Council agrees to adopt new development plan for the county borough

Following a meeting of Council earlier this week, members have unanimously agreed to adopt a Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) for Bridgend County Borough.

The Bridgend RLDP is the strategic masterplan for the county borough, that will be the basis for decisions on land-use planning. It sets out key policies and land use allocations that will shape the future of Bridgend County Borough and guide development up to 2033.

The adoption of the RLDP marks the final stage in the approval process of a planning blueprint for the Bridgend area, which has taken five years to produce and is several hundred pages long. The plan has been developed following a substantial amount of research, evidence gathering and extensive public consultation, which took on board the views of more than 1,200 representations from local people.

The RLDP was submitted to the Welsh Government and the Planning and Environment Decisions Wales (PEDW) (formally the Planning Inspectorate) for independent examination. Following a rigorous and robust public examination process, with a series of topic-based public hearing sessions taking place from 28 February to 29 March 2023, the Inspector duly considered all representations made both up to and during the hearing sessions.

The resulting, revised plan includes changes to the allocation of land at Parc Afon Ewenni, Bridgend which had previously been earmarked for residential development – this has now been dropped due to significant flood risk constraints.

The removal of this allocation gave rise to some concerns that there may be a shortfall in housing supply over the plan period, therefore, land at the Former Cooper Standard Site, Ewenny Road, Maesteg was re-designated for housing development.

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

The masterplan 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 1,700 affordable dwellings, some of which have already been built.

The Development Plan makes provision for new social and community infrastructure including 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. 

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.

Following the Council’s decision, Cllr Rhys Goode, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Regeneration, said: “Today’s move by Council to adopt the replacement Local Development Plan is extremely positive news for the county borough. It now means that we can adopt a strategic approach to planning applications for residential, commercial and leisure development that will ensure we can meet future demand between now and 2033 while also encouraging fresh investment and employment.

“The Bridgend RLDP will ensure that applications by developers are considered in a controlled and coordinated way and planning permissions will only be granted when specific, robust criteria is met. Furthermore, it is anticipated that an estimated £116m of potential private sector investment could be leveraged to support additional infrastructure improvements such as roads, schools, leisure, open space, community facilities and more, as part of future developments.

“The plan will also ensure that we meet the urgent need for more affordable homes in the county borough, with a current figure of 2,575 applicants on the Common Housing Register in the Bridgend area, we need to ensure the correct balance of development allocations between commercial and housing provision.

“I’d like to thank planning and development officers in the authority for their hard work and determination to get this masterplan over the line. It will be exciting to see how the plan will help shape the overall vision for the county borough over the next nine years.”

More information on the Replacement Local Development Plan can be found on the council’s website.