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6.1 This chapter sets out the overall Strategy to deliver the Plan's vision and objectives. Figure 4 describes the main element of the Vision and what must occur (the themes and the objectives) to bring about this change.
(for illustration purposes only)
6.2 The vision, themes and objectives have been developed into a land use planning strategy to guide the future development of the Plan area up to 2026. It sets out the broad intention for managing change, provides a framework for more strategic and detailed policies and indicates the level of provision to be made for housing, employment and other major land uses, the broad locations that such development will be directed to and the areas subject to general protection from development.
6.3 The Strategy takes the main elements of the Vision and Objectives and sets out principal land uses that will deliver them. In line with the Single Integrated Plan for Anglesey and Gwynedd, the broad Strategy is to strengthen communities in the Plan area. The Strategy contains the elements described in Table 8.
Table 8: Main Elements of the Strategy
|Sustainable Communities||Economic Growth and Regeneration||Quality Housing||Natural and Built Environment|
6.4 Several cross cutting themes have informed the Plan, influencing and underpinning the choices and direction of the policies, proposals and development sites. Table 9 describes the cross cutting themes.
Table 9: Cross Cutting Themes
|Welsh Language and Culture||Climate Change and Sustainable Development||Creating Quality Places|
6.5 Overall the Strategy responds to the clear evidenced need to make provision for new homes and jobs as well as the protection of the area's unique social, cultural and environmental character. It accommodates land uses that are required for a time-limited period, facilitating alternative policy compliant legacy uses in the long term. It sets a level of growth considered to represent the most robust, balanced and appropriate approach taking into account all relevant factors, including work undertaken by independent housing and economic forecasts.
6.6 The spatial element of the Vision broadly describes how the Plan area will look by 2026. It sets out what the vision means on the ground. The Spatial Strategy says where development should or should not go. The aim is to get the right type of development in the right place which meets the requirements of the communities.
Previous chapters in the Plan have described the rurality of the Plan area. It has a dispersed settlement pattern of towns, villages and other groups of buildings and high levels of private car usage, therefore the need to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions is challenging. Evidence points to five broad categories of settlements within the Plan area as reflected in the spatial element of the Plan's Vision. These are:
i. Sub regional Centre
ii. Urban Service Centres
iii. Local Service Centres
6.8 The selection and categorisation of settlements is based on data and its analysis as set out in Topic Paper 5: Developing the settlement strategy (May 2013). In the Paper, settlements are ranked according to a number of factors and the interplay between them. The factors include population, numbers of retail, employment, community and service facilities they contain and their access to public transport and the functional links between them. Facilities are weighted to reflect the fact that some facilities are more valuable than others in terms of the sustainability benefits they provide.
6.9 The Strategy defines what role the Sub regional Centre, Urban Service Centres, Local Service Centres, Villages, Clusters and countryside will play in achieving the Plan's Vision. The amount, type (particularly in housing terms) and distribution of new development will be determined largely by the roles set out in this Strategy. The strengthening of existing roles and evolution of new ones will take time and will be cemented through the strategies of the Councils and other partners and particularly through market forces.
6.10 In order to respond to the area's opportunities and challenges and to achieve the Plan's overall Vision and Objectives the following spatial strategy has been adopted for distributing development across the Plan area. It ensures that development is directed to locations that are sustainable in terms of their size, function, character, facilities, transport linkages, social and environmental capacity. It supports the use of policies that encourage the level of development most appropriate to each settlement.
The Strategy will aim to disperse development proportionately around the Plan area whilst focusing on those locations that provide the best opportunities for achieving sustainable development.
