Draft Delivery Agreement (March 2023)

Ended on the 20 April 2023

Part 1: Introduction

1.1. Background

1.1.1. The Swansea Local Development Plan (LDP) was adopted by the Council on 28th February 2019. The LDP sets out the Council’s planning framework for the development and use of land within the County boundary for the period up to 1st January 2026.

1.1.2. An up-to-date development plan is an essential part of the plan-led system in Wales. In line with legislation[1], the Council is required to undertake a review of the plan no longer than 4 years from its date of adoption, in effect by 28th February 2023 to ensure the LDP and supporting evidence is up to date and continues to provide a sound basis for planning decisions. In line with this requirement and the findings of the Annual Monitoring Report 3 (AMR3) for the existing LDP, a report of the review of the LDP has been prepared which concludes a full review of the LDP is necessary. This Delivery Agreement sets out how and when the full review will be undertaken.

1.1.3 Anyone who makes representations at any of the stages of the RLDP will be deemed to have given their consent and will be added to the system in order to administer their comments and for them to be adequately informed of further opportunities to participate at a later date in the process. However, if you wish your details to be removed from the system then you will be able to unsubscribe and your details will be removed for future consultations.

1.2. Purpose of the DA

1.2.1. This Draft Delivery Agreement (DA) is an important part of the Replacement LDP preparation process. In line with national guidance, the DA should be a succinct public statement containing two main parts:

  • A Timetable of the key stages of Plan preparation; and
  • A Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) which details how and when the community will be able to get involved in the plan preparation process

1.2.2. The DA is therefore a key stage in the replacement LDP process, setting out how the process will be taken forward with a particular focus on how the Council will provide opportunities for consultees and the local community to be involved in its preparation. Delivery of the Replacement LDP in accordance with the DA will be considered as part of the tests of the plan's soundness, as defined by relevant legislation, regulations and Welsh Government guidance.

1.2.3. The DA confirms how and when the Council will assess and appraise the emerging Plan throughout its production and highlights that the RLDP is scheduled to be adopted in September 2026 once the necessary adoption procedures have been concluded.

1.2.4. The DA has been prepared in accordance with Welsh Government regulations and guidance, including The Town and Country Planning (Local Development Plan) (Wales) Regulations 2015 and the Local Development Plans Manual 2020 Edn 3 (The Manual).

1.3. Stages in the Approval of the Delivery Agreement

1.3.1. The process of developing and adopting the DA will be undertaken over the following stages:

  • Prepare Draft DA incorporating CIS (This document)
  • Present Draft DA to Full Council for approval (2 March 2023)
  • Undertake a 4-week consultation on the Draft DA and Review Report (dates to be confirmed)
  • Following consultation, consider responses received and make any necessary amendment to the Draft DA
  • Present final DA to Full Council (date to be confirmed)
  • Submit the DA to Welsh Government for approval
  • Upon agreement from the WG, publish the DA on the Council's website and place for inspection at the principal offices of the Local Planning authority (currently Civic Centre)
  • During the plan preparation process, periodically review progress against the DA.

1.3.2. The approved DA will be the essential project management tool to guide the preparation of the RLDP and the LPA is committed to the stated timescales and consultation processes. Adherence to the approved or any approved revision to the DA will form part of the tests of soundness of the plan that the appointed Inspector will assess at the Examination stage.

1.4. Preparation of the Replacement LDP

1.4.1. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended by the 2015 Planning (Wales) (Act) requires the Council to prepare a replacement LDP setting out its objectives for the development and use of land in Swansea over the Replacement Plan Period (2023 to 2038) and its policies to implement them. This period allows 12 years to implement the Replacement Plan following proposed adoption in 2026.

1.4.2. In preparing the LDP, the Council will need to take account of a wide range of legislation, policies and other initiatives, at European, national and local levels of government. Under the Withdrawal Act, EU derived domestic legislation such as existing environmental regulations that implement EU Directives, which were in force immediately prior to the end of the transition period, will continue to form part of UK domestic law after 31 December 2020 until amended by new legislation. As a result, they remain relevant to the LDP preparation process. The Council will also need to consider relevant social, economic and environmental considerations.

