Many Welsh planning authorities have found that they are failing to meet the Government’s expectation that they have a five-year supply of available housing land, despite adequate unused allocations in Local Development Plans. This year the Government allowed councils to disregard the ‘considerable weight’ to be attached to this consideration when dealing with applications for unallocated sites – especially helpful where the LDP revision process is underway, as in Monmouthshire. In September the county council decided that ‘appropriate weight’ should be given to this consideration, and defined a list of ‘ground rules’ to be satisfied.
Since the beginning of August Monmouthshire CC has approved in outline or detail land for about 600 homes, 240 of which have been on unallocated land. Over 100 of the latter at Raglan were considered to satisfy the new policy despite strong counter-arguments. The county must now have a five-year supply, provided that developments proceed to detailed approval quickly. There are more applications on unallocated land to be decided, but we must hope that any substantial releases are only made via the LDP revision that will have to provide for our needs up to 2033. No doubt that will also prove controversial but at least it will be the outcome of a careful process with which all can engage.