LDP Hearings, CCS Briefing notes and letter to Cardiff Councillors

CCS and LDP

Following the conclusion of the Inspectors’ Hearings into Cardiff Council’s Deposited Local Development Plan, CCS wrote to all council members – and others – setting out the Society’s concerns. Attached to the letter was a briefing note (which contains links back to the Council’s LDP documents). You can download the note here: CCS Briefing note following LDP Hearings March 2015

Here is the full text of the letter sent 9th March 2015

The final session of the Cardiff Local Development Plan (LDP) Examination in public has now taken place. Cardiff Civic Society has attended most of the Examination sessions during which some disturbing facts came to light that all Cardiff councillors need to be aware of – hence our briefing note attached. Several issues that CCS has raised were debated during the LDP Hearings: our note covers our continuing concerns over Traffic congestion, Central Square, Enterprize Zone, Masterplanning and the Green Belt.

Of these we feel the most serious one concerns the City Council’s lack of firm proposals to address the traffic implications of the 41,000 new homes and 40,000 jobs proposed in the Plan. There are no proposals for new roads or road improvements in the LDP and the ‘Metro’ rapid transit system, which was described as ‘essential’ in 2012 is now described by the developers as ‘not required’ and a ‘long term aspiration’ only.

This should be a matter of concern to all Cardiff councillors, not just the ones representing wards that have major development sites in them. This is because the city council’s strategy relies upon actually worsening traffic congestion in the hope that this will lead to vast numbers of car drivers forsaking their private cars and walking, cycling or taking the bus to work instead.

This is a matter of concern for everyone in the city because a more likely outcome of the planned increase in traffic congestion as a result of developments in the strategic sites is that drivers will seek out alternative routes to get into and around the city, spreading congestion to all parts of the capital. There is a real danger that Cardiff will acquire a reputation for traffic congestion that will deter investment in the city and lead to a deterioration in the quality of life for its citizens.

The developers make assurances that plans will facilitate walking, cycling and bus transport but they will not say how, when and where these measures will be provided. Council officers say that such decisions will be reserved to the ‘development management process’ (ie planning applications) with the actual contributions by developers left to S106 legal agreements that will be issued after planning applications are approved.

Ward members may be aware that there is no existing formal route for involving Councillors in agreeing the content of S106 agreements. This needs to be addressed, as elected members are well placed to advise on necessary infrastructure in addition to suggesting necessary local amenities that could be financed in this way.

Although the inspectors’ report is not due for many months, several major planning applications have already been submitted on some of the ‘strategic sites’ allocated in the LDP. Some of these planning applications may be put to committee before the inspector’s report is due even though the inspector has yet to rule on their inclusion in the final Plan.
We feel therefore that councillors and the public need to be involved not only in consideration of planning applications but also in scrutinising the contents of the accompanying S106 agreements on these major strategic sites, that will be the only means of enforcing developer contributions for education, recreation and most importantly, transport.

There are currently no specific infrastructure requirements in the LDP itself, though the inspector has asked Council officers to come forward with changes to the LDP to addresses this deficiency.

Roger Tanner
David Eggleton
for CARDIFF CIVIC SOCIETY

Any comments about this please email chair@cardiffcivicsociety.org