The Strategy proposes:
Map 9: Diagrammatic (Part 1)
(for illustration purposes only)
Map 10: Diagrammatic (Part 2)
(for illustration purposes only)
6.11 It seeks to establish a strong network of settlements that make the Plan area more self-sufficient in terms of access to jobs, affordable homes, and services such as education and training, shops, and leisure. The priority will be to meet needs as locally as possible and to retain as much benefits as possible from investment locally, recognising that the magnitude of investment in Wylfa Newydd has the potential to benefit areas beyond the Plan area. The Plan balances the importance of sustaining rural economies with the need to protect the countryside. A full list of settlements, where they sit in the settlement hierarchy and the implications is included in Appendix 4.
6.13 Where possible, priority has been given to the re-use of suitable previously developed land (i.e. brownfield land) and existing buildings by identifying them as sources for future development during the Plan period. The Urban Capacity Study of the Centres, shown on Diagrammatic Map 9 and 10 and listed in Appendix 4, has informed this element of the Plan. The opportunities highlighted on a settlement by settlement basis are set out in Topic Paper 6: Urban Capacity Study published alongside the Deposit Plan. There are policies in the Plan that facilitate the development of brownfield land and existing buildings, where appropriate.
6.14 Overall, the ability to achieve the proposed spatial distribution on a settlement by settlement basis is influenced to a degree by the ability to accommodate development at the chosen locations. The sites chosen for each settlement result from a detailed analysis of the environmental, infrastructure and social capacity of the individual settlements and an assessment of different site options that have come forward. These detailed analyses are set out in Topic Paper 1: Candidate Sites Assessment Update and the Welsh Language Impact Assessment report, produced as background documents alongside the Deposit Plan.
6.15 In determining the spatial distribution of new housing sites it was also necessary to take into account the existing supply of development. The existing housing supply consists of land with planning permission and windfall development, as described and quantified in a series of housing policies in Chapter 7 of this Plan. New housing allocations are only identified in the Subregional Centre, Urban and Local Service Centres and Service Villages and only if the existing land bank and windfall sites cannot accommodate their indicative level of growth.
6.16 Due to significant physical constraints in Blaenau Ffestiniog and the regeneration initiatives in place to attract new investment opportunities locally, the Strategy proposes a relatively higher use of brownfield land and buildings within the settlement compared to other settlements. This element of the Strategy will be monitored and reviewed, which will include discussion with the Snowdonia National Park Local Planning Authority and Conwy County Borough Council as there are settlements within their administrative areas that may be able to contribute in the long term to providing a solution, if required.
6.17 Although Porthmadog is defended against flooding, large parts of the settlement are categorised as being within Zone C1 (see Constraints Map). A core function of the Plan is to ensure that all development is sustainable, having regard to the implications of addressing climate change. Development proposals that would lead to a reduction in floodplain storage capacity or impede flood flows are strongly discouraged. On this basis and the lack of alternative sites beyond the flood risk area, the Plan cannot allocate land for housing in Porthmadog. Nonetheless new housing could be promoted on brownfield/ windfall sites provided that they conform to local planning policy and national planning policy and guidance set out in Planning Policy Wales and TAN 15. Due to this factor the supply of land for housing is less, which means that the Centre cannot accommodate the growth that would be normally directed to it. It has been necessary to identify alternative locations in its catchment area that align with the spatial strategy in its catchment area that would assist in meeting the requirement for housing that should otherwise be provided in the Urban Service Centre. Similar issues in nearby Tremadog means that it cannot contribute to providing the solution.
6.18 Criccieth and Penrhyndeudraeth have been chosen after taking into account a range of factors. Both Local Service Centres have good transport links with Porthmadog and each one has a good level of services that provide their residents the opportunity to walk to them to satisfy their everyday requirements, thus reducing the need for journeys to Porthmadog. This approach also accords with aspirations to retain opportunities locally. This leads to Criccieth and Penrhyndeudraeth, in accordance with the spatial strategy, being attributed an increase in the housing growth opportunities. Chapter 7 of the Plan provides detailed information about levels of housing growth to each settlement.
