Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) Update in light of the COVID-19

In light of the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and following the publication of a letter from the Minister for Housing and Local Government on 7th July 2020 , the decision has been made to cease the RLDP Preferred Strategy Consultation as of 20th July 2020. The letter requires local planning authorities to undertake an assessment of the RLDP evidence base, strategy and policies in terms of sensitivity to the consequences the current pandemic before progressing with plan preparation. A review of the RLDP Issues, Vision and Objectives in light of COVID-19 has already been undertaken and endorsed by Cabinet on 17th June 2020. This review demonstrated that the Plan’s Issues, Vision and Objectives and strategic direction of travel remain relevant . However, in accordance with the letter the Council will also undertake an assessment of the RLDP evidence base, strategy and policies in light of the current pandemic. This process will enable the Council to determine whether the evidence base remains relevant and appropriate to address the County’s issues, or whether any amendments/updates are required as a consequence of the pandemic.

As a result, the RLDP preparation timescale will be delayed and the Delivery Agreement will be amended to reflect a revised RLDP timetable, including the revised commencement date for the Preferred Strategy consultation which will be for a minimum 6 week period. Please note that Preferred Strategy representations that have already been submitted will be held in abeyance pending the outcome of the evidence base review process. If it is determined that the Preferred Strategy remains appropriate and relevant submitted representations will remain valid and there will be no need to resubmit representations. The Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) will also require adjustment to take account of the latest Government advice regarding social distancing to enable the Preferred Strategy community involvement events to progress. All community engagement events, Area Committee and Area Cluster meetings previously scheduled will be rearranged. Digital engagement options will also be available.

It is anticipated that the Revised Delivery Agreement (including the CIS) will be published later in 2020 for endorsement to submit to the Welsh Government for agreement. The assessment of the RLDP evidence base, strategy and policies will be reported to the same Council meeting. Following this, we will notify you of the revised Preferred Strategy consultation dates and the new consultation and engagement arrangements.

The Second Call for Candidate Sites commenced on 9th March 2020. However, in light of the Minister’s letter, candidate site submissions will not be accepted whilst we are undertaking a review of the RLDP evidence base, strategy and policies. Candidate site submissions will need to have regard to any relevant updated evidence that may emerge through this process. The Revised Delivery Agreement will set out the amended deadline for candidate site submissions (minimum of 6 weeks following the publication of the Revised Delivery Agreement) and we will notify you of this as soon as we are able. Please check the Planning Policy website for any updates.