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Bridgend

New development plan for Bridgend county moves to next stage

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A masterplan which will be used to determine what development takes place throughout Bridgend County Borough between now and 2033 has moved a step closer.

Cabinet members have agreed to refer the plan to a future meeting of full Council along with a recommendation that it be approved and submitted to Welsh Government for independent examination.

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The plan, which has taken three years to produce and is several hundred pages long, has been subject to a huge amount of research, evidence gathering and an extensive public consultation process which has taken into account more than 1,200 representations from local people.

The replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) features all of the policies that the authority will use when determining future planning applications. It sets out how land throughout the county borough can be used and which areas will be maintained as open space or designated for residential, employment, retail, waste, mineral development, community and tourism purposes.

The plan incorporates several potential development sites and includes locations at Porthcawl, Pyle, Pencoed, Island Farm and land to the west of Bridgend as well as sites identified within the town centre masterplan.

The replacement LDP proposes making enough land available to support projected increases in population, the development of 7,500 new jobs and the construction of 7,575 homes including 1,600 affordable dwellings, some of which have already been built, along with a 10 per cent flexibility allowance.

It also includes providing five new primary schools, transportation developments such as park and ride facilities for Porthcawl and the proposed Brackla railway station, extended / new park and ride facilities at Pyle, Maesteg Ewenny Road and Pencoed, and a new replacement road bridge over the railway at Pencoed.

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Under the LDP, all SINC wildlife sites and SSI scientific interest sites will be protected, and there are provisions for increasing public open space as well as the number of local allotments.

Other key developments include establishing a new passing loop and half-hour rail services to Maesteg, and bus corridor improvements in the Llynfi, Ogmore and Garw valleys, between Porthcawl and Cornelly and between Pyle, Aberkenfig and Pencoed.

Since its previous draft, several significant changes have been made to the LDP. Parc Afon Ewenny has been removed as a potential strategic housing site due to planning requirements on development within areas that are at risk of flooding, while a proposed site for gypsy and traveller accommodation on land located to the north-east of the council depot in Bryncethin has also been removed due to changes in identified need.

Elsewhere, flood prevention work carried out in Porthcawl has supported proposed regeneration development in the Salt Lake, Coney Beach and Sandy Bay areas.

Councillor John Spanswick, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The replacement Local Development Plan has been three years in the making and is the result of a huge amount of research and analysis, and I think our planning team have done a fantastic and meticulous job in preparing it for the county borough.

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“It lays out a carefully-planned balance of residential, commercial and leisure development that will ensure Bridgend County Borough can meet future demand between now and 2033 while also encouraging fresh investment and employment.

“From the feedback received through public consultation, it is clear that some residents are concerned about the potential impact additional development could have upon existing healthcare facilities, traffic levels, schools, utilities and green space.

“I want to reassure them that under the terms of the LDP, no new development can take place unless it can also deliver whatever additional infrastructure improvements may be necessary, and that this includes things like roads, schools, GP surgeries, leisure, open space, community facilities and more.”

Council Leader Huw David added: “We are in the middle of a national housing crisis and are already supporting around 200 homeless families and individuals.

“Latest census data has also confirmed that Bridgend County Borough is now one of the fastest growing areas in Wales, and that we are keeping pace with much larger areas such as Cardiff.

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“People are living for longer, and the situation is only going to get worse unless we plan ahead now and ensure that more homes can be provided to meet this rising demand.

“At the same time, we have to carefully balance residential needs against developments that support new employment and investment, and the LDP enables us to do this while taking a huge range of additional guidance and legislation into account.

“The next step now is to discuss the LDP at Council, and to then submit it to Welsh Government where it will be independently assessed as part of an inquiry presided over by a planning inspector.

“Once that process has been concluded, the draft LDP will go before a meeting of full Council for a final decision, and if approved at that point, it will serve as the new LDP for the next 15 years.”

(Lead Image: Adobe Stock)

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