A new development blueprint for Carmarthenshire is likely to be delayed by several months.
The local development plan (LDP) sets out the requirement for 8,835 new homes in the county over a 15-year period, and must be approved by the Welsh Government before it is implemented.
Carmarthenshire’s LDP was expected to be adopted at the end of next year, when the current development plan expires.
A report to the council’s executive board said a delay of at least six months was required due to the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.
It said: “Taking into account the local elections in 2022 it is likely that any extension would be seven months, consequently allowing the plan to be adopted ahead of the summer recess in 2022.”
There were concerns that Carmarthenshire would have a planning policy vacuum after the current plan expired and before the new was adopted, which the report warned could result in “undesirable forms of development” being granted planning permission.
However, it went on to say that Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, had recently updated councils to say that development plans such as Carmarthenshire’s would in fact remain the basis for planning decisions until they were superseded.
Executive board members are being recommended to approve a seven-month extension at a meeting on October 5, and request a revised delivery agreement.
Another recommendation is that council officers are given authority to make “non-substantive” amendments where necessary to improve the clarity of the revised LDP.
The aim overall is to keep delays to a minimum, and the public will be consulted as the process continues.
The new LDP will, when adopted, cover the period from 2018 to 2033, and exclude areas in Carmarthenshire within the Brecon Beacons National Park.
During this period the county’s population is expected to increase by just over 15,000.
Although a requirement of 8,835 new homes has been identified at this stage, the revised LDP provides for a 10,160-home supply to deliver the 8,835 units.
More affordable homes may be required than the proposed allocation of 1,500, depending on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the new housing is earmarked for six clusters: Carmarthen and surrounding rural areas, Llanelli and the southern Gwendraeth area, Amman and upper Gwendraeth, Teifi, upper Tywi Valley, and western Carmarthenshire.
Employment land has also been set aside to help meet the demand for an expected 5,295-plus new jobs in the county.
-- to www.walesonline.co.uk