2. Developing the Economy

2.1.

INTRODUCTION

2.1.1.

This chapter seeks to address four key issues: the development of an innovative, high value local economy; the diversification of the rural economy; the realisation of the tourism potential of the County; and strengthening the role of the City Centre as the regional shopping capital. The aim is to regenerate the area to act as the economic driver for the revitalisation of South West Wales. The economic growth goal identified in Part 1 is:

Goal 2

Help promote the sustainable growth of the local and regional economy.

2.2.

JUSTIFICATION OF PART 1 STRATEGIC POLICIES

2.2.1.

In preparing the broad vision and aspirations for development, which are set out in Part 1, high priority is placed on raising economic prosperity in the region. Swansea has a significant role to play in this respect, with the Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) recognising it as the regional capital of South West Wales and both a driver for growth within the Swansea Bay area and a catalyst for developments further west. The UDP seeks to identify the enabling infrastructure and developments needed to implement strategies aimed at raising prosperity levels. These strategies include the WSP, A Winning Wales, the Property Strategy for Employment in Wales (2004-2008), and the South West Wales Regional Economic Framework.

2.2.2.

The Part 1 strategy has been developed in accordance with current national planning guidance and with the regional planning guidance adopted by the South West Wales Strategic Planning Group in April 2000. Account has also been taken of the importance of integrating with a number of other strategies formulated by the Council and other agencies. In particular the UDP is intended to support the Council’s emerging Economic Regeneration Strategy, and the Joint Regeneration Initiative (JRI) with the former WDA (now WAG). The JRI seeks to deliver wider regeneration aspirations through the coordination of physical development, community regeneration and business development and support functions. As such, economic regeneration will be pursued in a more holistic and integrated manner than has sometimes previously been achieved. There are four defined themes within the JRI - City Centre Regeneration, Waterfront Regeneration, Strategic Employment and Supporting Communities. The following strategic activities are seen

  • Develop Felindre as a high quality business park.
  • Develop SA1 and Swansea Vale as high quality mixed use strategic development locations.
  • Develop Swansea West Industrial Park as a strategic development location.
  • Identify a number of local development sites to meet local employment needs.
  • Strengthen of the role of the City Centre as the key driver and economic hub of the regional economy (Chapter 6:City Centre Action Area refers).
  • Support the regeneration of district and local centres.
  • Promote further improvements and developments at appropriate locations around Swansea Bay.
  • Recognise that strategic employment sites in the wider Swansea Bay area, such as Llandarcy Urban Village and Baglan Energy Park, will be important contributors to the County’s economy.
  • Undertake the comprehensive regeneration of the Tawe Riverside Corridor.
  • Promote the provisions of the waterfront masterplan for Swansea Bay that emanates from the WSP, particularly with regard to land and development opportunities south of Fabian Way to the east of SA1.
2.2.3.

Retailing has a key role to play in achieving the goal of sustainable economic growth. In this respect it is necessary to control the direction of retail growth and sustain the vitality and viability of existing centres, particularly the City Centre, by:

  • Strengthening and improving the City Centre as the primary regional shopping destination, by giving first preference for new retail development.
  • Sustaining and improving District and Local Centres.
  • Encouraging small scale shopping developments to meet local community needs.
  • Resisting additional out-of-centre/town retail development proposals to safeguard the shopping hierarchy of the Swansea Bay area
2.2.4.

In addition to those activities covered by the JRI, rural diversification and tourism also form key elements of the Part 1 strategy, with the latter worth over £230m a year to the local economy. The tourism potential of the County is enormous, in view of its unique coastal location and diverse natural landscape. The priority areas for this element of the strategy are:

  • Extend, diversify and improve the quality of the tourism attractions and accommodation base.
  • Develop sustainable tourism initiatives and improve the quality of existing facilities in coastal and countryside locations.
  • Improve the quality of caravan and camping sites and reduce their intrusiveness in the landscape along the Gower coast.
  • Promote sustainable rural employment schemes, so as to assist in the process of rural income diversification.
2.3.

INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS LAND AND PREMISES

Objectives

  • To ensure the availability of a high quality and diverse portfolio of sites and premises to meet the needs of economic growth sectors (2.a)
  • To develop Swansea as a major Waterfront City capitalising on the opportunities provided by SA1 (2.b)
  • To improve and revitalise existing industrial and commercial areas (2.c)
2.3.1.

These objectives are to be pursued by ensuring that there is a sustainable range and choice of sites available for employment generating development and by enhancing the development and investment potential of existing industrial and business areas. PPW (Section 7.4) also encourages a shift towards a green economy. Accordingly the Council will support the development of clusters of industrial and commercial uses that have the potential to derive environmental benefit from co-location.

2.3.2.

Sufficient employment land must be allocated in the UDP to meet the growth needs of the local economy. Accordingly land is allocated to meet the needs identified in the emerging Economic Regeneration Strategy, with sites being categorised in line with the Property Strategy for Employment in Wales (PSEW), 2004-2008. The PSEW categorises development locations by the type of uses they should attract and the quality of sites, on the following basis:

  1. Strategic Business Park - Use Classes* B1 and B2 high tech manufacturing, high level services and emerging industries, such as multimedia and biotechnology.
  2. Strategic Mixed-Use Sites - B1 including emerging industries and research and development.
  3. Strategic Sites - B1, B2, B8 and Sui Generic uses, including mainstream manufacturing and processing industries.
  4. Local Sites - predominantly lower order B2, B8 and Sui Generic uses, although there will be instances where B1 offices are appropriate.

NB: * Use Classes are defined in the Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1997, which is summarised in Appendix 10.

2.3.3.

There are no Simplified Planning Zones (SPZs) identified or proposed within the UDP, however the Council will keep under review the desirability of introducing such a scheme for part or parts of the County.

GENERAL EMPLOYMENT SITES

POLICY EC1

Employment land is allocated at the following locations to meet the growth needs of the local economy:

 

ha

Strategic Business Park

1

Felindre

190

Strategic Mixed Use Sites

2

SA1

18

3

Swansea Vale

25

Strategic Sites

4

Swansea West Industrial Park

60

Local Sites

5


Docks

34

6

Swansea Enterprise Park

14.2

7

Bryngwyn Works, Gorseinon

3

8

PLayers Estate, Clydach

2.5

9

Garngoch Industrial Estate

5

10

Land at Bryntywod, Felindre

15.8

11

Crofty Industrial Estate

4

12

Penllergaer Business Park (no B8)

8.2

 

Total

379.7

 

Main Cross References: SP1, SP3-5, EV1-6, EV25, EV32-41, EC2- 3, EC7, HC17, R9, R11-13, R15-17, AS1-2, AS5-7, AS12.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TANs 5, 12 and 18, draft TAN 5

SPG: Felindre – Land For Large Scale Inward Investment; Fforestfach II Area Action Plan (Swansea West Industrial Park); Swansea Enterprise Park Planning Policy; Swansea Vale Development Strategy; Swansea Vale Central Business Park; Swansea Vale Riverside Business Park Development Brief; Swansea Vale Ecology Strategy; Swansea Vale Urban Design Strategy; Swansea Vale Landscape Strategy; Port Tawe and Swansea Docks; Crofty Industrial Estate Action Plan; A Landscape Strategy for Swansea East and Neath West; Swansea West Industrial Park Development Potential Study (forthcoming); Promoting Swansea's Natural Environment: A Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan; Felindre Strategic Business Park Development Strategy

2.3.4.

Amplification

An explanatory comment is given for each employment sites as follows:

(1) Felindre

Felindre is a strategic employment site of regional significance and a major opportunity in the revitalisation of the local economy. The site comprises 90ha of brownfield land and 100ha of greenfield land within the ownership of the Council and WAG. In terms of its size, location and dedicated motorway access, the site is unique in Wales, and possibly the UK. As well as being of regional significance, the development of Felindre is a major component of Swansea’s regeneration aspirations and complements the portfolio of more general employment sites within the County and across South Wales.

The Council adopted the Felindre Strategic Business Park Development Strategy (FSBPDS) in April 2006, which provides clear direction for the future development and management of the site. The Strategy emphasises that the promotion of a Strategic Business Park at Felindre aims to provide a high level, high quality business park for B1 and B2 uses that will support emerging industries and high technology enterprises. It also makes clear that the greenfield land will only be released following the development of the brownfield element and provided that there is a strategic employment justification. It is not anticipated that the greenfield land will come forward during the plan period and is accordingly identified as contingency employment land on the Proposals Map.

