Council calls for further and wider review of the One Planet Development Policy by Welsh Government

Pembrokeshire County Council have agreed that the Council should adopt the request by Cllr Michael Williams to write to Welsh Government to request a further and wider review of the One Planet Development policy but not to adopt the request for a moratorium on One Planet Development applications as this would be a decision for Welsh

The Report of the Director of Community Services / Head of Infrastructure 13th February 2023 considered the response to the Notice of Motion from Cllr Michael Williams made at a Council meeting of 15th December 2022.

The following Notice of Motion submitted by Councillor Michael Williams has been referred to Cabinet for consideration and determination; such motion being in the following terms:

The “One Planet Development” Policy was implemented by the One Wales Welsh Government in 2010 and sits within Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 6 – Planning for Sustainable Communities. The policy
has the commendable objective that within the lifetime of a generation Wales should use only its fair share of the earth’s resources, with its ecological footprint reduced to the global average availability of resources of 1.88
hectares per person. In principle, it’s in line with this Council’s agreement to declare a climate emergency and to commit to making Pembrokeshire Council a net zero local authority.

However, in practice is proving problematic for three specific reasons.
1. Many rural residents say the policy is being used as a way of overriding the Local Development Plan. This has resulted in considerable resentment by local people who find it difficult, if not impossible, to build a home for the younger generation on their land.

2. Tan 6 states that a new permanent dwelling in the countryside should only be allowed to support a rural enterprise which has been established for at least three years, profitable for at least one of them, have good prospects of remaining economically sustainable for at least five years and support a full-time job. Permission for an OPD application is not based on such a proven evidence base, but on a projected management plan to justify the development’s success over five years after permission is given.

3. An annual monitoring report has to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority to show compliance with the management plan. Failure to meet the terms of the management plan could result in enforcement
proceedings. However, monitoring compliance is proving problematic due to the lack of expertise in LPAs.
Therefore, Pembrokeshire County Council believes that the One Planet Development policy, although commendable in its intention when implemented ten years ago is proving flawed in practice. In view of the increased concern regarding the way in which this policy is being implemented, along with the cumulative impact of such developments, we call on the Welsh Government to review the policy and to consider a moratorium on OPD applications while such a review is held.

Councillor Williams’ written submission in support of his Notice of Motion is as follows:

Main Issues
A review of One Planet Development (OPD) in Wales 2010-2021 has recently been carried out by the One Planet Council. The One Planet Council is a voluntary body supporting One Planet Development in Wales and beyond.
The report stated that since the introduction of the policy in 2010 there has been a total of 63 applications submitted for OPD’s in Wales, of which 38 have been approved. 19 of those were located within Pembrokeshire County Council planning jurisdiction, with 9 approved locally, 8 refused, 3 allowed at appeal and 2 withdrawn. In response to the specific points raised in the Notice of Motion the One Planet Council review does not appear to consider the views of neighbouring landowners and residents in respect of OPD’s. Nor it did it consider the
differences between the OPD Policy and the requirements for a rural enterprise dwelling as set out in TAN 6. The report is clear that residents of OPD sites and OPD applicants were interviewed as part of the review
process, however it does not appear that Local Planning Authorities or local residents directly contributed to the review.

The report did consider the implications of OPD applications on Local Planning Authority’s and concluded that improvements were required to the planning process to reduce burdens on planning departments and to make
OPD more accessible to all. Whilst the findings of this review are useful and provide context around the
implementation of the One Planet Development policy, it is considered that further and wider review work is required. This review work should be undertaken by Welsh Government itself or by an independent consultancy
and should directly involve Local Planning Authorities and local communities. In particular the wider review should focus on the monitoring of OPD, how a local planning authority could be better resourced to achieve effective monitoring and the views of local residents.

In respect of the suggestion that the Welsh Government consider a moratorium on OPD applications while a review is held, such an approach should not be supported. Such a decision is for the consideration of Welsh
Government. At a local authority level a moratorium on OPD applications has the potential to place the Authority in a vulnerable position on terms of defending appeals and awards of costs for non-determination of such
planning applications.

It is concluded that the Council should adopt the request to write to Welsh Government to request a further and wider review of the One Planet Development policy but not to adopt the request for a moratorium on One
Planet Development applications as this would be a decision for Welsh Government.

Adopt in part
(i) To adopt the proposal to request that Welsh Government undertake a further and wider independent review of the One Planet Development policy.
(ii) Not to adopt the proposal for a moratorium on OPD applications, as this would be a matter for WG to consider if they commit to undertake a review.

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