1.4.3. In preparing the RLDP, the 2004 Act (as amended by the 2015 Act) requires the Council to have regard to:

  • Current national policies (the key national policy will include Planning Policy Wales (currently Edition 11) and Technical Advice Notes
  • Any Strategic Development Plan (SDP) for the area (though there is unlikely to be an SDP adopted before the RLDP is completed), and the National Development Framework for Wales (Future Wales – The National Plan 2040)
  • The resources likely to be available for implementing the Replacement Plan

1.4.4. In addition, the preparation of the RLDP will have regard to other key legislation including the Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act (WBFGA, 2015), the Equality Act 2010, the Environment (Wales) 2016 Act and key assessment processes including Sustainability Appraisal incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment.

1.4.5. In accordance with Welsh Government LDP Manual (Edition 3, 2020), the Council will aim to achieve the following key outcomes in the preparation of the RLDP:

  • Support sustainable development and quality places based around the National Sustainable Placemaking Outcomes, aligned with national policy (set out in PPW) integrated with an SA/SEA/HRA, including Welsh language and the requirements of the WBFGA Act 2015.
  • Be based on and underpinned by early, effective and meaningful community involvement in order to understand and consider a wide range of views, with the aim of building a broad consensus on the spatial strategy, policies and proposals.
  • Be based on a robust understanding of the role and function of an area(s) including the functional linkages to areas beyond administrative boundaries.
  • Be distinctive by having plans setting out clearly how their area will develop and change, giving certainty for communities, developers and business.
  • Be resilient to climate change (using the latest UK Climate Projections, flood risk and vulnerability assessment data) and support the transition to a low carbon society in line with the latest carbon reduction targets and budgets as set out in the Environment (Wales) Act (Part 2). The principles of Placemaking, the Sustainable Transport Hierarchy and the Energy Hierarchy as set out in PPW must be adhered to.
  • Ensure the sustainable management of natural resources in accordance with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and other relevant legislation.
  • Deliver what is intended through deliverable and viable plans, taking into account necessary infrastructure requirements, financial viability and other market factors.
  • Be proactive and responsive with plans, kept up-to-date and flexible to accommodate change.

1.5. Sustainability Appraisal incorporating Strategic Environmental Assessment

1.5.1. Sustainable development is at the heart of the development plan process. The RLDP must ensure it contributes to achieving the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being goals of Wales, as required by the WBFGA 2015.

1.5.2. The preparation of the RLDP will need to be informed by Sustainability Appraisal, including Strategic Environmental Assessment as required by European Directive 2001/42/EC and the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programs (Wales) Regulations 2004 and the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (as amended by the 2015 Act). As a matter of good practice, the SA and SEA processes have been combined into one iterative process. The integrated process will be followed for the preparation of the RLDP as was the case for the preparation of the Adopted LDP. In addition, other legislation has introduced additional assessment requirements that should be addressed as part of the plan preparation process including consideration of health and equalities impacts. Consequently, an Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) which combines the SA/SEA process with other assessments will be undertaken.

1.5.3. The ISA will ensure that the required 5 stages of SEA are incorporated into the assessment process:

Stage A – Setting the context, establishing baseline and deciding on the SA Scope and Objectives

Stage B – Developing and refining reasonable alternatives and assessing effects

Stage C – Preparing the SA Report

Stage D – Consulting on the draft plan and the environmental report

Stage E – Monitoring the significant effects of implementing the plan or programme on the environment

1.5.4. The Scoping Report for the ISA will be consulted on as part of the Pre-Deposit participation stage set out in the timetable.

1.5.5. Following this, once the ISA Framework has been scoped out and established it will be used to inform the assessment of the proposed RLDP policies and proposals. The ISA will be an iterative process and assessment reports will be prepared to inform each key stage of RLDP preparation.

