Supplementary Planning Guidance

What is Supplementary Planning Guidance?

Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) are documents produced by the Council to give guidance to the public, applicants and developers when making planning applications. SPG provides supplementary information in respect of the policies in the local Development Plan. It is a means of setting out more detailed thematic or site specific guidance on how these policies will be applied in particular circumstances or areas. SPGs are one of the 'material considerations' taken into account when determining planning applications.

SPG can take the following forms:

  • Topical guidance such as shop front design or biodiversity
  • Site specific guidance such as development frameworks or development briefs; and
  • Numerical guidelines or thresholds which may change during the plan period, such as car parking standards, so as to avoid the current plan becoming too quickly outdated. This does not however include where these targets are key policy such as targets for future housing provision

To support some of our more recent and forthcoming SPG documents, we have put together an interactive map: Torfaen County Borough Council - Local Plan: Masterplanning ( This is currently specifically relevant to the Site Design, Masterplanning and Development Brief SPG adopted 28 Feb 2023 as detailed below. Additional uses of the mapping software will be rolled out over the next few months. Please click on the link to access a map of Torfaen with viewable layers of information (both constraints and opportunities) to help with your site analysis and design of your development site. A tutorial and ‘help’ function is contained within the software but if you have any issues or queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at Please be advised that this information source represents the most up to date data that we have but should still be checked by any user to ensure its accuracy ‘on the ground’.

Public Consultation 2nd March 2023 until 13th April 2023

The Council is now consulting on the draft Sustainable Locations Supplementary Planning Guidance document.

Since the adoption of Torfaen’s Local Development Plan (LDP) in 2013, national planning policy and guidance has been substantially updated with a key focus on sustainability. This approach incorporates requirements from the Active Travel Act 2013 and Well-Being of Future Generations Act 2015 as well as a response to the climate emergency declared by Welsh Government and Torfaen Council. A fundamental component of sustainability in relation to development proposals is location with national planning policy and guidance increasing the emphasis on reducing travel distances and removing dependence upon private car journeys.

Whilst Torfaen LDP Policy S2 (Sustainable Development) embraces this aim, the Council has recognised that not all geographical areas within our existing settlements could enable residents to carry out normal daily activities without the use of a car. Recent Council planning decisions have raised the bar in this respect, with the presumption in favour of development within settlement boundaries being over-ridden where applicable in favour of sustainability considerations. This Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document therefore sets out the Council’s approach to assessing whether a proposed development site is in a ‘sustainable location’ that can positively contribute towards the overall sustainability of communities and pursuit of climate friendly lifestyles in Torfaen.

The purpose of the consultation is to receive written comments on the published draft SPG from a wide range of individuals, community groups, organisations and companies.  Each response received will be acknowledged and assessed by officers in a ‘Report of Consultation’ which will be considered by Council before the SPG is adopted; noting that Council has resolved to use the draft SPG, in the interim, as ’material consideration’ for assessing planning applications.  As such, please note that, as appropriate, each respondent’s individual name, or company name(s), or agent / client(s) names, along with their comments (either in full or summarised) will be made public.  Contact details will be kept confidential in line with the GDPR Privacy Notice for the Replacement Local Development Plan

Finally, if you haven’t already requested to be notified of updates regarding the RLDP and wish to be, please complete the LDP Consultation Database form, and return it to us; we will then add you to the Council’s ‘consultation database’.  Similarly, if you wish to be removed from the ‘consultation database’ and no longer be informed about the Replacement LDP or associated documents, please let us know in writing.

To provide your comments on the document, please email or make them in writing to the Planning Policy & Implementation Team, Civic Centre, Pontypool, Torfaen, NP4 6YB.

If you require further assistance, wish to view the document by appointment with a planning officer at the Civic Centre, Pontypool, or require a paper copy (for a charge), please contact the Planning Policy Team on 01633 648039, by emailing or by writing to us at the above address. The document is also available for reference at the Council’s Libraries in Blaenavon, Pontypool & Cwmbran.

We look forward to receiving your comments by 5pm on the 13th April 2023.

Site Design, Masterplanning and Development Brief SPG

The Site Design, Masterplanning and Development Brief SPG (February 2023) has now been adopted by Council and forms a material consideration in the Council’s decision-making. Given that this is a more technical document, we have also produced a Summary of the SPG for your information.