(2) SA1

SA1 is a high profile and prestigious mixed-use development, which includes elements of housing, commercial, cultural and high-grade employment in Use Classes B1 and B2 (see Policy EC2).

(3) Swansea Vale

The employment areas of the Swansea Vale mixed use development are intended to be used for high-grade employment in categories B1 and B2. Only a small area in the northern sector of the Central Business Park is acceptable for B8.

(4) Swansea West Industrial Park

It is anticipated that the Industrial Park will be fully developed in the short term. Accordingly, land between Alcoa/Timet and the Industrial Park, south of the Afon Llan is allocated for B1, B2, and B8 uses to meet Swansea’s economic growth needs. An area of contingency land has been identified at Keeper’s Lodge Farm, which will only be released for development if a strategic employment need can be demonstrated. The need to allocate further employment land at this location and the possibility of creating a new road in order to improve access to the area will be investigated as part of a development potential study for Swansea West Industrial Park. Any such investigation will need to have full regard to the environmental impact of such development.

(5) Docks

The Docks are owned and managed by Associated British Ports (ABP) and make an important contribution to the industrial infrastructure of the City. The remaining operational docks and general industrial side of the port provides opportunities, primarily around the Kings Dock and Queens Dock, for B1, B2 and B8 uses.

Development within the area is technically constrained by a notified hazard safeguarding zone around the BP sphere. This installation is in the process of being removed and the Council is negotiating with BP to rescind the hazardous substance licence, until which time the zone must remain on the Proposals Map.

Port related activities within the operational docks are exempt from planning control. However some land to the eastern side of the docks alongside Fabian Way, which is one of the main approach corridors and a key gateway to the City, has been disposed of by the docks operators. Planning control exemptions do not therefore apply, and within this sensitive area the Council will seek substantial environmental improvement. Care will need to be taken to minimise the visual and physical impact of any proposed land uses/developments and to ensure the proposed canal route corridor is safeguarded and an attractive frontage is created for it. Development that would compromise the potential redevelopment of adjoining areas will not be supported.

There is potential for further releases of land within the Queens Dock for development other than port related activities. The WSP emphasises that the revitalisation of significant brownfield sites in this coastal location should be delivered with the benefit of a waterfront regeneration masterplan for the wider Swansea Bay area. The Council will contribute to the formation of this masterplan on a joint basis with adjoining authorities and relevant partners, to provide a suitable development framework against which to consider future proposals for redevelopment. Any proposals to alter the water level within the Prince of Wales Docks will be carefully assessed via the Habitats Regulations as there is a direct hydrological link between Crymlyn Bog SAC and the Kings and Queens Docks and Tenant Canal.

(6) Swansea Enterprise Park

There are a range of opportunities for additional employment development within Swansea Enterprise Park. Land is allocated at a number of sites throughout the Park, where development proposals should have regard to established uses and relevant SPG.

(7) Bryngwyn Works, Gorseinon

The 13ha Corus Plant at Bryngwyn, Gorseinon, closed in June 2001. Planning permission has been granted for mixed use redevelopment of the site, comprising housing, community enterprise centre (including learning/training facilities, crèche, cafe, shop, exhibition space, offices, conference facilities and play space), employment development (within Use Classes B1, B2 and B8), new roads, landscaping and other ancillary uses and development.

(8) Players Industrial Estate, Clydach

2.5ha. of land is allocated for employment uses at two sites within the Players Industrial Estate, Clydach. B2 and B8 uses are considered most appropriate at this location.

(9) Garngoch Industrial Estate

Land fronting Phoenix Way at Garngoch Industrial Estate is allocated for suitable light/general industrial uses and warehousing to capitalise on the infrastructure investment at the Estate. Development south of Phoenix Way will be heavily landscaped on its southern boundary.

(10) Land at Bryntywod, Felindre

15.8ha. of land at Bryntywod has been designated for B1, B2, B8 uses. It is envisaged that development at this site will capitalise on its excellent road links and potential benefits of close proximity to the Felindre strategic employment site.

(11) Crofty Industrial Estate

The Industrial Estate lies within close proximity to the Burry Inlet and Loughor Estuary SSSI, Carmarthen Bay and Estuaries SAC and Burry Inlet SPA. Development at this location must have suitable regard to the environmental sensitivity of the surrounding environs.

(12) Penllergaer Business Park

The main part of this site is retained as a contingency land for expansion of the International Rectifiers plant.

2.3.5.

SA1 SWANSEA WATERFRONT

SA1 Swansea Waterfront is a key element in the Council’s strategy for the regeneration of Swansea as a vibrant and distinctive Waterfront City. It comprises approximately 40ha of former dockland on the eastside of the City, which is rapidly being transformed into a prestigious and regionally significant mixed use development.

2.3.6.

The site has a prominent frontage onto the A483 Fabian Way, which is matched by an exceptional waterfront profile. Redevelopment at this location will fundamentally change the image of the eastern approach to the City and, in conjunction with the established Maritime Quarter, will raise the profile of Swansea's waterfront focus, strengthen the City Centre and contribute to the area’s tourism portfolio.

POLICY EC2

A major redevelopment area is identified at SA1 Swansea Waterfront for mixed employment and residential development together with supporting leisure, tourism, community uses and ancillary services.

The development of the site should:

  • Be comprehensive,
  • Integrate with the Maritime Quarter,
  • Complement and not compete with the City Centre,
  • Be of a high standard of design,
  • Embrace principles of sustainable development,
  • Provide high quality employment opportunities,
  • Increase the range of housing choice,
  • Make appropriate provision for a network of pedestrian and cycle routes, and
  • Safeguard the potential canal route corridor.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP4-5, EV1-5, EV15, EV25, EV32-41, EC1, EC15-16, HC1, HC18, R9, AS1-2, AS5-7, AS12.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TANs 12 and 18

SPG: Port Tawe and Swansea Docks

2.3.7.

Amplification

A robust and comprehensive policy context for considering proposals within SA1 Swansea Waterfront is set out in adopted SPG. This guidance has been augmented by an outline planning consent for the site and a Design and Development Framework prepared by the former Welsh Development Agency (now WAG). Together these make clear the broad characteristics and objectives that development within the site must adhere to, emphasising the importance of high quality design and principles of sustainable development. Development of the site will need to be comprehensive in land use and urban design terms, with the aim of achieving a suitably integrated mix of land uses, rather than a disjointed collection of unrelated development. Additionally, development proposals will not be supported where they would undermine the attractiveness, vitality or viability of the City Centre.

2.3.8.

It is important that the redevelopment of SA1 is suitably integrated with adjoining areas, particularly the existing Maritime Quarter and retained commercial docks. Development within these areas must be compatible with existing land uses and not inhibit redevelopment proposals and strategies.

2.3.9.

A programme of infrastructure work is planned with a view to bringing the dock into use as a major marina facility. The SPG and Development Framework provide detail on the use of water areas within the Prince of Wales Dock basin, including the type of uses and activities that are envisaged. Any proposals to alter the water level within the Prince of Wales Docks will be carefully assessed via the Habitats Regulations as there is a direct hydrological link between Crymlyn Bog SAC and the Prince of Wales Dock and Tennant Canal.

2.3.10.

The development of an integrated regional waterway, based on the 35 miles of Neath, Tennant and Swansea Canals and linked via the Docks and Swansea Basin, is considered a unique tourist and recreational opportunity within the area. Development within SA1 will be required to safeguard the route linking the Tennant Canal to the Prince of Wales Dock and Tawe Barrage basin.

ESTABLISHED INDUSTRIAL AND COMMERCIAL AREAS

POLICY EC3

Improvement and enhancement of the established industrial and commercial areas will be encouraged where appropriate through building enhancement, environmental improvement, infrastructure works, development opportunities and targeted business support.

Development at established industrial and commercial areas for non-business uses will not be permitted where proposals unacceptably limit the range and quality of sites available for employment development.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP4-5, EV1, EV3, EV15, EV25, EV32, EV35, EC1.

National Planning Guidance: PPW

SPG: Crofty Industrial Estate Action Plan; Morriston Area Action Plan; Landore Commercial / Industrial improvement Area Action Plan; Fforestfach Industrial Improvement Area Action Plan; Morfa Road Industrial Improvement Area Action Plan; Morriston Gasworks Industrial Improvement Area Action Plan; High Street/Wind Street Action Plan

2.3.11.