1.5.6. At the outset of the ISA process, there will be an opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the ISA Scoping Report that sets out how the ISA process will be undertaken. The findings of the ISA work will be evidenced at key stages in the Replacement LDP preparation process; Reports will be prepared, and subject to consultation with stakeholders, in parallel with the Preferred Strategy consultation and Deposit Replacement LDP consultation. A Final ISA Report will be submitted along with all other Replacement LDP documentation to the Welsh Government for examination. The statutory Environment Bodies will be consulted at all the stages referred to above and there will be wider on-going dialogue with these bodies as the process proceeds.

1.5.7. The ISA will include the following stage documents:

  • The ISA Scoping Report - This will set out the current state of the environment and will identify the existing sustainability issues within Swansea to provide baseline information for assessment and monitoring through a series of Objectives and a Sustainability Framework. It will set out a review of relevant plans, policies, programmes and strategies at European, national, regional and local levels, indicating their implications for the RLDP process. This will be consulted on with statutory consultation bodies for the ISA as part of Pre-Deposit Participation as set out in the timetable.
  • The integrated Initial Sustainability Appraisal Report (ISAR). This will consider the likely effects of the RLDP Preferred Strategy, aims and objectives. It will also consider the effects of any reasonable alternative strategies. The ISAR will be published at the same time as the Preferred Strategy consultation and all stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on the document.
  • The integrated Sustainability Appraisal Report (SAR) (Environmental Report). This will consider the likely effects of the Deposit version of the RLDP. It will assess the social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts likely to arise from the policies and allocations set out in the plan. The SAR will be published at the same time as the Deposit Plan consultation and all stakeholders will have the opportunity to comment on the document.
  • The Adoption Statement. A Statement published by the Council that sets out how the ISA has been accounted for in the RLDP. The Adoption statement is published following the Adoption of the RLDP.

1.6. Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)

1.6.1. The Council must also undertake a HRA which is a separate assessment process to the ISA. HRA will inform the preparation of the of the RLDP's strategy, policies and allocations and will assess any potential impact on a designated Natura 2000 site (a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), or a Ramsar site). In accordance with the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC where a land use plan would have the potential to significantly affect a site, a detailed Appropriate Assessment is required to assess the impacts and to consider the suitability of options and mitigation measures.

1.6.2. The Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) will be prepared concurrently with the Deposit Plan and will be published with both the Deposit Plan and the Environmental Report. There are two stages of HRA of which the statutory consultation body Natural Resources Wales will be consulted:

  • Stage 1 HRA Screening – To determine whether any of the conservation objectives of any European Site could be adversely affected. This will be undertaken at an appropriate time having regard to the Preferred Strategy;
  • Stage 2 Appropriate Assessment – If the HRA screening indicates the LDP Review is likely to have significant effects, then a further level of assessment will be needed. This will assess whether the RLDP could adversely affect the integrity of one or more European sites either alone or in combination with other plans or projects. If potential adverse effects are identified the Appropriate Assessment will need to consider mitigation measures to control identified impacts.

1.7. Well Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 (WBFGA)

1.7.1. The WBFGA gained Royal Assent in April 2015. The Act aims to make a difference to the lives of people in Wales in relation to the seven well-being goals and the five ways of working. The seven well-being goals relate to 'a prosperous Wales', 'a resilient Wales', 'a healthier Wales', 'a more equal Wales', 'a Wales of cohesive communities', 'a Wales of vibrant culture and Welsh language' and 'a globally responsible Wales'. The five ways of working are long term, integration, involvement, collaboration and prevention.

1.7.2. Given that the promotion of sustainable development is a core underlying principle of LDP's, there are clear links between the RLDP and the WBFGA. A requirement of the WBFGA is that a Local Wellbeing Plan be produced, The preparation of the RLDP will fully consider the latest Well-being Plan and the Well-being assessment will form part of the ISA evidence base.

1.8. Joint Local Development Plans and Regional Collaboration

1.8.1. Collaboration is a requirement of the WBFGA (2015). LPAs are also required to demonstrate that all opportunities for joint working and collaboration on both plan preparation and the evidence base have been exhausted. This is particularly relevant where the LDPs of neighbouring authorities are on similar preparation timescales and where there are strong cross-boundary linkages. Given the plan preparation position of our neighbouring authorities in the South West Wales region undertaking a Joint Local Development Plan is not feasible.

