Cardiff’s Local Development Plan: dead in the water?

Report by Civic Society on Cardiff Council Deposit LDP

Report by Civic Society on Cardiff Council Deposit LDP

Cardiff is in the final stages of deciding the shape of the city for the next 15-20 years seeking approval of its “Deposit Local Development Plan”. The next stage in the process is supposed to be consideration of the LDP by a WAG appointed Inspector to judge its soundness.
Into the arena steps WAG planner Mark Newey who has apparently told the council to drastically revise it!
As one of the team that helped Cardiff Civic Society submit a coruscating response, I am overjoyed that the council’s flimsy, shallow, unstrategic apology for long-term planning should be shown up for what it is: a high sounding – and perfectly commendable – vision that lacks any real evidence based delivery mechanisms. CCS found that it was ‘unsound’ on six grounds.

The Cardiff Civic Society believes that the process of developing this LDP has been followed in accordance with the guidelines: its implementation however has been unsound leading to inadequate policy formulation. Whilst the CCS concurs with the vision section of the LDP, our mapping of policy proposals onto that vision reveals patchy coverage and this leads, inexorably, to inadequate and inappropriate proposals.
We conclude therefore that the plan is unsound and thus has to be rejected in its entirety.

Mark Newey states:

There is a fundamental issue regarding the ability of the plan’s strategy to deliver the vision which presents a significant degree of risk for the authority if not addressed prior to submission stage.
“In summary, while the vision sets out a clear position to enable Cardiff to play its role as a European capital city, the LDP strategy does not deliver the council’s own vision, nor does it adequately reflect the evidence base. The degree of concern is significant.”

In an interesting presentation (Delivering Spatial Planning) that Mark Newey prepared, he set out very clearly – it seems to me – the way the new LDP process should work. It’s littered with phrases like: community consensus; interest groups; opportunities; focus not on objections but issues; addressing cross boundary issues; adapt to change; holistic evidence base; grounded in stakeholder/community involvement. I could cite many more areas he says are needed to be addressed and where CCS found that Cardiff Council had, quite simply, failed to understand, address and reach agreement.
It makes me wonder how the Council is going to get itself out of a very large hole of its own making. Will the Deposit LDP even go before the Inspector in this state in the light of the WAG objections?
I hope not.
Now, perhaps the council could get off its arrogant high-horse, and sit down with organisations like Cardiff Civic Society and create a visionary, viable, and deliverable strategy for the nation’s capital city.

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