Friday, 7 March 2008

Ceredigion Local Development Plan Candidate Site Consultation

The 'Ceredigion Local Development Plan Candidate Site Consultation' is now taking place - see this page on Ceredigion County Council's [CCC] website for more information.

It is all part of the CCC's move to a Local Development Plan [LDP], after abandoning all the work on the Unitary Development Plan [UDP] and deciding to start all over again - meaning that all the objections to development written for the UDP were wasted and have to be submitted AGAIN for the new plan (see quote below). Though of course, in the meantime many of the sites you might have objected about will have been built on... It is no wonder that people are sceptical about the benefits of getting involved in local government!

"Land currently included or which was considered for inclusion in the Unitary Development Plan does not automatically get put into the Local Development Plan. If you made the case during the Unitary Development Plan – you need to make it again now in relation to the Local Development Plan.." [From the Guidance Notes]
This latest stage is inviting people to submit sites they wish to be considered for development or other uses through the LDP. The sites identified are referred to as Candidate Sites.

The procedure is typically biased against green or open spaces - you are allowed to suggest that woods, meadows and fields should be built on and 'developed' (i.e. destroyed) for "housing, employment, retail, leisure, waste, transport"; but there isn't an option to suggest the reverse. It is as if CCC have found the perfect way of making sure that our natural local environment is continually eroded by 'development'.

Perhaps the best way forward is to look carefully at the wording. Amongst the clauses we can see the following possible sentence, which could be seen as an invitation to comment against development - since environmentalists have a definite interest in land, and their proposed 'other uses' could be for open space/wildlife habitats/green spaces:
"As part of the preparation towards preparing the Local Development Plan (LDP), the Council is inviting [...] and others with an interest in land to submit sites they wish to be considered for [...] other uses through the LDP.
You could then choose as your 'site' the whole of Ceredigion, and include the map below.

Some possible answers to the questions on the form if you wanted to go down this route:

Section 3 – Site Details
3a General

Name/Location of the Site
(Please include a map with site boundary marked in red)
Ceredigion. See map from GIS.

Nearest village or town (incl approx distance)
Contains a number of them.

Ordnance Survey Reference (e.g. SN 234 235)
The CCC’s own PlanAccess didn’t list them, but CCC should have a record of them.

Area of the Site in hectares
In CCC records, can’t find the information on the CCC website.

Is the site wholly in the ownership of the proposer?

If No, is the Landowner aware of this submission?
No. There are many involved.

Existing Use of the Site, please tick appropriate:

Agriculture  Yes.
Employment  Yes.
Domestic Garden  Yes.
Open Space/recreation  Yes.
Other (please specify below)

Proposed use, please tick appropriate:

Domestic Garden
Open Space/recreation  Yes.
Other (please specify below)  Yes.
Wildlife habitat, forest, open and undeveloped natural spaces.

Where known, please detail the nature of the proposal e.g. if residential what is the approximate number of units being proposed, if employment what type of units, if recreation is it formal or informal etc.
Wildlife habitat, forest, open and undeveloped natural spaces. Open space and recreation.

3b Accessibility

Has the site been previously built on (Brownfield)? (please tick appropriate)
Yes  Yes.
Don’t Know

If Yes, please describe the current condition of the site, e.g. derelict buildings on site, redundant buildings etc.
Many natural areas spoilt by development; remaining natural environment under threat from the same.

Would the development affect existing landscape e.g. trees, hedgerows, features? (please tick appropriate)

Yes  Yes.
Don’t Know

If Yes, please state what.
It would extend and improve on all of them, replacing what has been destroyed for roads, housing estates and retail development.

Section 4

Any other comments
Please use this space (and additional sheets where necessary) to give any additional information regarding the site, which you feel may be relevant for its consideration.
It is vital to protect Ceredigion from more development, which is destroying the rural and unique feel of the place, as well as the natural habitats for a myriad of wildlife.

Forms are available from 7 March 2008. A map of the proposed 'site' needs to be included. The closing date for representation is noon 2 May 2008.

In another twist, the council invite you to download the form and email it to them - "Alternatively you can submit your Candidate Site form and map via" - but they moronically saved it as a pdf so it impossible to edit and send online as they suggest, thereby forcing you to print it out and post it anyway. They don't seem to like making things easy for people.

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