Placemaking and the need for high quality design are the basis for the Council’s approach to the development of sites within Torfaen.  This SPG has two main purposes. Firstly, it has been produced to support and add detail to the policies within the Adopted Torfaen Local Development Plan (December 2013) and secondly, to inform the Torfaen Replacement Local Development Plan process.  This SPG provides clear guidance on the form and content of Masterplans and Development Briefs and will ensure that a standardised approach is adopted.

It should be used by prospective applicants, agents, architects, members of the public with an interest in an application, elected Members of the Council and other decision-making bodies, but is particularly relevant to developers looking to submit a planning application for major development (10+ dwellings or 1,000 m2+ commercial floor space) on ‘windfall’ (unallocated) or existing allocated sites; and to landowners / site proposers in the preparation of Development Briefs for a site.

In order to support and advise prospective developers, we have set up an interactive map Torfaen County Borough Council - Local Plan: Masterplanning ( containing information about various constraints (e.g. flood risk, ecological designations), sustainability criteria (location of typical services and facilities) and opportunities (e.g. active travel and green infrastructure connectivity, renewable energy generation). A locality or site can be found by zooming to the right area or via the address search function . The different layers of information can be viewed individually or in combination as required by clicking to turn them on and off   . The eye symbol identifies those that are visible. Any additional information available is accessed via the ‘i’. Distances and areas can be measured using the tool . There is a tutorial and help function within the software   on the left hand side of the screen but if you have any issues or queries please contact us. This mapping is for your use and information in considering your development site alongside the guidance contained within this adopted SPG. Please be advised that this information source represents the most up to date data that we have but should still be checked by any user to ensure its accuracy ‘on the ground’.

A Welsh language version of the mapping is available by clicking on the language button  towards the bottom left corner of the screen

Cost for hard copy of SPG document: £5.85 (including postage and packaging)

The Revised Planning Obligations SPG (February 2023)

The latest version of the Planning Obligations SPG has now been adopted by Council and is available below. We have also produced a summary of the SPG for your information.

New development inevitably has an impact on its surrounding area and community. The planning system aims to address any negative impacts and where possible deliver community and / or environmental benefits through planning obligations. The Council have produced Supplementary Planning Guidance to explain how planning obligations are used and set out expectations from new development. This revision to the Planning Obligations SPG has been largely driven by the Welsh Government change in approach to Acceptable Cost Guidance figures which, from April 2022, do not include the value of land. Changes to Annex 1 therefore include a new ‘tariff’ based system for social rented affordable properties. In addition, affordable housing will now be required to contribute towards any ongoing site maintenance charges; and a new process has been introduced that potentially allows an RSL to use WG Social Housing Grant to make up the affordable housing percentage on a site. The opportunity has been taken to update a number of other elements of the SPG including reference to the Development Viability Model as the Council’s preferred method of assessing development viability; clarification of the Council’s approach to calculating available school capacity and changes to area requirements per pupil and costs definitions.

The SPG has also been subject to minor wording improvements and changes to reflect the increased national policy / guidance emphasis on reducing the need to travel, active travel modes, placemaking and ecological resilience as well as updates to education and recreation costings to reflect current circumstances.

The SPG refers to a wide range of matters that may be the subject of planning obligations. Not all of these matters will be relevant to every planning application. The Council will consider the issues that are relevant on a case by case basis, taking into account the nature of the development proposal, the site and the local context. It does not replace the negotiation of planning obligations as each application will continue to be considered on its individual merits.

The Planning Obligations SPG in its entirety (including individual annexes) is available to download here. For ease of use, the individual annexes are also available to download at the links below:

Further documents available to download in relation to this Planning Obligations SPG are as follows:

Cost for hard copy: £24.85 (including postage and packaging)

Administration and Monitoring Fee for S106 Agreements / Service Level Standards

The Council on 28 June 2011 has resolved to introduce a separate fee system applicable to planning applications which require the processing and monitoring of a Section 106 legal agreement, and publish its associated Service Level Standards. The fee charged will contribute towards the administrative and professional resources required within the Planning Department to provide the planning service. The Administration and Monitoring Fee for S106 Agreements document and S106 Service Level Standards are available to download.

Other adopted SPG documents

Further documents adopted by the Council as Supplementary Planning Guidance are available to download below and / or available to purchase in hard copy by contacting the Forward Planning team:

Other Documents

Further Information

Further information regarding SPG can be obtained by contacting the Forward Planning or Development Management teams within Torfaen.

Last Modified: 13/04/2023
For more information contact:

Planning Policy and Implementation

Tel: 01633 648039


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