levels and sudden heavy rain storms leading to an increased risk of flooding. There is a need to use natural resources more efficiently and exploit renewable energy production through installed electricity generating capacity.
  • Planning Policy Wales,
  • TAN15,
  • CCBC Planning Applications
  • BP/17 ‘Strategic Flood Risk Assessment’
  • The Planning and Energy Act 2008)
  • TAN22
1, 2, 4, 6 SO10 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, NTE/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Householder Design Guide SPG, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG and Design SPG
  • Protecting Conwy’s Cultural Heritage:There are 24 Conservation Areas in the Plan Area, with 1436 listed buildings, 24 of which are Grade 1, 70 Grade II* and 1342 Grade II which are vulnerable to development pressure. Conwy also experiences a loss of non-listed buildings, structures and features of historical and architectural importance. There is a need for development to take into account the historic built environment, and ensure that design and build quality will help protect, maintain and, where appropriate, improve on this quality in Conwy.
  • CCBC,
  • CADW
  • Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (2006)
  • Conwy Conservation Area Appraisals (2009)
  • Conwy Building at Risk Register (2009)
  • Conwy Non-Listed Buildings of Architectural Merit Register
  • BP/28 ‘Historic Environment’
6 SO11 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, CTH/1, Householder Design Guide SPG, Buildings and Structures of Local Importance SPG, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG, andRural Conversions SPG
  • Protecting and Enhancing Conwy’s Natural Environment:There is pressure on wildlife species and habitats (biodiversity) from development. Where appropriate all new development should help enhance the biodiversity resource within the Plan Area and protect natural environment designations shared with neighbouring authorities.
  • CCBC Biodiversity Action Plan (2006)
  • LANDMAP (2009)
  • BP/27 ‘Landscape Character Areas’
6, 7 SO12 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, NTE/1, Householder Design Guide SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Planning Obligations SPG and Design SPG
  • Protecting and Enhancing Community Facilities & Services:Existing urban and rural areas in the Plan Area experience a shortfall of formal and informal open space, including allotments and leisure. More recently, some rural communities are also experiencing pressure for the change of use of key community facilities, such as village public houses and shops. There is a need to safeguard and enhance key community facilities and services to ensure the protection and promotion of sustainable communities.
  • BP/19 ‘Open Space Assessment’
  • BP/25 ‘Allotment Site Demand and Supply Report’
  • CCBC Planning Applications
1, 4 SO13 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, NTE/1, CFS/1, Planning Obligations SPG, Biodiversity in Planning SPG, Design SPG and Rural Conversions SPG
  • Reducing Waste:There has been an increase in the amount of recycled waste. Whilst recycling rates are good by County standards there will be a substantial amount of effort required to continue the improvement and to reduce overall waste levels, landfill, increase re-use/recycling of waste and safeguard existing sites.
  • BP/20 ‘Waste Management’
  • Regional Waste Plan (2008)
  • Landfill Feasibility Study (2009)
6 SO14 Development Principles, MWS/1, Planning Obligations SPG and Design SPG
  • Meeting the Needs for Minerals:There is a need to safeguard for a continuous supply of minerals to meet the needs of the industry and community.
  • North Wales Regional Technical Statement (2007)
  • British Geological Society Minerals Mapping (2009)
  • BP/29 ‘Safeguarding Aggregate Resources’
6 SO15 Development Principles and MWS/1
  • Protecting the Welsh Language and Culture:There is pressure on the Welsh Language within the Plan Area. Through the LDP there is a need to protect the Welsh language.
  • Planning Policy Wales
  • Draft Equality Impact Assessment (2010)
  • BP/33 ‘Welsh Language’
7 SO16 Development Principles, HOU/1, EMP/1, CTH/1, Planning Obligations SPG and Welsh Language SPG
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