Amplification

It is the policy of the Council to improve the environment and protect and enhance job prospects within established industrial and commercial areas. There is a programme of designating industrial and commercial renewal areas within which grant aid can be provided for building improvement as well as other works. The Council may also resolve to directly undertake infrastructure improvements on certain sites. In conjunction with its partners, the Council will pursue an holistic approach to the regeneration of established business centres, including support for property improvement, infrastructure works, environmental enhancement, business support and development opportunities.

2.3.12.

Established industrial and commercial areas within the County can perform an important function in meeting the Council’s economic development needs, and contribute towards maintaining a diverse portfolio of land for employment generating development. Redevelopment and/or change of use proposals for these areas to non-business uses will need to be justified in terms of how they contribute to serving Swansea’s economic regeneration objectives. Non-business uses in the context of this policy include proposals for retail, leisure and residential development. The Council will resist the loss of those established industrial and commercial areas that it considers form a valuable asset within the Council’s employment land supply.

2.4.

RETAILING

Objectives

  • To reinforce and improve the City Centre as a vibrant regional focus for business and administration, shopping, culture and leisure (2.d)
  • To improve the range, choice and quality of shopping opportunities accessible for all sections of the community and visitors to the area (2.e)
  • To resist further out of centre/town retail development (2.f)
  • To support development at accessible and safe locations (5.a)
  • To reduce the need to travel and reduce reliance on the private car (5.b)
2.4.1.

Retailing is a major industry within the County, providing widespread employment opportunities (an estimated 15,400 jobs) and underpinning commercial activity within the City, district and local centres. Shopping behaviour has a significant bearing on the vitality and viability of centres, the quality of community life and travel patterns. Most established retail centres are well located in relation to the populations that they serve and will be supported as the most appropriate locations for future retail development. Maintenance of the existing retail hierarchy and the provision of improved shopping opportunities, that are accessible to all, are primary objectives.

2.4.2.

The UDP policies focus on enhancement of the City Centre’s regional shopping role and offer, particularly in terms of securing high quality redevelopment and refurbishment opportunities, along with the development of appropriate new and improved shopping facilities in district and local shopping centres and in areas of deficiency. Directing development to these locations provides an opportunity to reduce the need to travel by car and the length of shopping trips. Developments that pose a threat to the vitality, viability or attractiveness of established shopping centres will be opposed.

2.4.3.

Promotion of the retail sector’s development within the City Centre is seen as being crucial to the regeneration of the central shopping area as an attractive and vibrant place within which to work, live and spend leisure time. A revitalised City Centre is a key objective of the Wales Spatial Plan and critical to the fulfilment of Swansea’s role as a driver for economic growth within South West Wales.

2.4.4.

Whilst retailing is the dominant land use within the City Centre, in terms of unit numbers its share has declined from 61% in 1991 to 48% in 2005. In September 2005 there were 324 occupied retail units and 4 major department stores trading within the City Centre. There were 84 vacant ground floor units (11.3% of all units) with an estimated gross floorspace of 20,500sq m. [Source: City and County of Swansea Occupier Survey].

2.4.5.

Parc Tawe Phase 2, which opened in 1997, was the last significant retail scheme to be completed in the City Centre. Investment in retailing has been attracted more recently towards the modern, superstore based district centre at Parc Fforestfach and out-ofcentre locations at Swansea Enterprise Park and Morfa. The UDP seeks to redress this trend, and to re-direct investment back towards established shopping centres and the City Centre in particular. Policy EC4 supports the sequential approach to the identification of new sites for retail development and improvements to the shopping environment and retail mix.

2.4.6.

A Retail Capacity Study undertaken for the Council by Roger Tym and Partners (2005) suggests that over the life of the UDP there is likely to be little quantitative need for the development of any additional convenience goods floorspace within the County. However, it points to the potential scope for an additional 16,350 sq.m. of net retail floorspace for comparison goods within the City Centre by 2011 and 35,550 sq.m. by 2016.

2.4.7.

For the purposes of the following policies: vitality is defined as the levels of activity throughout a centre at different times of the day; viability is defined as the ability of a centre to attract investment, not only to maintain its fabric but also to support improvements and adapt to changing needs; attractiveness relates to the appeal of a centre to shoppers in terms of retail representation (i.e. the number, range, type and size of shops), ease of accessibility, the general attractiveness of the shopping environment and range of complementary facilities such as leisure developments. Need is to be interpreted as relating to deficiencies in local retail provision. Impact on vitality and viability is to be measured in accordance with national planning guidance set out in Planning Policy Wales and TAN4: Retailing and Town Centres. The references to ‘town centres’ throughout the Plan is reflective of terminology used in the Ministerial Interim Planning Policy Statement (MIPPS) on Planning for Retailing and Town Centres (02/2005) and, for the avoidance of doubt, includes Swansea City Centre.

NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

POLICY EC4

The acceptability of all retail development proposals will be assessed against the need for the development, where this is relevant to determination.

New retail development will also only be permitted where:

  1. The proposed site is the most sequentially preferable option,
  2. There would be no material adverse impact upon the attractiveness, vitality and viability of the City Centre and other established shopping centres,
  3. The proposal is compatible with the function, scale and character of the centre within or adjacent to which the site is located,
  4. THe site isaccessible by foot, bicycle, public transport and car, and
  5. The scheme satisfactorily addresses design, environmental and highway considerations.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP6, SP14, EV1-10, EV13-15, EV35-36, EV39, EC5-9, ECNR, R16, AS1-2, AS5-7, CC1-2, CC4, CC6-7.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN4; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG: City Centre Non Retail Use Policy; Parc Melin Mynach Development Brief; Swansea City Centre Strategic Framework (forthcoming); St Davids/Quadrant Area and Paxton Street/County Hall Area Development Brief (forthcoming); and Parc Tawe Development Brief (forthcoming)

2.4.8.

Amplification

Retail development in the context of Policies EC4-EC9 includes any proposals that will introduce new retail floorspace, including: redevelopment; expansion (including mezzanine floors where permission for this is required); subdivision; changes to Use Class; and the variation of planning conditions.

2.4.9.

Specific policies for retail development within the City Centre are set out in Chapter 6 ‘City Centre Action Area’. Policy CC2 in particular emphasises that new retail proposals within the City Centre will be supported where they improve the quality, variety and type of shopping facilities in the retail core.

2.4.10.

The City Centre, district centres and local centres will be promoted as the best locations for new shopping provision at an appropriate scale, in the interests of sustaining a successful retailing sector that will support local communities. Outside these established centres, consideration of the need for additional retail provision will be the starting point for determining proposals. New retail development will not be permitted unless the proposed site satisfies the sequential approach to selection, as set out in national planning guidance. This requires developers to demonstrate that all potential town and district centre options, and then edge of centre sites, have been thoroughly assessed, before proposals at out-of-centre locations are considered. This will require an innovative and genuinely flexible approach by developers to the format, design and scale of new retail schemes.

2.4.11.

The criteria set out in Policy EC4 will also apply to retail development proposals considered against Policies EC5 to EC9.

2.4.12.

DISTRICT SHOPPING CENTRES

The County supports a wide range of District Shopping Centres that are well placed to serve the main concentrations of the resident population. District centres are an important part of the retail hierarchy and are significant to the social and economic fabric of community life, meeting the needs of local residents for most day-today shopping purchases and helping to support other essential services. The development and enhancement of these centres, particularly in areas of proposed residential growth, will help to sustain communities, reduce the overall length of car journeys and provide essential shopping facilities to meet the needs of less mobile persons within the community.

POLICY EC5

Developments of an appropriate type and scale that maintain or improve the range and quality of shopping facilities within designated district centres will be encouraged, along with improvements to the physical environment and the accessibility of such centres for public transport users, cyclists and pedestrians.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP6, EV1-5, EV13-14, EV40, EC4, ECNR, EC7-8, EC10, HC18, AS1-2, AS5-6.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN4; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG: Parc Melin Mynach Development Brief; Oystermouth Square Development Brief (forthcoming)

2.4.13.

Amplification

Designated district shopping centres consist of two types – traditional and modern. Clydach, Gorseinon, Killay, Morriston, Mumbles, Pontarddulais, Sketty, and Uplands are traditional district centres. Parc Fforestfach is a modern superstore-based district shopping centre that caters primarily for car borne shoppers.

