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First strategic development plan takes shape for Cardiff region

Words: Roger Milne
Cardiff / iStock-503068745

The 10 unitary authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) have decided in principle to work together to produce what would be the country’s first-ever statutory strategic development plan (SDP).

The initiative was agreed at this week’s CCR cabinet meeting. The move will require formal approval from each of the councils involved: Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.

Part of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which has its own planning authority, overlaps with areas of Monmouthshire and the Valleys. The national park authority has said it doesn’t want to be part of the SDP exercise.

A report considered by Monday’s (10 June) cabinet stresses the need for “joined-up strategic planning for the CCR” that would provide “an enabling tool for the region’s economic growth, transport/connectivity and other ambitions”.

An SDP is needed to provide a regional spatial framework for the future development and use of land in the CCR, says the report.

It would be the mechanism for consensus on significant strategic and cross-boundary land use issues as well as providing “certainty, transparency and democratic accountability for decision-making on land-use planning matters at a strategic/regional level”.

This blueprint would also guide strategic and public and private investment decisions, including those made under the city deal and “enable true collaboration between LPAs working together on a development plan framework for the region, with associated benefits such as shared resources, resilience and savings”.

It is expected that the SDP will be produced by a team of planners drawn from the 10 local authorities and will cost around £3.14 million. The plan is likely to cover the period 2020 to 2040.

The current timeline would see councils agreeing to participate this autumn with a deposit plan published by 2023, which would go for examination and adoption by 2025.

Welsh Government officials are reported to be keen to work with the region to progress the SDP.

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