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Wales round-up: Ministerial shake-up mooted, minister announces 18 new Nature Fund projects

Words: Roger Milne

A round-up of planning news in Wales: 8 November - 14 November, 2014

Ministerial decisions shake-up mooted

The Welsh government has set out proposals to improve the handling of appeals, call-ins, and other planning and related decisions made by Welsh ministers.

The Planner 

Town hall merger moves expected as Welsh government deadline looms

Local authorities are finalising voluntary merger plans as the Welsh government’s deadline for “expressions of interest” approaches.

Wales Online 

£3m fund announced after Murco job losses

Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart has announced a £3 million fund to protect and create jobs in Pembrokeshire, and promised urgent work to improve the A40 in response to 340 job losses at the Murco oil refinery in Milford Haven.

BBC News 

'Cardiff is going to boom in the next economic cycle': City planner outlines the thinking behind the Metro dream

Cardiff council's director of strategic planning Andrew Gregory has stressed that the metro system planned for South Wales will be crucial for the fledgling Cardiff Capital Region.

Wales Online 

Dramatic increase in the number of houses turned into homes

A report on the Welsh government’s flagship Houses into Homes scheme shows 2,178 empty homes were brought back into use in 2013/14, a 99 per cent increase on 2012/13, the first year of the scheme, and a 112 per cent increase on 2011/12, the year before the scheme started.

Welsh government 

Minister announces 18 new Nature Fund projects

A total of 18 new projects to tackle declining biodiversity and deliver benefits to communities are set to receive funding thanks to a further £3 million Nature Fund investment, natural resources minister Carl Sargeant has announced.

Welsh government 

Beauty spots threatened by micro turbines, new report warns

Some of Wales’ most stunning beauty spots are under “growing pressure” from the “cumulative impact” of multiple small-scale wind farms, says a new report.

Wales Online 

Top secret former Cold War communications centre Criggion station is sold off for regeneration

The top secret former Cold War communications centre Criggion station near Welshpool has been sold off for regeneration.

Wales Online 

M4 relief road: Welsh Government has already spent £12m buying property around controversial Newport route

The Wales Audit Office is being asked to look into concerns that the government has bought property along what is known as the 'black route'.

Wales Online 

Convention centre 'will provide major boost to other hotels and businesses'

The new convention centre planned for the Celtic Manor at Newport will stimulate other hotels and businesses in the area, it has been claimed.

Wales Online 

Flint Redevelopment Plans

Plans for the proposed redevelopment of the maisonette sites in the centre of Flint have gone on display. The proposals are based on the Flint masterplan that was finalised in 2012 and the feedback from earlier consultation events.

Flintshire County Council 

Housing land availability reports

Two more joint housing land availability studies have been published: the one for Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council shows it has 2.57 years of supply while the one for the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority indicates a 5.5 year supply.

Blaneau Gwent County Borough Council (pdf)

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority (pdf)

Local development plan progress

The latest progress update on the adoption of local development plans show that within a year only Flintshire’s will be outstanding if all goes as scheduled.

Welsh Government (pdf) 

Rhyl's Ocean Plaza scheme gets the go-ahead from planners

A pared-back plan to redevelop the now derelict Ocean Beach funfair on Rhyl’s seafront has been given the go-ahead by Denbighshire Council which has approved proposals from Scarborough Development Group for a 62-bedroom hotel, a supermarket, pub, petrol station and other retail units.

Daily Post