Rhondda Cynon Taf Revised Local Development Plan 2022 - 2037 Preferred Strategy

Ended on the 17 April 2024

Mae’r ddogfen yma ar gael yn y Gymraeg / This document is available in Welsh.

Section 1 – Introduction


1.1.1 Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council (RCTCBC) are revising their Local Development Plan (LDP) for the County Borough, which will cover the period 2022-2037. The existing LDP covers the period 2006-2021 and was adopted in 2011. The Revised Local Development Plan (RLDP) will build upon the existing plan. RCTCBC recognise that the planning system, with the RLDP at its core, has a significant role to play in shaping the County Borough to ensure that it grows in a sustainable manner, whilst meeting community needs and aspirations.

1.1.2 The Revised LDP will be the statutory land-use planning document for the County Borough (excluding the area within the jurisdiction of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority) and will set out the vision for Rhondda Cynon Taf and its communities. The Replacement LDP will also set out the amount and location of new development, as well as being the basis for future development management decisions (planning applications).

1.1.3 The Council are now at the Preferred Strategy stage of the Revised Local Development Plan (RLDP) preparation process. A visual representation of the stages involved within the Revised LDP process is set out below, with the current Preferred Strategy stage highlighted in white.

The diagram outlines the stages involved in the preparation of a Local Development Plan

Rhondda Cynon Taf

1.1.4 Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) lies at the heart of the South Wales Valleys and covers an area of approximately 37,130ha (excluding land within Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority). At the 2021 census, RCT had a resident population of 237,700, which is a 1.4% increase in population since 2011 (234,000).

What is a Revised Local Development Plan?

1.1.5 The Revised Local Development Plan is a revision of the adopted LDP and will set out the vision and proposals for development within Rhondda Cynon Taf over the period 2022-2037.

1.1.6 The RLDP must be based upon robust evidence and a thorough understanding of the needs, constraints and opportunities within RCT. As such, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are required to prepare and keep an up-to-date "Evidence Base", which covers all aspects of the social, environmental, economic and cultural characteristics of the County Borough.

1.1.7 The RLDP Preferred Strategy builds upon the evidence gathered during the life of the adopted LDP (2006-2021) to determine how the current LDP has fared. This includes evidence contained within the Council's Annual Monitoring Reports (AMRs), existing policies, the Sustainability Appraisal (including Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitat Regulation Assessment) and the Review Report.

1.1.8 Further, considerable up-to-date evidence has been prepared and gathered in the formulation stages of the Preferred Strategy. Evidence base documents are referred to throughout the Preferred Strategy, as appropriate, in accordance with the relevant topic areas. This Evidence Base is publicly available material that will continue to be updated throughout the coming stages of the RLDP. The evidence-based approach will ensure the production of a plan that can deliver for RCT and will comply with the test of "soundness" at the Examination stage.

1.1.9 The RCT Revised LDP should seek to:

  • Have a clear and deliverable vision, based on sound place-making principles, embedded into local policy to facilitate sustainable development.
  • Provide a coherent strategy that reflects the aspirations of the Council, key stakeholders and our communities.
  • Facilitate growth in settlements that have identified capacity, in line with the Settlement Hierarchy.
  • Identify areas that can accommodate infrastructure and employment/housing provision, whilst simultaneously protecting RCT's distinctive built and natural environments.
  • Facilitate, in land-use terms, the objectives of the Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, the National Sustainable Place-making Outcomes, the Council's Corporate Plan and the Cwm Taf Morgannwg Well-Being Plan.
  • Utilise national policy, plans and guidance, particularly Planning Policy Wales and Future Wales, to provide a robust framework for development within RCT, which defines the role and function of places.
  • Identify how RCT will change and develop over the lifetime of the RLDP (to 2037).

Further details on the Plans and Policy context that the RLDP should accord with are provided within Section 2 of this paper.

What is a Preferred Strategy?

1.1.10 Local Development Plan Regulations 14 and 15 require all LPAs to prepare a "Preferred Strategy" which is also known as the Council's 'Pre-Deposit' proposals. The Preferred Strategy stage is prepared prior to the following stage of RLDP preparation, which is the formulation of the final Deposit RLDP, which will be the subject of an independent Examination in public.

1.1.11 The pre-deposit stage for Rhondda Cynon Taf sets out the key issues, vision/objectives and strategy options, before presenting a Preferred Strategy, which the Council will pursue. This pre-deposit stage is essentially the 'backbone' of the Revised LDP process, formally setting out the levels of growth and spatial distribution for RCT. The Preferred Strategy sets the direction for the RLDP that will allow our stakeholders and communities to provide constructive 'Representations' (comments and feedback on proposals) to inform the Deposit Plan (scheduled for publication in January/February 2025).

1.1.12 The content and process of developing our Preferred Strategy is displayed in the following diagram:

The diagram outlines the content and process of developing the Preferred Strategy

1.1.13 The RCT Preferred Strategy aims to provide realistic options that reflect our evidence, vision and objectives. RCT intends to meet the evidenced needs of the County Borough and its communities by ensuring that proposals can genuinely be delivered over the plan period (up to 2037), whilst simultaneously conforming to national policy and having due regard for relevant regional and local initiatives.

1.1.14 To reiterate, the Preferred Strategy is the first presentation of the vision and objectives, alongside the strategic growth and spatial options for RCT. It also includes those Key Sites, identified as being integral to the delivery of the RLDP. Whilst the Preferred Strategy contains many details pertaining to the ambitions for the County Borough, it does have limitations. It should be noted that the Preferred Strategy does not contain site-specific allocations or identify settlement boundaries (with the exception of Key Sites) nor does it contain a final evaluation of submitted Candidate Sites. Strategic Policies are set out in the Preferred Strategy, although it doesn't contain detailed policies. These will all feature within the Deposit Plan, scheduled for publication in January/February 2025. The Candidate Site Register is being published alongside the Preferred Strategy and indicates whether a site has progressed through to Stage 2 of the process or has been unsuccessful at Stage 1.

For instructions on how to use the system and make comments, please see our help guide.
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