Candidate Site Assessment Methodology Consultation Draft
2. Key Principles - The Call for Candidate Sites
2.1 Site Proposers and Land Uses
2.1.1 The Call for Candidate Sites allows all parties (landowners, community councils, local organisations, etc.) to submit any potential sites to be considered for inclusion in the Replacement LDP. These will then be assessed, and a determination made as to whether each site is suitable as an allocation in the Replacement LDP for the proposed use, or not.
2.1.2 Candidate Sites will play an important role in the formulation and successful implementation of the Replacement LDP, as some of them will become the allocations that are fundamental to meeting the needs that are identified in the Plan. Submissions are invited for sites for housing, employment, and other needs, as set out below in the list of Candidate Site land uses (please note this list is not exhaustive and that mixed uses will also be considered).
Candidate Site Land Uses:
- Open Market Housing
- Affordable Housing
- Specialist Housing (including for older people and those with disabilities)
- Community Facilities
- Green Infrastructure / Open Space
- Health, Education and Social Care
- Gypsy and Travellers
- Renewable Energy
- Transport Infrastructure
2.2 Sustainability, Viability and Deliverability
2.2.1 The Powys LPA will use the Candidate Site process to gather suitable evidence from site proposers that robustly demonstrates the sustainability, deliverability and financial viability of sites. Evidence needs to be submitted by site proposers to enable the LPA to assess the following:
- That the site is in a sustainable location (as defined in Planning Policy Wales Edition 11) and can be freed from all constraints.
- That the site is capable of being delivered.
- That the site is viable.
2.2.2 The Development Plans Manual (Edition 3) suggests that the evidence submitted from site proposers to demonstrate deliverability and viability should address the following points:
- The site is in a sustainable location (in accordance with the site search sequence set out in Planning Policy Wales (Edition 11) (which has informed the LPA's candidate site assessment methodology).
- The site is available now or will be available at an appropriate point within the plan period.
- The site is generally free from physical constraints, such as land ownership, infrastructure, access, ground conditions, biodiversity, landscape, heritage, flood risk issues and pollution.
- If the site is in public ownership it is identified in a published disposal strategy, or it has been determined through Council resolution whether the land is to be retained/or sold by the Council.
- The planning history - does the site benefit from an extant planning permission, or is it identified as an allocation in the currently Adopted LDP?
- If appropriate, a clear explanation and justification of how and when any barriers to delivery can be overcome.
- That there is development potential for the proposed use. The site is generally attractive to the market (both private and/or public sector) for development at the proposed location.
- The site can accommodate the broad levels of affordable housing, other policy / Section 106 requirements and infrastructure costs as set out by the LPA.
- If there are financial shortfalls inhibiting development from coming forward, funding mechanisms are, or can be secured, to make the site financially viable.
2.2.3 To assist site proposers in addressing the points listed, the "Candidate Site Form" will contain a series of questions in relation to the above, to allow for the assessment of the site and its deliverability. The criteria contained within the submission form will be selected to enable the LPA to identify sites that are deemed suitable for further consideration and to encourage the submission of additional information where appropriate.
2.2.4 The LPA will require submitted sites to be accompanied by a Viability Assessment (see paragraphs 4.2.9 and 6.2.23). It may also request additional information such as ecological surveys, flood consequences assessments, drainage studies, traffic impact assessments, and any other evidence that may be required to demonstrate that a site is deliverable. The site proposer is responsible for undertaking any technical work (including financial costs) needed to support the inclusion of a site in the Replacement LDP.
2.2.5 To support the preparation of Candidate Site submissions, the LPA will produce an interactive constraints map. This will enable site proposers to easily identify any constraints associated with sites, and to identify whether additional information will be required as part of the LPA's candidate site assessment process.
2.3 Replacement LDP Strategy and Settlement Hierarchy
2.3.1 Planning Policy Wales (PPW) requires LPAs to prioritise the use of previously developed land in the site selection process. It also advises that new house building and other new development (retail, employment etc) in the open countryside, away from established settlements, should be strictly controlled. Candidate Sites proposed for uses, such as housing and employment, in isolated locations away from defined settlements are unlikely to be acceptable.
2.3.2 Site proposers should consider how the Candidate Sites, they are proposing, align to the Adopted LDP Strategy and settlement hierarchy in the first instance. However, as the Replacement LDP progresses, it is anticipated that there will be revisions to the LDP Strategy and settlement hierarchy which will have an impact on site selection. In this respect, the role and function of the settlement, along with its position within the settlement hierarchy and the proximity of Candidate Sites to existing settlement boundaries will also form a part of the considerations when determining the suitability of sites. In preparing the Replacement LDP Strategy, the LPA will also have regard to Future Wales: The National Plan 2040 (published 2021), particularly the location of Regional Growth Areas and the phosphate sensitive Riverine Special Areas of Conservation catchments.
2.3.3 Site proposers should also consider Future Wales: The National Plan 2040 (Policy 6) which requires that significant new commercial, retail, education, health, leisure and public service facilities are located within town centres. Such sites should have good access by public transport to and from the whole town and, where appropriate, the wider region. A sequential approach must be used to inform the identification of the best location for these developments which would need to be identified in the Replacement LDP.
2.4 Existing LDP Allocations
2.4.1 Site allocations in the current Adopted LDP that do not have an extant planning permission will need to be re-appraised through the Candidate Site assessment process. Consequently, owners / developers of existing LDP site allocations must make a Candidate Site submission to demonstrate that their site is deliverable and explain why planning permission has not been secured to date. In the absence of up-to-date evidence that an existing allocated site is available and deliverable, such sites are unlikely to be considered suitable for re-allocation in the emerging Replacement LDP.
2.5 Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) / Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA)
2.5.1 The LPA has a statutory requirement to undertake a Sustainability Appraisal and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SA/SEA) of the Replacement LDP. This will be incorporated as part of an Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA), which will also include the Health Impact Assessment, Welsh Language Impact Assessment, and the Equalities Impact Assessment. Further detail is provided in Section 6 on how and when Candidate Sites will be assessed as part of ISA, the criteria to be used is in Appendix 1.
2.5.2 The Council will also need to ensure that the Replacement LDP will have no significant effect (alone and in-combination) on the National Site Network (Habitats Regulations Assessment - HRA) during its implementation. The Candidate Site Assessment Methodology has been drafted to take into consideration Natural Resources Wales (NRW) planning guidance that requires development proposals in Riverine Special Areas of Conservation catchments to demonstrate that they would achieve phosphate neutrality or betterment.