2.4.14.

For the purposes of this policy, developments of an appropriate type and scale are defined as those that: are compatible with the type and scale of existing outlets; are in keeping with the function and character of the centre within which they are proposed; and have no significant adverse impact on the amenities of those living within or adjacent to the centre.

2.4.15.

Within district shopping centres, proposals for the introduction of non-retail uses will be considered on their merits in relation to the criteria specified in Policy ECNR, and other relevant planning policies. Proposals for uses other than Class A1 will only be permitted where they would not have a detrimental impact on the shopping role and character of the centre and would not adversely affect the vitality, viability or attractiveness of the centre or surrounding centres, or the amenity of nearby residents

2.4.16.

Within traditional district shopping centres the conversion of shops or other commercial units at first floor level to residential use can, in some instances, support retail facilities and assist regeneration initiatives. At ground floor level, proposals for changes of use from commercial to residential will only be supported on the fringes of existing centres where such development would help to consolidate the retail core and reinforce the vitality and viability of the centre.

2.4.17.

LOCAL SHOPPING CENTRES AND NEIGHBOURHOOD FACILITIES

Local Shopping Centres, small parades, corner shops and village stores, all play an important role in meeting day-to-day shopping needs and contribute to community life. Such facilities are especially important for elderly and disabled persons and families with young children, particularly in areas of deprivation where residents may experience difficulties in gaining access to services elsewhere.

2.4.18.

The provision of local shopping facilities in many urban housing areas is poor and the decline of provision in rural areas poses a problem for many communities, for whom Post Offices and farmshops are playing an increasingly important role. Areas of accepted local shopping provision deficiency currently exist within Loughor, Mayhill/Townhill, Penllergaer, St.Thomas/Danygraig, and West Cross/Mayals. Assessments of these and other local shopping centres are being prepared with a view to developing action plans for their regeneration.

POLICY EC6

The provision of appropriate small-scale local shopping and neighbourhood facilities will be encouraged within local shopping centres and in areas of acknowledged deficiency in order to meet local need.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP6, EV1-3, EV13-17, EC4, ECNR, EC8-9, AS1, AS6.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 4; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG: Shopfront Guidance, Design, Signage and Security Measures; Local Shopping Centre Action Plans (forthcoming)

2.4.19.

Amplification

For the purposes of this policy, small-scale embraces individual retail developments up to a maximum of 1000 sq.m. gross. Proposals for retail schemes in excess of 1000 sq.m. within local shopping centres will not be permitted where they are considered to have a significant adverse impact on the function and/or character of the area.

2.4.20.

Wherever possible, proposed new facilities should be integrated with existing shopping centres. In areas of deficiency, where no local shopping provision currently exists, new facilities should be located centrally to the areas they are intended to serve and easily accessible by foot, bicycle and public transport.

2.4.21.

NON-RETAIL USES IN SHOPPING CENTRES

The vitality, viability and attractiveness of shopping centres is not solely dependent upon their retail offer. An appropriate complementary mix of non retail uses within centres can provide valuable services and facilities that increase footfall, help sustain active frontages and bring wider benefits for the community and visitors. However, an over supply of non A1 shop units and their establishment at inappropriate locations, can be detrimental to the character and shopping role of primary retail frontages, streets and centres

POLICY EC NR

The acceptability of proposals for non-retail uses at ground floor level within shopping centres will be determined having regard to:

  1. The relationship of the proposal to other existing or approved non-retail uses within the centre,
  2. The affect upon the primary retail function of the centre, either individually or in combination with other non-retail uses,
  3. The nature of the shop front and window display that would be introduced,
  4. Whether, and for what period of time, the premises has been genuinely marketed for retail use,
  5. The likelihood of the unit remaining vacant for a significant period of time,
  6. The location of the site and/or unit relative to the established primary shopping area and important shop units, and
  7. The overall impact upon the vitality, viability and attractiveness of the centre.

Main Cross References: SP6, EV1-3, EC4-6, EC9, CC1-4

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 4, MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 4, MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

2.4.22.

Amplification

Proposals for non-retail uses that would undermine the vitality, viability or attractiveness of an established shopping centre will not be permitted. Shopping centres in the context of this policy encompasses the City Centre as well as the numerous district and local centres that are established across the County. Proposals for sites within the City Centre retail core will also be determined with reference to Policy CC2.

2.4.23.

Primary shopping streets are best characterised by a high proportion of shops at ground floor level and, as such, non-retail uses will not be allowed to dominate these areas in a way that undermines the retail function of the centre. In determining the acceptability of nonretail proposals at ground floor level, the Council will assess the effect that the proposed scheme would have upon the relevant retail frontage.

2.4.24.

In the interests of protecting the retail structure of shopping centres, non-retail uses at ground floor level within primary shopping streets will be refused where this would lead to a localised concentration of such uses. It is important to maintain a critical mass of shopping units within a legible, contained area in order to sustain the viability and attractiveness of a centre. Similarly, it is desirable that important shop premises and units sited in visually prominent locations should remain in A1 retail use. Non retail proposals will not be permitted where this would lead to the isolation of a shop unit or units within an important retail frontage.

2.4.25.

In the case of vacant units within primary shopping areas, proposals for Use Class changes to non-retail use will need to be supported by evidence that the unit has been pro-actively marketed for retail purposes for a minimum period of 12 consecutive months. The possibility of the premises being occupied in the future by a retailer will be a material consideration in such cases.

2.4.26.

ENTERPRISE PARK RETAILING

The relaxed planning regime of the former Enterprise Zone Scheme, coupled with locational, tax and rating advantages led to the development of a major and uncoordinated retail park at Llansamlet. This has diverted trade from established shopping centres. Worst affected have been the City Centre, Morriston, and the former superstore-based district shopping centre at Trallwn, which has since closed. Accordingly, retail development at the Enterprise Park should be contained within the retail zone identified on the Proposals Map and be limited to the sale of bulky goods in order to avoid harm to surrounding shopping centres.

POLICY EC7

Within the Enterprise Park, proposals for new retail development outside the retail zone will not be permitted.

Retail development within the Enterprise Park retail zone will be restricted to the sale of bulky goods items that do not pose a threat to the vitality, attractiveness and viability of the City Centre and surrounding town, district and local shopping centres.

Main Cross References: SP6, EC1, EC4-5, EC8-9.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG: Swansea Enterprise Park Planning Policies

2.4.27.

The Enterprise Park is not a designated district shopping centre. The Proposals Map delineates the boundary of the retail zone within the Park, which occupies an out-of-centre location. Further shopping development outside the retail zone would enhance the critical mass of retailing that has already developed in this area and would pose a serious threat to the implementation of policies aimed at encouraging investment in the City Centre and surrounding town, district and local centres.

2.4.28.

Within the retail zone, bulky goods retailing will only be permitted where such proposals are not considered prejudicial to the future vitality and viability of existing shopping centres and are compliant with the criteria set out in Policy EC4.

2.4.29.

RETAIL WAREHOUSES

There has been a rapid expansion of retail warehouses and retail parks within the County. Warehouses selling DIY goods and other bulky items such as furniture, carpets and electrical goods have been established at a wide variety of edge and out-of-centre locations.

2.4.30.

Retail warehouses can act as an important catalyst for other developments and when properly planned can complement the role of City and district shopping centres and offer improved accessibility, particularly for those less mobile members of the community reliant upon travel by car.

POLICY EC8

The development of new retail warehouses will be directed to suitable locations firstly within and then on the edge of existing shopping centres. Where such sites are not available, suitable locations at established retail parks will be considered.

Proposals for retail warehouse development at the Enterprise Park will also need to be considered against Policy EC7.

Main Cross References: SP6, EV1-3, EV14-15, EV35, R16, EC4- 5, EC7, EC9.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 4; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG:

2.4.31.

Amplification

All new retail warehouse development will be subject to a planning condition and/or legal agreement to control the range of goods to be sold from the premises and, where appropriate, to restrict the subsequent subdivision of units or the introduction of mezzanine floors. The type and range of goods to be sold will be restricted to those that, either in their own right or cumulatively with other developments, would not pose a threat to the vitality and viability of established shopping centres.

2.4.32.

The re-use and/or redevelopment of existing vacant units within or on the edge of the City Centre and district centres will be preferred to new edge or out-of-centre development. Proposals for new retail warehouses will also be assessed against the criteria specified in Policy EC4.

