The Committee considered the Annual Monitoring Report 2021/22 on the Adopted Carmarthenshire Local Development Plan, together with the Annual Performance Report. It was noted that the report had been prepared in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 and the Local Development Plan (LDP) Regulations 2005. The 2004 Act required each Local Planning Authority to prepare an Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) on its LDP following adoption and to keep all matters under review that were expected to affect the development of its area and incorporating information on those matters for submission to the Welsh Government, and publication on the Council’s website by 31st October each year following plan adoption. It was confirmed the report had been forwarded to the Welsh Government in compliance with the 31st October requirement.
The Committee noted the Report would be developed further as evidence and data became available ahead of its submission to the Cabinet and Council for formal approval.
It was further noted that the content of the AMR would be used to inform the preparation of the revised Local Development Plan (minute 8 below refers)
A number of questions/issues were raised on the report which, included the following:-
· In response to a question on the low generation of Hydro Electric Power within the County, the Head of Place and Sustainability advised that generally, small scale energy projects had not experienced a wide take up across Wales. However, the Council was endeavouring to increase that uptake within the county and via its own estate. The Council would also be consulting in 2023 on innovative renewable projects which would include provision of seed funding for feasibility studies
· Reference was made to the increase in planning approvals for new homes in 2021/22 and the committee was advised whilst that could partly be attributed to the impacts of the recent Covid 19 pandemic there would be other influencing factors. The same reasoning could also be applied to the increase in the provision of affordable homes which were also being promoted via a national drive and by the Welsh Government.
· On the issue of the Actif Travel, it was confirmed both the current and emerging LDP contained policies for its provision
· In response to a question on the higher vacancy rate for retail units within Llanelli compared to Carmarthen and Ammanford town centres, the Committee was advised that generally town retail centres were facing significant challenges which, in part could be credited to a desire to retain retail units. However, that position was now changing both nationally and locally, and while the new Local Development Plan would concentrate on retail provision it would also allow for a greater mix of provision within town centres
· With regard to the Local Development Order for Llanelli Town Centre, it was confirmed that had now expired and had not been as successful as anticipated for a number of reasons, one being partly due to the town centre being situated within a flood risk zone. However, if required, it could be re-introduced in the future.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report be received