6.19 The Plan is informed by a range of assessments including the combined Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment, a Welsh Language Impact Assessment, Habitats Regulation Appraisal, and a Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment. It is considered that the viability of local provision within these Local Service Centres can be enhanced by being supported by a larger population within walking distance. Given Porthmadog's continued role as an Urban Service Centre there will still be those within Criccieth and Penrhyndeudraeth and surrounding villages that will need to travel to Porthmadog, for example for employment purposes, alternative shopping opportunities or banking. However, their journey will be shorter than a journey to the nearest alternative Urban Service Centres and the choice of Transport modes includes by bus and by train. Gwynedd Council is committed to re-evaluating the options for growth in Criccieth and Penrhyndeudraeth in the Plan's first review.
6.20 In order to provide robust guidance to assess and determine planning applications each settlement is defined spatially. The Deposit Plan has defined development boundaries around the Sub-Regional Centre, Urban Service Centres, Local Service Centres, and Villages. Clusters do not have settlement boundaries. Here development will be required to relate well to the existing built form, which will be shown on the Proposals Maps by colouring buildings that form their core. Development boundaries and clusters are drawn in order to:
6.21 Some development boundaries appear to include 'white land' that hasn't been allocated for any particular use. Other than for housing, the Plan does not indicate any commitments for development where permission has already been granted. 'White land' may be previously developed and therefore provide opportunities for redevelopment or it may be protected by other policies included in the Plan and/ or National Planning policy.
6.22 The Strategy protects areas outside the development boundary and the identified Clusters, i.e. the countryside, from development other than those uses that are essential to a rural location and which would not harm its character and appearance. The Plan emphasises national planning policy and legislation that manage development in nationally and internationally protected areas and emphasises the need to maintain Special Landscape Areas and areas of particular biodiversity or cultural local importance.
6.23 The Welsh language is part of the social and cultural fabric of Wales. There are, however, significant variations in its use across the Country. The Plan area has the highest proportion of population that speak, read and write Welsh (60% in 2011) compared with the Welsh average (14.6% in 2011). The 2011 Census recorded 65.4% in Gwynedd but between 2001-2011 the numbers were reduced by 1.1%. 57.2% of Anglesey's population can speak Welsh, but there was a reduction of 0.8% between 2001-2011. There was also a small reduction in Gwynedd in the number of areas where over 70% of the population could speak Welsh - from 41 to 40 Electoral Ward Areas in 2011. There was a reduction from 10 to 8 wards in Anglesey. Further information about the Plan area's language profile is included in Topic Paper 10 and the revised Welsh Language Profiles for each County.
6.24 The Gwynedd and Anglesey Single Integrated Plan (2014) identifies the need to ensure that the Welsh language thrives. Gwynedd's Welsh Language Strategy (2013) and Planning Policy Wales recognise that the land use planning system can contribute to sustaining and strengthening the Welsh language in communities. Subsequently, sustaining and strengthening the Welsh language is an objective within the Sustainability Appraisal (SA) framework. An iterative Welsh Language Impact Assessment (WLIA) has informed the SA. The results of the WLIA are recorded in a report of its findings, which is published alongside the Deposit Plan.
6.25 It is therefore considered necessary for the Plan to contain a specific policy to address the Welsh language. Additionally the protection and enhancement of the language within the Plan area is promoted through various policies in the Plan. The policies facilitate the type of development that can create the right circumstances to contribute to maintaining and creating Welsh speaking communities, e.g. mixture of housing (tenure and type), employment opportunities, community services and facilities. Supplementary Planning Guidance will be prepared that will expand on relevant Policies in the Plan in order to achieve sustainable communities.
6.26 The anticipated transformational economic change arising from the unique scale of major infrastructure projects on the Isle of Anglesey and the Island's Enterprise Zone status will be the biggest driver of spatial and social change over the Plan period. It is important that the Plan acts as a facilitator of economic development. This will be achieved through a policy framework that supports the principles of each Authority's Strategic Plans, the Anglesey and Gwynedd Single Integrated Plan, Employment Plans and the Anglesey Energy Island Programme.
