A NEW Local Development Plan (LDP) which outlines where houses or industrial developments should be built over the next decade in Blaenau Gwent will be ready by 2025 a report reveals.
At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council on Thursday, January 26, councillors will look at a “revised” time table that explains the different phases the new LDP has to go through before it can be brought to fruitiion.
The current LDP was for 2006 to 2021 and should already have been replaced.
But when the Covid-19 pandemic struck in March 2020 the council were revving up work on the new LDP.
Development plans team manager John Raine said: “On advice from Welsh Government, public consultations were put on hold to take account of the legal implications of undertaking public engagement during times of Covid-19 restrictions.
“Welsh Government guidance also required the council to review the impact of the pandemic on the evidence gathering and plan preparation given the social and economic effects. ”
A revised delivery agreement (DA) was agreed by the council in September 2020 but there have been further issues getting the new LDP back on track.
Mr Raine explains that work has been hampered by “unforeseen delays” that have included staff sickness, retirements and needing to recruit new staff.
All this means a new DA timetable needs to be agreed by councillors.
Mr Raine said: “This review takes account of those delays and the outstanding
evidence base work required to prepare the deposit plan.
“As part of the review officers have met with Welsh Government officials to seek their agreement on the approach and revised timescales.”
The revised DA timetable sets out that an eight week consultation on the deposit plan, which is the council’s first draft of the new LDP, will start in the summer, earmarked to be from July to September.
The consultation responses will be analysed over next autumn and winter with a report to be prepared for April 2024.
If this is approved the new LDP will then be submitted to the Welsh Government.
This will allow the independent examination by planning inspectors to start.
This would be expected to take place around May and June 2024.
Once the inspectors report is snet back by Blaenau Gwent, the formal adoption of the plan can take place.
The council believes this can be scheduled for “early 2025.”
Mr Raine said: “The replacement LDP will update local planning policies and will help deliver the council’s regeneration and growth objectives.
“The plan will ensure that there is sufficient provision made for future housing and employment needs as well as including policies for environmental protection and climate change mitigation and will influence how communities develop to 2033.”