2.4.33.

OUT-OF-CENTRE RETAILING

Competition from out-of-centre retailing has been a key contributing factor to the relatively poor performance of the City Centre in recent years. The Swansea Retail Capacity Study undertaken for the Council by Roger Tym and Partners (2005) suggests that further development of retail floorspace at out-of-centre sites within the County would have an unacceptably adverse impact on established shopping centres, particularly the City Centre, and should therefore be resisted.

POLICY EC9

Retail development at out-of-centre locations will be resisted, except for:

  1. Small scale local shopping facilities required to meet local needs (Policy EC6 refers),
  2. Retail warehouses engaged in the sale of bulky goods that do not pose a threat to the vitality, attractiveness and viability of the City Centre and surrounding town and district shopping centres (Policy EC8 refers),
  3. Units requiring large showrooms and/or display areas for the sale of caravans, motor vehicles and motor vehicle components and accessories, and
  4. Factory outlets permitted in connection with manufacturing centres on industrial estates.

Aside from the exceptions identified in criteria (i) to (iv) of this policy, new retail proposals at out-ofcentre locations will only be considered if it can be demonstrated in the first instance that a clear deficiency in shopping provision exists at that location, and that there are no sequentially preferable sites where the identified deficiency could be met.

Main Cross References: SP6, EV3, EV14-15, EV35-36, EV39, EC4-EC8, ECNR, R16, AS6.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 4; MIPPS 02/2005 Planning for Retailing and Town Centres

SPG: Swansea City Centre Strategic Framework (forthcoming)

2.4.34.

Amplification

New retail development best located within the City Centre, district or local centres will not be supported at out-of-centre sites. This is deemed necessary to prevent further sporadic retail development, curtail out-of-centre expenditure leakage and provide support for policies aimed at improving the vitality and viability of established shopping centres.

2.4.35.

It is acknowledged that, in some instances, certain retailers selling bulky goods items and/or requiring large showrooms may not be able to find suitable sites within established centres. Such proposals will be considered against Policy EC8, as well as the criteria set out in Policy EC4. These policies make clear that out-of-centre locations will only be considered where the developer provides evidence of a need for the development and demonstrates that no suitable in-centre or edge-of-centre sites are available.

2.4.36.

Notwithstanding the general presumption against further new retailing at out-of-centre locations, it is recognised that occasions may arise during the lifetime of the Plan whereby a retail scheme at an out-of-centre site might be considered appropriate. Such occasions will only occur where a developer can demonstrate clear evidence of a deficiency in shopping provision that cannot be met at any sequentially preferable location, and that the site proposed will serve the community well, being accessible by a variety of transport modes. Any out-of-centre retail proposal that is considered likely to undermine the vitality, attractiveness and viability of the City Centre, district centres or local centres will be refused.

2.4.37.

MARKETS AND CAR BOOT SALES

Whilst markets and car boot sales are not normally perceived as a direct threat to the vitality, attractiveness or viability of established shopping centres, they can in certain circumstances have a detrimental impact upon their trade and operation. Equally, wellplanned activities including farmers markets, craft fairs and street markets can make a positive contribution to the life and vitality of established shopping centres, benefit local producers and help create a sense of community.

POLICY EC10

Where planning permission is required, market and car boot sales will be supported provided there is no likely adverse effect on:

  1. The vitality and viability of existing retail outlets and centres,
  2. Traffic flows and highway safety, the operation of public transport and the movement of cyclists and pedestrians, and
  3. The character, operation or visual amenity of the surrounding area.

All applications for car boot sales or markets must be accompanied by a management plan setting out details of the proposed selling area(s), parking areas, service arrangements and other operational management controls.

Main Cross References: SP6, EV14, EC4-5, AS6.

National Planning Guidance: PPW

SPG:

2.4.38.

Amplification

The management plan in support of all car boot sales and market applications must clearly indicate how operational controls and other practical arrangements required for their safe and satisfactory operation can be implemented in accordance with the requirements of the above policy. It should be noted that no market can open within six and two-thirds of a mile of Swansea Market without express approval of the Council as Marketing Authority, under the existing Market Charter Rights that are invested on Swansea Market.

2.5.

RURAL EMPLOYMENT AND AGRICULTURE

Objectives

  • To protect the countryside from development that would cause material harm particularly where the undeveloped coastline or other areas of high landscape quality are concerned (1.c)
  • To avoid significant adverse environmental impacts from new development (1.j)
  • To improve the range, choice and quality of shopping opportunities accessible for all sections of the community and visitors to the area (2.e)
  • To provide sustainable employment opportunities for rural communities (2.g)
2.5.1.

These policies protect agricultural land as a productive resource, deal with specific agricultural development needs, provide for investment in new rural enterprises that may assist in diversifying the rural economy, and support the re-use of rural buildings for economic purposes. Regular monitoring of these policies will allow the Council to consider the need to produce SPG on farm diversification.

RURAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

POLICY EC11

Appropriate small scale rural business development or home based employment within, and in exceptional circumstances adjoining, existing villages, or closely associated with suitable groupings of farm buildings, will be permitted where:

  1. There would be no significant adverse effect on, or disturbance to, nearby occupiers,
  2. There would be no significant adverse effects resulting from pollution, servicing arrangements and/or the use of resources,
  3. There would be no significant conflict with transportation considerations including parking, traffic generation and access,
  4. The development would effectively integrate into the landscape and/or the village scene and not have a significant adverse effect on the natural heritage and historic environment, and,
  5. In the case of proposals in farm locations, development would be located within conversions of existing buildings in preference to new build.

Farm shops that are subsidiary to the farming use and primarily sell produce from the farm or locality will be permitted subject to:

  1. There being no significant adverse environmental or traffic impact on the locality, and
  2. Restrictions on goods sold, where unrestricted sales would cause significant harm to the trade of a nearby village shop.

Main Cross References: SP3, EV1-3, EV12, EV14, EV16-17, EV21- 22, EV25-26, EV34-35, EC12-13, EC17-19, HC27, R12.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 6

SPG: Gower Management Plan; Swansea Countryside Strategy

2.5.2.

Amplification

This policy promotes appropriate small-scale rural business development and farm diversification in rural areas. Proposals for rural tourism and recreation development will be assessed against the criteria specified in Policy EC17. Appropriate small-scale rural business development is that which respects, and is sympathetic to, the character and amenity of its surroundings and supports the social and economic needs of the local community. Such development may include craft workshops, catering facilities as well as commercial and light manufacturing activities, such as slaughterhouses and the processing of agricultural and woodland products including windrow composting proposals in farm locations.

2.5.3.

Policies EV16 and EV17 identify the villages to which this policy applies and set out criteria for evaluating proposals within the villages. New development should generally be located within settlements, but in exceptional circumstances permission may be granted adjoining a settlement. In order to justify this, specific land/resource requirements will need to be demonstrated, such as for a springwater bottling plant.

2.5.4.

The scale of any development should be in keeping with the scale and character of existing development in the locality. It should accord with the other environmental objectives of the plan and in some cases will require an EIA.

2.5.5.

Farm shops can help meet the demand for fresh produce and provide a valuable income for farm owners, but they should not be expanded into large retail units that would create visual, traffic and parking problems to the detriment of local residents or other retail units which serve local needs.

2.5.6.

Where relevant, in order to prevent the fragmentation of agricultural units by the separate sale of a building, planning obligations may be sought to tie a building to the land.

CONVERSION OF EXISTING RURAL BUILDINGS

POLICY EC12

The conversion of existing buildings in the countryside to new uses that contribute to the local economy and the extensions of such buildings will be permitted where:

  1. The building is largely intact, has a form, bulk and general design in keeping with its surroundings, and is capable of conversion without prejudicing the original character of the building or the rural character of the locality,
  2. The building is structurally suitable for conversion without a major or complete reconstruction, as verified by a structural stability report,
  3. Safe access for pedestrians and vehicles can be provided without prejudicing the character and appearance of the area,
  4. In the case of buildings extended or constructed with the benefit of agricultural permitted development rights, these buildings have genuinely been used for the agricultural purposes they were constructed for, and
  5. Any ancillary works associated with the conversion will not unacceptably adversely affect the rural character of the locality.