6.27 Whilst the Plan is being produced when the Plan area is still experiencing the impact of the recession with the resultant low demand for all types of properties and land, there is strong cause for optimism within the Plan area linked to the expected substantial and unprecedented increased employment associated with the construction of Wylfa Newydd and development of other major infrastructure projects. It is anticipated that £2.5 billion will be added to the Anglesey and North Wales economy over the next 15 years. Traditional sectors are also considered important, including tourism, agriculture and the public services, especially education, and care and health services.
6.28 Delivery of Wylfa Newydd and other major strategic projects will require significant private sector investment. They will require major investments in infrastructure, bringing major economic, social and environmental opportunities, as well as challenges. The Plan has an important role in facilitating the sustainable development of these projects whilst protecting the unique culture, heritage and natural environment of the area. The Councils in partnership with Welsh Government and business organisations will promote and support sustainable economic development. In order to boost economic activity on Anglesey the Island has been identified as an Enterprise Zone. As indicated in Chapter 3, the assignment of Enterprise Zone status to the island of Anglesey complements the existing Anglesey Energy Island Programme, set up to bring high skilled jobs to the area from major energy investments and establish the island as a world renowned centre of excellence in low carbon energy generation. Nine key sites on the Island have been identified in respect of being subject to focussed support. The Welsh Government has also identified the Snowdonia Enterprise Zone, which, although located in the Snowdonia National Park, could help spread prosperity beyond the Park's administrative boundaries.
6.29 The role of the further and higher education sector is central to growing the commercial value of research for example in biological, computer, medical and ocean sciences; renewable and low carbon energy; life sciences, and food as well as improving people's skills so that they are able to make the most of employment opportunities that may develop locally in the future. Locations near to the Plan area's university and colleges, which include the proposed Menai Science Park near Gaerwen, Anglesey, have potential benefits to the local economy.
6.30 Providing the framework that facilitates development that sustains, improves, modernises and diversifies the economy will provide one of the building blocks that can contribute to sustain, strengthen or create Welsh speaking communities.
6.31 The availability of appropriate land for businesses and industry is crucial to support employment creation. National planning policy requires planning authorities to ensure that there is a range and choice of marketable sites and locations for businesses safeguarded or allocated in development plans.
6.32 The Employment Land Review (2012), which is published as a Background Paper alongside the Deposit Plan, and analysis of later information leads to the requirement to safeguard and allocate in the region of 800 ha in the Plan area, plus an additional 144.1 ha in reserve on the Island. The Plan will:
6.33 The majority of safeguarded or allocated sites are located in or close to the Centres identified in the settlement hierarchy, have good transportation links and are close to housing to reduce the need for long car based journeys and encourage walking, cycling and public transport usage. All business and industry sites that are either safeguarded or allocated in the Plan will be reviewed at least every five years to ensure there is an effective land supply in the Plan area.
Table 10: Retail Hierarchy
|Gwynedd||Sub-Regional Retail Centre||Bangor|
|Urban Retail Centre||Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Pwllheli|
|Local Retail Centre||Abersoch, Barmouth, Bethesda, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Criccieth, Llanberis, Nefyn, Penrhyndeudraeth, Penygroes, Tywyn|
|Anglesey||Urban Retail Centre||Holyhead, Llangefni|
|Local Retail Centre||Amlwch, Benllech, Beaumaris, Cemaes, Llanfairpwll, Menai Bridge, Rhosneigr, Valley|
6.35 The Retail Needs Study (2012), which is published as a Background Paper alongside the Deposit Plan, identifies the potential for additional floorspace in particular locations. Town Centre boundaries have been identified for the larger town centres listed in the network of centres as have principal shopping areas. Proposals in these centres would need to be of a scale and nature compatible with the role and function of that centre.
