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Welsh round-up: Minister confirms designated landscape policy won’t be fundamentally changed; Huge solar farm proposed for Gwent levels

Words: Roger Milne

A round-up of planning news in Wales: 10 March-16 March, 2018

Minister confirms designated landscape policy won’t be fundamentally changed

Five years on and after two independent reviews, the Welsh Government has insisted that all the country’s national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty will be retained and their current purpose ‘of conserving and enhancing natural beauty’ will not be weakened or changed.

The Planner

MPs say government more interested in ‘box-ticking’ than real climate change action

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environment Audit, Health and Social Care, and Transport Committees have said the government is ‘more concerned with box-ticking’ than taking ‘bold, meaningful action’ when it comes to tackling the UK’s air quality.

The Planner

Huge solar farm proposed for Gwent levels

Proposals to build one of the largest solar power farms in Wales, rated at nearly 50 megawatts, at a 140-hectare site at Llanwern in the Gwent Levels have been submitted to the devolved administration as a development of national significance.

Insider Media

Monmouthshire picked for 5G test-bed

Monmouthshire has been chosen as a 5G test-bed site to improve rural connectivity in an initiative which is part of the UK’s digital strategy

UK Government

Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon not dead yet

The initial proposal for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon would have led to energy costing more than twice as much as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, according to Greg Clark, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He insisted the door was not yet closed on the proposed scheme.

Wales Online

Pontypridd regeneration boost

Housing and regeneration minister Rebecca Evans has announced £10 million of funding for Pontypridd’s Taff Vale development, the first project to get under way as part of the government’s multimillion-pound ‘Building for the Future’ programme.

Welsh Government

Warning over impact of new tax on commercial property deals

Many of the biggest names in the commercial property sector have written a joint letter to the government warning that Wales is in danger of losing vital job-creating investment if the administration sticks to implementing a new tax rate, higher than the rest of the UK, on larger commercial property transactions. The rate is due to kick in on 1 April.

Wales Online

Llandudno pier project progress

Proposals for an £18 million revamp of the historic Llandudno Pier Pavillion, including plans for 48 flats and two restaurants at the grade II* listed property, are set to be determined shortly.

Insider Media

Hospital proposals for Carmarthen housing site

Land earmarked for 1,100 homes in Carmarthen could be used for a new hospital instead, the town’s mayor has said.

Wales Online

Go-ahead for Swansea listed cinema conversion

The conversion of Swansea’s listed Castle Cinema into a flat-led mixed-use scheme has been approved by the city council.

Wales Online

New home starts down

Latest official statistics have shown that, on a quarterly basis, 1,255 new dwellings were started across Wales during October to December 2017, which is 17 per cent fewer than the previous three months and 41 per cent fewer than a year earlier.

Welsh Government

Crayfish conservation milestone

A conservation programme by Natural Resources Wales to save a highly endangered species – the white-clawed crayfish – is celebrating a major milestone now a captive-bred population has successfully spawned in the wild for the first time.

Natural Resources Wales

Swansea energy from waste scheme mooted

Plans are in the pipeline from environmental services company Biffa for an energy-from-waste facility in Swansea that could burn up to 25,000 tonnes of refuse a year and generate enough power to heat and light 150 homes.

Insider Media

More funding to help high streets

Housing and regeneration minister Rebecca Evans has announced a further £7.6 million of town centre loans to help revitalise high streets up and down the country.

Welsh Government

Improving connectivity in SE Wales

The Cardiff Capital Region regional cabinet has welcomed the decision by the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to approve its bid for £6 million of funding from the Local Full Fibre Wave 2 Challenge Fund to enable improved digital connectivity in south-east Wales.

Newport City Council