To consider the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.
Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration & Community Services.
The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development spoke to the report which sought approval of the replacement Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy which was to be taken forward for consultation. This was a key document in the process and it set out the strategic framework for the new replacement Local Development Plan.
To build consensus on the preferred strategy extensive engagement had taken place with stakeholders including Members and all comments as part of this process would be considered.
The intention was to undertake a 6-week public consultation exercise on the Preferred Strategy, the results of which would be reported to Scrutiny and Council at a later date.
The Executive Member concluded by expressing his appreciation to officers for the work undertaken to date in respect of this plan.
The Leader of the Labour Group said that this was an excellent piece of work and paid tribute to officers for the amount of work undertaken in respect of the strategy. He concluded by endorsing the recommendation.
Settlement Classes - Primary & Secondary - a Member referred to a recent development in Tredegar where 500 houses had been built because there had been a number of suitable sites available. However, moving forward the Member said that there was a need to identify sites and areas where people wanted to live as this was a far more important aspect than the number of dwellings.
Challenge 3: Improving Education and Skills - the Member continued by referring to the Key Challenges and Drivers within the document in particular Challenge 3 – Improving Education Attainment Skills which indicated that “a high proportion of adults had no qualifications and education attainment was generally low”. He expressed his concern that this was too much of a general statement and pointed out that education in Blaenau Gwent primary and secondary schools was progressing well and this needed to be recognised.
The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development said that whilst there was a need for Welsh Government system to be holistic, the guidelines issued by Welsh Government on housing were just guidelines and all sites would be looked at across the County Borough.
With regard to educational attainment, the Executive Member reported that Blaenau Gwent had recently won a national award for its Aspire Shared Apprenticeship Programme and confirmed that there would be recognition of educational achievements/attainments included within the Local Development Plan.
Challenge 5 – Creating a Well Connected Network of Communities - a Member said that there was a need to publicise good news i.e. that the infrastructure and road links within the County Borough had and were continuing to improve.
Challenge 4 – Population Growth and Improving Housing Offer - a Member referred to the aging population within the County Borough and said that there was a shortage of bungalows in particular, to meet housing requirements. He also pointed out that there was a need to ensure developments contained a mixture of house types including social housing.
The Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development confirmed that this need had been recognised and was being highlighted and discussed with registered social landlords and private developers.
Upon a vote being taken it was unanimously,
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely the Preferred Strategy be approved for public consultation.