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 adopted Torfaen 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 or appeals.
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may change during the plan period, such as car parking standards, so as to avoid the current plan becoming too quickly outdated.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
Public Consultation 15th June 2023 until 27th July 2023
The Council is now consulting on the draft Green Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Guidance and the draft Biodiversity, Ecosystem Resilience and Development Supplementary Planning Guidance documents.
The draft Green Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) sets out the Council’s approach to the consideration of green infrastructure (GI) in relation to new developments. It provides guidance to the interpretation and implementation of adopted Local Development Plan (LDP) Strategic Policies S3 (Climate Change) and S7 (Conservation of the Natural and Historic Environment). The draft SPG consists of an overarching Green Infrastructure section supplemented by topic based Technical Annexe’s on the following specific issues:
- Trees and Woodlands within Development
- Open Space and Recreation
- Public Rights of Way within Development
- Landscape Design and Assessment
The Green Infrastructure approach uses the concept of ecosystem services as a way of looking at our natural resource management which is also aligned to the requirements of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016. Applicants will need to show that they have considered the existing green infrastructure in preparing their plan for a site and identified any opportunities for connectivity and enhancement of the existing resource through the design proposals.
Cost for hard copy of the draft SPG document: £12.05 (including postage and packaging)
An Executive Summary of the draft Green Infrastructure Supplementary Planning Guidance is also available.
The draft Biodiversity, Ecosystem Resilience and Development Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) details how Torfaen Council will ensure development within the county borough maintains and enhances biodiversity and ecosystem resilience. This is in line with adopted Local Development Plan policies and the enhanced biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems duties under Part 1, Section 6 of the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (‘the S6 duty’) and the Resilient Wales Goal of the Well Being of Future Generations (WBFG) Act 2015. It explains how Torfaen LDP policies will be implemented and provides specific guidance in relation to designated sites, including international, national and local designations.
The SPG introduces the stepwise approach as set out in national planning policy which aims to build the consideration of biodiversity into the development management process at the earliest possible stage, in order to achieve the best sustainable outcome and to help minimise delays and additional costs. It provides best practice guidance on the timing, scale, nature and content of ecological surveys and assessments of habitats, sites and species.
Cost for hard copy of the draft SPG document: £11.45 (including postage and packaging)
An Executive Summary of the draft Biodiversity, Ecosystem Resilience and Development Supplementary Planning Guidance is also available.
The purpose of the current consultation is to receive written comments on the published draft SPGs 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 each SPG is adopted; noting that Council has resolved to use the draft SPGs, in the interim, as ’material considerations’ 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.
To provide your comments on either of the documents, please email firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or by writing to us at the above address. Both documents are also available for reference at the Council’s Libraries in Blaenavon, Pontypool & Cwmbran.
We look forward to receiving your comments by 5pm on the 27th July 2023.
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 (opus4.co.uk). This is currently specifically relevant to the Site Design, Masterplanning and Development Brief SPG adopted 28 Feb 2023 and the Sustainable Locations SPG adopted 13 June 2023, both 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 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 do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Sustainable Locations SPG
The Sustainable Locations SPG (June 2023) has now been adopted by Council and forms a material consideration in the Council’s decision-making.
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. This has most recently been re-inforced by the Welsh Governments Roads Review published in Feb 2023.
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 sustainability of location being given increased weight as a material consideration (as provided for in Policy S1 b) with consequential impact on the presumption in favour of development within settlement boundaries.
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. It applies to planning applications for all new residential development within the urban boundary defined by adopted LDP Policy S1, including Section 73 applications to extend the time period of a consent.
As identified above, the Council has set up an interactive map which specifically includes sustainability criteria (location of typical services and facilities) relating to this SPG.
Cost for hard copy of SPG document: £4.25 (including postage and packaging)
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.
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:
Further information regarding SPG can be obtained by contacting the Forward Planning or Development Management teams within Torfaen.
Last Modified: 15/06/2023
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