1.8.2. However, significant cross boundary working is being undertaken currently with Neath Port Talbot and authorities in the wider region (Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park) on various evidence base studies to inform respective RLDP's. This includes a joint commission with NPT to prepare Local Housing Market Assessments for respective authorities and a joint Economic and Housing Growth Assessment for Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. In addition, the Council is part of a regional project to define the spatial extent of the Future Wales Swansea Bay and Llanelli National Growth Area to inform RLDP's for the respective authorities. Further joint working opportunities will be explored with neighbouring authorities on background work and evidence base studies as part of the development of the RLDP and any future work to inform the future South West Wales Strategic Development Plan.

1.9. Evidence Base Studies

1.9.1. There is a need to update the evidence base, including undertaking various evidence base assessments throughout the preparation of the RLDP. At this stage it is envisaged that this will include:

  • Population, Economic and Housing Growth Assessments
  • Employment Land Review
  • Local Housing Market Assessment
  • Future Wales National Growth Area Review
  • Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment
  • Strategic Transport Assessment
  • Retail Assessment
  • Urban Capacity Study
  • Settlement Boundary Review, including village assessments
  • Financial Viability Assessments
  • Infrastructure Requirements Review
  • Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Assessment
  • Green Infrastructure Assessment
  • Strategic Flood Consequence Assessment
  • Minerals and Waste Assessment
  • Welsh Language Impact Assessment and review of the Welsh Language Sensitive Area
  • 2nd Review of South Wales Regional Technical Statement for Aggregates

1.9.2. The above list is not definitive and additional evidence base requirements may emerge as plan revision progresses.

1.10. Supplementary Planning Guidance

1.10.1. The RLDP will contain the necessary range of policies to guide the development and use of land in Swansea over the plan period and to provide the basis for determining planning applications. Although Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) does not form part of the RLDP, it will be used after the Plan has been adopted to provide more detailed guidance on the way the policies may be applied, or they could take the form of local level Place Plans. Any SPG produced will be consistent with the relevant LDP and clearly cross referenced to the policies and proposals it supplements. For example, this could be on specific sites, or to cover general themes, such as open space. Since adoption of the existing LDP, a suite of key SPG have been produced and adopted in line with the SPG programme.

1.10.2. The need for new/amended SPG to support the RLDP will be considered as part of the RLDP preparation process and will be likely identified as part of the RLDP Preferred Strategy stage. The purpose of the guidance will be to supplement the policies of the RLDP and not to supersede or replace what is in the Plan.

1.10.3. Any new SPG will initially be prepared in draft form pending adoption of the RLDP. The SPG must be subject to full consultation and engagement with interested parties, be in accordance with the protocols outlined in the CIS as set out in Part 3 and all responses will be considered before it is finalised. This will ensure that the SPG may in due course be treated as a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications or during appeals.

1.11. Independent Examination and Tests of Soundness

1.11.1. The Local Planning Authority will submit its Deposit RLDP, associated documents and representations to WG for consideration of its "soundness" by a WG appointed independent inspector at an "Examination in Public." A straightforward interpretation of whether a plan is 'sound' in guidance is that the plan 'shows good judgement' and is 'able to be trusted'.

1.11.2. The LPA will need to demonstrate that the plan meets the following three tests of soundness as set out in the Development Plans Manual:

Test 1: Does the plan fit? (i.e., is it clear that the LDP is consistent with other plans?

Test 2: Is the plan appropriate? (i.e., is the plan appropriate for the area in the light of the evidence?)

Test 3: Will the plan deliver? (i.e., is it likely to be effective?)

1.11.3. The Inspector will have regard to the evidence submitted with the Plan and the representations received at the Deposit stage in order to determine whether the Plan meets the above soundness tests. Following the examination the Inspector will prepare a report, which sets out their findings together with any changes they consider, are necessary to make the plan 'sound'. The conclusions by the Inspector are binding on the authority and unless the Welsh Government intervenes, the Council must accept the changes and adopt the RLDP. If the Inspector considers the plan fundamentally unsound then the plan would not be recommended for adoption.

[1] Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (Section 69(1) and LDP Regulation 41(1)

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