Agenda item

Presentation regarding the Strategic Development Plan


Members received a presentation in regards to the Strategic Development Plan (SDP).

The SDP was noted to be a statutory requirement and written into the legislation as the primary planning output of Corporate Joint Committees; it will have the same status for Local Authorities and their decision making, as the Local Development Plans (LDPs) and the Future Wales National Plan has. Officers explained that all planning applications, for Welsh Local Authorities, will need to be considered against its LDP, the Future Wales National Plan and the SDP once it had been produced; future LDPs must align and be consistent with the SDP framework. It was added that the purpose of the SDP was to move the planning agenda onto a regional basis, and tackling those issues that were cross boundary and wider than local significance.

Members were informed that there hadn’t been any substantive progress so far on the SDP, this was due to minimal budget that was set for the current of 2022/2; however, cross boundary collaboration on projects was advancing, in order to inform LDPs within the region. It was noted that the work that was currently being undertaken will provide evidence for that SDP; some of the current work projects included defining what was described in Future Wales as the ‘national growth area’ for South West Wales, and looking into future growth projections.

In addition to the above, it was highlighted that Welsh Government had produced a guidance manual on SDPs, which was currently out for consultation for informal comments; Officers were going to be providing feedback on the manual as a region. It was mentioned that there will be a full consultation on the manual in summer 2023.

The following points were noted to still yet to be agreed in terms of the SDP:

·       How to engage with Welsh Government on this matter going forward

·       The timescales of the work, having regard to factors such as resources

·       The budget of the work

·       The staff resource and management of the whole process

A discussion took place in regards to the issues and risks associated with the SDP:

·       No budget identified to deliver the SDP – subsequently there will be no work to progress it

·       No existing resources within Planning Authorities – conversations had taken place, and there weren’t any spare resource to divert from existing work streams in order to deliver the SDP

·       Staff recruitment issues – there were currently issues with recruiting and finding experience planners for Local Authorities, this will be similar for when recruiting for the SDP

·       Council’s risk going over LDP end dates – each Local Authority was working on delivering their replacement LDPs, which could clash with the work of the SDP


Officers highlighted three main points for consideration which were engagement with Welsh Government, timescale for South West Wales SDP and the budget implications, as detailed within the circulated presentation.

It was noted that over the next 12 months, there will need to be ongoing dialogue with Welsh Government around the future timescale, and the potential for future funding to be provided to assist in the delivery of the SDP; there was a lot of work that still needed to be undertaken, and clarity that needed to be obtained, and any decision taken relating to the budget will have an effect on the position of the SDP.

Concerns were raised in regards to resources and the ability to progress this work. Officers expressed that it would be important to continue the line of communication with Welsh Government in relation to this matter; the region had a good working relationship with the relevant Welsh Government Officers, and they were understanding of the position that Local Authorities were in. In addition, it would be vital to continue working cross boundary and collaboratively on the projects mentioned in the presentation.


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