Except for proposals solely for the provision of tourist accommodation, residential use of existing non residential buildings in the countryside will not be supported unless evidence is provided that:

  1. The premises have actively been marketed without success for appropriate business use, or
  2. Residential use is ancillary to a business reuse of premises, or
  3. The resulting residential use will contribute to an identified local need for housing or for affordable housing in the location concerned.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP3, EV1, EV3, EV12, EV14, EV18-22, EV25-26, EV34, EV40, EC11, EC14, EC17-19, R9-10

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TANs 5 and 6

SPG: Gower Management Plan; Swansea Countryside Strategy; Use and Adaptation of Rural Buildings for Southern Lliw Valley; Promoting Swansea’s Natural Environment: A Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

2.5.7.

Amplification

ew uses that contribute to the local economy include appropriate sustainable rural employment initiatives, tourist accommodation, recreation, small-scale tourism activities and farm shops. Such uses are preferred to residential conversions as they contribute to the local economy and provide employment. Conversions of buildings to provide tourist accommodation will need to satisfy the requirements set out in Policies EC18 and EC19. Such schemes will be subject to appropriate planning conditions to restrict the use of the building for tourist accommodation only.

2.5.8.

Where a residential use is proposed, a supporting statement will be required to accompany a planning application to demonstrate the efforts made to secure a business use. This statement will need to indicate the extent and length of time over which the marketing initiative has been undertaken. An identified local need for housing is one which meets the requirements of Policy EV20 criterion (i) and paragraph 1.6.16.

2.5.9.

Where a building extended or constructed with the benefit of agricultural permitted development rights is proposed to be converted, the history of the building will be investigated to ensure that it has been genuinely used for agricultural purposes. Evidence to this effect should accompany any planning application. If it has not been used for the purposes for which it was intended, planning permission for conversion will not normally be granted. Permitted development rights are granted to meet farming and forestry needs and not for purposes of diversification. They should not be used to try to avoid the planning restrictions on new buildings in the open countryside.

2.5.10.

The presence of a protected species roosting or breeding in the building is a material consideration that must be taken into account when considering any proposed development that may result in harm to the species or its habitat. Applicants should therefore have regard to the requirements of relevant European and UK legislation, as outlined in PPW as well as Swansea’s Local Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

AGRICULTURAL LAND

POLICY EC13

Development that would result in the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land will not normally be permitted. This land may only be developed where there is an overriding need and:

  1. Previously developed land is unavailable, and either
  2. Lower grade land is unavailable, or
  3. Lower grade land is of a higher environmental value.

Development adjacent to agricultural land shall be compatible with the continued beneficial use of the agricultural land and where necessary be sited, designed and landscaped to minimise any detrimental effect upon the efficiency and upkeep.

Main Cross References: SP3, EV2, EV12, EV18, EV21-22, EV26, EV29-30, EC11, EC17, HC27, HC29, R1, R17.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 6

SPG:

2.5.11.

Amplification

High-grade agricultural land is a finite resource that merits protection. Its development will be resisted unless it is essential and other lower grade land is unavailable.

2.5.12.

PPW states that land graded 1, 2 & 3a should be conserved as the best and most versatile land. Agricultural land is graded according to the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) system. A map showing this information is available to view at the Council’s Environment Department. The presence or otherwise of best and most versatile agricultural land within a proposed development site can only be assessed by the application of the ALC methodology to the site under consideration.

2.5.13.

Land of environmental value is land that is important in terms of its natural heritage and historic environment and is recognised by an appropriate designation.

AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

POLICY EC14

Agricultural developments requiring planning permission or prior approval should give proper consideration to the protection of natural heritage and the historic environment and be sympathetically sited, designed and landscaped. Special attention to these matters will be required in sensitive situations or where the impact of the development is likely to be substantial.

Buildings and structures for the accommodation of livestock will normally be permitted, except where residential amenity and/or environmental quality would be significantly adversely affected or compromised.

Main Cross References: SP1-3, EV1-2, EV12, EV21-23, EV25- 26, EV30, EV34-36, EV39, EC12

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 6

SPG: Use and Adaptation of Rural Buildings for the Southern Lliw Valley

2.5.14.

Amplification

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 grants rights for a range of buildings and operations on agricultural land, dependent on whether the unit is more or less than 5 hectares. In the case of most works a determination must be sought from the Council as to whether prior approval is needed for the siting, design and external appearance.

2.5.15.

Careful consideration should be given to the impact of agricultural development on the natural heritage and historic environment. Agricultural buildings should not be constructed with the intention to convert to an alternative use (para 2.5.9 refers).

2.6.

TOURISM

Objectives

  • To protect the countryside from development that would cause material harm, particularly where the undeveloped coastline or other areas of high landscape quality are concerned (1.c)
  • To avoid significant adverse environmental impacts from new development (1.j)
  • To develop Swansea as a major Waterfront City capitalising on the opportunities provided by SA1 (2.b)
  • To provide sustainable employment opportunities for rural communities (2.g)
  • To improve, expand and diversify tourism infrastructure (2.h)
  • To develop sustainable tourism initiatives and improve the quality and range of the accommodation base (2.i)
  • To improve the quality of caravan and camping sites and reduce their intrusiveness in the landscape (2.j)
  • To extend and improve appropriate access to and enjoyment of the countryside and urban greenspace (3.h)
2.6.1.

The “Visit Wales“ (formerly Wales Tourist Board’s) Strategy “Achieving our Potential” predicts that UK domestic and overseas spend on tourism trips to Wales will grow at a rate of 6% per annum. By 2010 it is estimated that tourism will be worth more than £3.5 billion to the Welsh economy. Swansea is well placed to benefit from this growth, particularly in the major growth markets of short break leisure and business tourism. Tourism in Swansea is already worth over £230m a year and supports around 4,500 jobs. The Wales Spatial Plan also envisages a lead role for Swansea in driving the region’s tourism economy. Further investment in both the infrastructure and quality of tourism businesses will continue to promote the City and County as an important visitor destination.

2.6.2.

The prime natural tourism resource is the landscape, in particular Gower’s countryside and beaches, the upland countryside areas and Swansea Bay. Other resources include the City Centre, the Maritime Quarter/SA1, Lower Swansea Valley, the resort of Mumbles, and a network of cultural, historical, archaeological, built heritage, leisure and sports facilities. The County is also a good base from which to explore the Brecon Beacons, Mid and West Wales, as well as Ireland via the Cork Ferry.

2.6.3.

The Plan’s tourism proposals complement and support the Council’s Tourism Strategy. These proposals will help facilitate:

  1. An extension and reinforcement of the attractions base, whilst protecting and improving the tourist environment,
  2. The development of locally distinct places and themed tourism attractions,
  3. A quantitative and qualitative improvement to the accommodation base,
  4. The introduction of sustainable tourism schemes,
  5. Promotion of tourism in all seasons.
2.6.4.

Local and regional facilities for leisure, sport, culture and recreation, together with the environment and infrastructure, all contribute towards the quality of the attraction base. This policy section therefore has to be viewed in conjunction with the policies of the sport and recreation section and the policies for the environment. Proposals to extend the tourism season will be supported where the accommodation and facilities are suited to such.

2.6.5.

In the countryside the aim is to increase the quality of the tourism experience for visitors to the area, whilst protecting the environmental quality which attracts tourism. There is a need for better services and resources for the existing level of visitors, and there will be opportunities for sensitive, appropriately scaled and located new development. New schemes can contribute to the overall image of the County for visitors as well as providing improved opportunities within local communities.

UBRAN TOURISM

POLICY EC15

Proposals that consolidate the urban tourism resource, by improving the quality and range of attractions, destinations, accommodation and services, will be supported at the following locations:

  • City Centre
  • Maritime Quarter
  • Lower Swansea Valley
  • Tawe Riverside Basin, and
  • Mumbles and specific destinations around Swansea Bay (see Policy EC16).

Main Cross References: SP1-3, SP8, EV1-5, EV9-10, EV24-5, EV27, EV31-32, EV34-40, EC2, EC4, EC16, EC18, HC18-20, HC28, HC30-31, AS1-2, AS5-7, AS12, CC1

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN13

SPG: Swansea Bay Strategy; City Centre Planning Briefs, (refer to City Centre Chapter); Tawe Riverside Corridor Strategy, (forthcoming); Swansea City Centre Strategic Framework (forthcoming), Tourism Strategy 2006-2010 (forthcoming)

2.6.6.