6.36 Long term retail requirements for the Plan area are more difficult to predict due to the future economic uncertainties of the retail market in town centres. The supply of retail floorspace will be monitored and if changes are required they will be dealt with in a future review of the Plan.
6.37 A number of development options were considered in relation to levels of housing growth and the general spatial distribution before publishing the Plan's Preferred Strategy for public consultation (May and June 2013). The Preferred Strategy set out the reasoned justification for proposing an option that was below the Welsh Government's 2008 based principal population and household projections, but slightly higher than the long term past build rates.
6.38 The formal consultation process revealed contrasting views about the preferred option (see the Consultation Report published alongside the Deposit Plan). Since the public consultation about the Preferred Strategy, the Welsh Government published its 2011 based population and household projections. Planning Policy Wales (paragraph 9.2.2) states that the Welsh Government's latest population and household projections produced for each local authority area should be the starting point for assessing an area's requirement for housing.
6.39 The public consultation findings and the latest 2011 based population and household projections for Anglesey and Gwynedd all indicate contrasting views about the level of housing growth required in the Plan area up to 2026. Therefore, additional work has been undertaken in order to ensure that the level of growth in the Deposit Plan is based on robust and up to date evidence. A record of the factors that have been considered is set out in Topic Paper 4: Describing the Housing & Spatial Growth (2013 & 2014), which in turn refers to a series of other relevant Topic Papers and Background Papers. The Process of selecting a single housing target was also informed by the Sustainability Appraisal and a Welsh Language Impact Assessment.
6.40 The basic housing requirement (the target) for the Plan area, i.e. 7,184, is based on assessment of all the evidence and is directly related to the Plan area's growth prospects and the Councils' aspirations. It is considered that linking housing requirements to wider economic prospects improves the robustness and deliverability of the Plan's Strategy. It is anticipated that it will contribute to providing an opportunity and scope to live and work in the Plan area. The level of growth reflects the impacts of the recession as well as the transformational economic prospects expected later on during the Plan period. The Plan will facilitate the development required to complement each Council's strategic plans and programmes. This should mean that the area will start to become a more age-balanced area, more independent and less reliant on outside sources of labour, with scope for reducing levels of out commuting and be on its way to becoming a sustainable and more self-contained set of communities.
6.41 To ensure that the housing supply has the flexibility necessary for the continued delivery of new housing, even if unpredictable changes to the effective land supply occur during the Plan period, a 10% slippage allowance has been added to the overall target. Therefore, the overall housing land requirement stands at 7,902 for the Plan area during the Plan period (2011 - 2026). This equates to 3,817 housing units to Anglesey and 4,084 to the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority area.
6.42 In line with the spatial strategy, up to 55% of the overall housing land requirement identified for the Plan area is directed to Bangor (the Sub-regional Centre) and the Urban Service Centres combined and at least 20% to the Local Service Centres. These are the largest settlements where there are concentrations of facilities, employment opportunities and transport options. The remainder (no more than 25%) is expected to be delivered in Villages, Clusters and the countryside.
6.43 Approximately half of the overall housing land requirement is being met from housing sites that already benefit from planning consent given under the existing development plans or under other material planning considerations. Appendix 5 provides more details about this. The shortfall will be met by windfall sites, existing buildings and new sites that have been selected to provide flexibility and choice. Chapter 7 provides more detail about this.
6.44 The economic recession has had, and continues to have, an impact on the house building industry as both house builders and potential buyers face difficulties accessing finances and mortgages. This has resulted in a lower completion rates than seen during the pre-recession period. It is therefore likely that a number of sites identified in this Plan will take longer to deliver and the timing is likely to be linked to the decision to invest in Wylfa Newydd and the success of mechanisms applied in the Enterprise Zone. It is anticipated that around 2,368 housing units could be delivered during 2011 - 2018, with the remaining being delivered in the latter part of the Plan period. The land supply will help ensure that the lack of effective housing land will not become a constraint on economic recovery.