Amplification

The City Centre is intended to be a major attraction for visitors and business tourism. This attraction will be strengthened when the planned integration with the foreshore to create a “Waterfront City” is more fully realised. The City Centre shopping, leisure, food and drink, and cultural facilities combined with SA1, the Maritime Quarter, the new National Waterfront Museum and the Tawe Basin near to the barrage will create a mixed use destination area with a very strong character.

2.6.7.

Development in the Lower Swansea Valley will create a critical mass of leisure / tourism potential encompassing the new Stadium, YIM / White Rock integrated with the recreational and tourism generating opportunities of the Pluck Lake area and Kilvey Hill, with the Riverside Park providing the link to the Waterfront.

2.6.8.

Swansea Bay has a unique open character and natural beauty which requires protection and enhancement. It is also a major tourism and recreation asset for the City extending some 6 miles from the Maritime Quarter to Mumbles Head. There is a very clear connection between the City’s retail and civic function and the Bay. A targeted regeneration initiative therefore proposes the development of a series of leisure/visitor locations around the Bay, reinforcing the Waterfront character. The aim is to secure development that promotes the regeneration of the Bay, maximises the potential of the seafront location, and where appropriate contributes to the County’s tourism portfolio. This will be brought forward through the adopted Swansea Bay Strategy.

SWANSEA BAY RECREATIONAL AND TOURISM FACILITIES

POLICY EC16

New or improved recreational and tourism facilities at specific destinations around Swansea Bay are proposed which capitalise on the seafront aspect and contribute towards the regeneration of the Bay.

Between these areas of appropriate development, the emphasis is on safeguarding and enhancing the environment of the Bay and other waterfront areas.

Main Cross References: SP1-3, SP8, EV1-5, EV25, EV27, EV29, EV31-32, EV34-37, EV39, EV40, EC2, EC15, HC18, HC21, HC31.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN’s 13 and 15

SPG: Blackpill Brief; St Helen’s Baths Site Development Brief; Oystermouth Square, Mumbles (forthcoming) Swansea Bay Strategy; Tourism Strategy 2006-2010 (forthcoming)

2.6.9.

Amplification

The Swansea Bay Strategy establishes a vision for the Bay, and assesses development potential at key destinations as well as the scope for environmental and infrastructure enhancements throughout the study area. The key destinations include: The Maritime Quarter/City Waterfront, St. Helens, Sketty Lane, Blackpill Seafront/Lido and Mumbles Seafront, including Oystermouth, Knab Rock and the Pier. Additional SPG will be prepared for the above sites as and when more detailed guidance is required. Other urban and rural waterfront areas may also present opportunities for recreational and tourist developments, and in these cases general development and locational considerations will apply.

RURAL TOURISM

POLICY EC17

Proposals for tourism and recreation developments of an appropriate scale in locations which relate acceptably to the existing pattern of development and/or their surroundings in terms of the nature of the proposal concerned will be permitted provided they:

  1. Are in keeping with the scale and character of the surrounding area and are of a high standard of design,
  2. Do not have significant adverse effects on landscape or nature conservation interests,
  3. Do not create a significantly harmful level of visitor pressure at sensitive locations,
  4. Can provide safe access for a variety of modes of transport without harming the character of adjacent lanes, and
  5. When located on a farm would not lead to the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land.

Main Cross References: SP1-3, SP8, EV1-3, EV11-12, EV14, EV16-17, EV21-23, EV26, EV31, EV34-36, EV39-40, EC11-13, EC18-20, EC22, HC18, HC22, HC26, HC32, AS1-2, AS5-7

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 13

SPG: Gower AONB Management Plan (2005) Tourism Strategy 2006-2010 (forthcoming)

2.6.10.

Amplification

There are many areas within the County that provide excellent opportunities for green or sustainable tourism, in particular Mawr and Gower, which are well placed to provide for cycling, walking and other activity holidays. Themed breaks based on the natural, historic and archaeological heritage are expected to become increasingly popular.

2.6.11.

The Gower Explorer bus service has been in operation since 2004, and is an all year round service using buses purchased by the Council. The Explorer has been commended by independent consultants as one of the best rural bus services in Europe, and has proved extremely successful in providing a sustainable mode of transport to the AONB. The service forms part of the “Walking by Bus” initiative which encourages sustainable tourism and healthier lifestyles by promoting a series of walks linked to the bus routes. The expanding cycle network, including the North Gower Cycle Route, will also help to facilitate sustainable access into the countryside.

2.6.12.

ERVICED TOURIST ACCOMMODATION

The serviced accommodation stock is dominated by both branded and non-branded small and medium sized hotels. The City Centre has been the favoured location for the introduction of new and the refurbishment of existing properties, which has helped make Swansea a more attractive visitor destination.

2.6.13.

The proposed introduction of statutory registration for Wales will be likely to have an impact on the supply of serviced accommodation. Great emphasis is therefore placed on improving the quality and widening the choice of serviced tourist accommodation and in particular on filling the gaps in the existing portfolio.

POLICY EC18

Development that improves the range and quality of serviced tourist accommodation will be permitted:

  1. Within the urban area, particularly in support of City Centre regeneration initiatives,
  2. Outside of the urban area within existing villages, groups of farm or other buildings, or
  3. Where required to upgrade facilities at existing tourism operations.

Main Cross-References: SP1, SP8, EV1-3, EV16-17, EV21, EV22- 23, EV26, EV35-36, EV39, HC32, EC11-12, EC15, EC17.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 13

SPG: Use and Adaptation of Rural Buildings for the Southern Lliw Valley ,Tourism Strategy 2006-2010 (forthcoming)

2.6.14.

Amplification

Investment in key visitor attractions increases the appeal of a destination and sufficient good quality accommodation helps create the package visitors expect. It is intended to capitalise and build on this potential, but development which adds significant visitor pressure at sensitive locations will not be permitted. This does not however preclude appropriate conversion schemes in circumstances where there would be a net benefit to the natural or built environment.

UNSERVICED TOURIST ACCOMMODATION:

POLICY EC19

The creation of well-designed unserviced tourist accommodation through the conversion of existing appropriate rural buildings will be supported.

Main Cross References: SP1, SP3, SP8, EV1, EV16-17, EV21-23, EV26, EC11-12, EC17.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 6

SPG: Use and Adaptation of Rural Buildings for the Southern Lliw Valley , Tourism Strategy 2006-2010 (forthcoming)

2.6.15.

Amplification

For Policy EC19, unserviced tourist accommodation is defined as holiday cottages / gite style accommodation, and well-designed bunk house accommodation. Where conversion for bunkhouse accommodation is proposed it should ideally be well placed for walking, cycling and horse riding.

2.6.16.

Proposals will be assessed against the criteria set out in Policies EC11 and EC12. For the purpose of this policy, appropriate rural buildings are those that meet the criteria listed in Policy EC12.

2.6.17.

HOLIDAY CHALET, STATIC CARAVAN AND TOURING UNIT AND CAMPING SITES

Holiday chalets, caravan parks and camp sites are an important element of the self catering holiday sector, and make a significant contribution to the local tourism economy. However, they can be intrusive in the landscape, particularly on the coast, and special consideration will need to be given to proposals for new sites. Accordingly, the Plan seeks to allow for examination of the adequacy of facilities for static and touring caravans and reconcile these needs with the protection of the environment, particularly in designated areas such as the AONB, SACs and Heritage Coast.

2.6.18.

The existing supply provides a wide range of choice between static and touring sites, large scale coastal and quieter inland locations, and includes both north and south Gower. In particular there are concentrations of both static and touring sites between Oxwich/Port Eynon and Llangennith/Llanmadoc. On the edge of the urban area there are large touring sites at Ynysforgan adjacent to the M4, and at Gowerton. It is considered important that the range of sites and types of site available is sufficient to suit all holidaymakers.

2.6.19.

The supply of pitches on existing sites, based on 2005 survey data, is as follows:

Static Caravans

2554

Touring Units

2169

Total

4723

 

2.6.20.

Touring units are defined as touring caravans, tents, trailer tents and camper vans/motor homes. The above figures exclude chalets and some small sites with temporary planning permission for camping and/or up to 5 touring caravans.

2.6.21.

In view of the sensitivity and national significance of much of the area’s landscape and the density of existing provision in the sensitive coastal zone, a controlled policy approach towards chalets, statics and touring units will continue to be operated within the Gower AONB. It is recognised however that there is strong pressure for further growth, and the policy criteria will assess any proposals for new sites. If it can be justified that there is a proven case for demand, and there is justification for further provision of additional pitches that cannot be accommodated on existing sites, then consideration can be given to the provision of a new site, subject to compliance with all the relevant criteria. Potential locations would need to be carefully examined, and would need to avoid sensitive coastal areas and nationally and internationally designated sites, in line with Government advice.

2.6.22.

The main emphasis however is placed on improving the condition and services of existing sites, reducing their impact on the landscape whilst encouraging provision for low-impact tourism. It is recognised that this, coupled with larger sized static caravans in particular, and a consequential reduction in site densities may result in pressure to expand the areas of existing sites.

2.6.23.

There is currently limited provision of caravan and camping sites in the north of the County, though this area offers excellent opportunities for tourism, and the potential exists for the development of quality sites.

NEW CHALET, STATIC CARAVAN, TOURING UNIT AND CAMPING SITES

POLICY EC20

Development of new chalet, static caravan or touring unit sites will only be permitted where:

  1. It would not materially adversely affect the natural beauty of the AONB, Heritage Coast or other nationally or internationally designated areas,
  2. There would be no material harm to the landscape character and environmental quality of the surrounding area, either individually or cumulatively with other sites in the vicinity,
  3. There are satisfactory service arrangements in terms of access roads, sewerage, power and water supply, surface water disposal and waste disposal,
  4. The site is well located in relation to an adequate road system which can accommodate the traffic generated, and where possible has convenient access to frequent public transport,
  5. Holiday occupancy is ensured by condition, and
  6. Within the AONB, it can be demonstrated that the site contributes towards meeting an identified unmet need.

Main Cross References: SP2-3, SP8, EV1-3, EV12, EV14, EV21-23, EV25-26, EV31-36, EV38-41, EC17, EC19, HC10, HC17, R9, AS1-2, AS6-7

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 13

SPG: Guidance on the Development of Caravan and Chalet Sites, (forthcoming)

2.6.24.

Amplification

New sites are defined as proposed campsite, caravan or chalet park development on land where there is no extant planning permission or established or lawful use for such use. For clarification, applications for new sites do not include applications for change of use at existing caravan and camping sites.

2.6.25.

The majority of existing sites are within Gower. They are located in areas of high landscape and scenic value, where there is strictly limited capacity to take further development without a significant detrimental effect on that landscape. The policy will only allow for new sites within the AONB where it can be demonstrated that all the criteria are met. Given the density of existing provision along the coastal zone, new developments within this especially sensitive area will be assessed with particular care.

2.6.26.

Proposals for new provision within the AONB need to demonstrate that the site would contribute towards meeting an identified unmet need, to ensure that additional tourist accommodation proposals match the nature of the needs identified. There should be no material adverse effects on local and distant views. Locations in an open landscape will not be acceptable, and provision of new or supplementary screen planting would not be adequate justification.

2.6.27.

Policy EV26 reinforces the primary objective for the AONB, which is the conservation and enhancement of its natural beauty. Accordingly, proposals within the AONB will be considered in that context.

EXISTING STATIC CARAVAN, TOURING UNIT AND CAMPING SITES

POLICY EC21

At existing camping, touring unit and static caravan sites:

  1. Improvements to the environmental quality, condition and facilities will be encouraged, and small increases in the number of pitches may be permitted where it is justified in the context of the environmental improvements proposed and where it would not significantly increase the overall scale of the operation,
  2. Material changes to the type of accommodation provided on existing sites or small increases in area will only be permitted where:
    1. There would be no significant adverse impact on the landscape, particularly in coastal locations
    2. The change or extension would bring about environmental improvements, would not require extensive additional infrastructure and services, and would result in significant overall benefit to the character and appearance of the area in cases of limited change to static caravan pitches or to chalets,
    3. There would be no harm to natural heritage, and
    4. It is subject to a condition ensuring holiday occupancy,
  3. Overflow areas for camping or touring unit pitches as extensions to existing sites on a short term basis during peak holiday periods may be permitted provided they would not require additional infrastructure and would not cause significant harm to local amenity or traffic congestion. In addition, proposals will be considered with reference to criteria (ii) (a), (c) and (d) above.

Main Cross References: SP2-3, SP8, EV14, EV22, EV26, EV31, EV33-35, EV40, HC10.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 13

SPG: Guidance on the Development of Caravan and Chalet Sites, (forthcoming)

2.6.28.

Amplification

Existing sites vary considerably in terms of environmental quality and visual impact, with many being located in sensitive coastal landscapes. This policy seeks to encourage improvements to the quality of existing sites for the benefit of visitors and to reduce their visual impact on the landscape. Improvements relating to layout, siting, circulation, parking and landscaping should not normally lead to any increase in unit numbers, although there may be limited cases where the extent of the improvements could justify a small increase. In appropriate cases there may also be opportunities to extend the holiday season. Due to the variety in size and location of sites, any proposal would have to be assessed in terms of site characteristics, location, environmental impact and the quality and benefit of proposed improvements. A “small increase” would not be greater than 10% of unit numbers or site area, and less in some cases, as all proposals would be assessed on their individual merits. Any increase would also be dependant on the suitability of utilising an existing strong physical boundary to contain the site, particularly at prominent coastal locations. Overflow areas will be controlled by condition for temporary periods and for use as non-advanced booking pitches to enable the Council to regularly monitor the situation to ensure that the cumulative impacts of such development are within acceptable levels. Overflow areas are a short term measure only, and in the longer term compliance with criterion (i) will be expected to deal with the issue of capacity during the peak holiday period.

2.6.29.

The adverse impacts on the landscape that may arise from change of use from camping pitches to touring unit pitches or extensions to sites containing such pitches are generally seasonal in nature and may therefore be more easily accommodated than changes to static caravans and chalets, which have the effect of creating permanent development in the countryside. Where it is considered change of use from camping pitches to touring unit pitches would not significantly harm the landscape, the local highway network must be able to accommodate the specific requirements of touring caravans without damaging the character of the area. Where change of use from camping/touring unit pitches to static caravan pitches or from camping/touring/static caravan pitches to chalets is proposed, this should improve the range and quality of available accommodation and must form part of a scheme of site improvement that would achieve an overall enhancement of the character and appearance of the area. In order to ensure that such development has no significant adverse effect on the environmental quality of the area and satisfactorily blends into the landscape, material considerations will include scale, design, materials, its setting in a winter landscape and impact of new ancillary infrastructure, such as lighting.

SMALL CARAVAN AND CAMPING SITES ON FARMS, PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS AND STORAGE OF CARAVANS

POLICY EC22

Planning permissions for camping and up to 5 touring caravans on farms for temporary periods and camping/caravan rallies will be conditioned to minimise significant impacts on the environment, road network and utilities. The storage of touring caravans will only be permitted within existing barns, sheds or other enclosed buildings within the AONB, or in unobtrusive locations outside the AONB.

Main Cross References: SP2-3, SP8, EV2, EV21-23, EV26, EV36, EC17.

National Planning Guidance: PPW; TAN 13

SPG: Guidance on the Development of Caravan and Chalet Sites, (forthcoming)

2.6.30.

Amplification

Within the Gower AONB, permitted development rights for

  1. Camping for a maximum of 28 days in any year,
  2. Siting up to three caravans on holdings of 5 acres or more for a maximum of 28 days in any year, and
  3. Caravan rallies which are organised by exempt organisations for a maximum of 5 days, have been removed by an Article 4 Direction.
2.6.31.

The Article 4 Direction was confirmed in 1979 by the Secretary of State for Wales, for environmental and infrastructure reasons, and through these powers the Council has control over the provision of pitches. This continues to be an important element for the protection of the natural beauty of the AONB.

2.6.32.

These rights can however be reinstated by an application for planning permission. Individual planning applications for reinstatement of permitted development rights will be considered on their merits and having regard to the need to ensure an appropriate distribution within the AONB and throughout the season. The Council will regularly monitor the situation to ensure that the cumulative impacts of such development are within acceptable levels, and will consider where full planning permission would be appropriate taking into account the history of temporary planning permissions on any specific site.

2.6.33.

This policy also recognises the benefits of reducing the need to tow caravans long distances. Unobtrusive storage locations are those which are not prominent, and are well screened by existing landscape features.

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