Cllr Andrew Morgan Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf complains of possible gridlock on the key regional road network
Posted by Lewis on the 29th March 2019
APPLICATION NO. 14/02733/MJR ADDRESS NORTH WEST CARDIFF
Cllr Andrew Morgan Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council
The following letter has been sent to Lesley Griffiths AC/AM Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Welsh Government requesting assistance and possible call-in.
The Cardiff Council Local Development Plan (LDP) aims to bring forward over 40,000 new homes. 8000 to 10,000 houses are proposed through a series of strategic sites to the North West of the City, close to the boundary with Rhondda Cynon Taf. This Council has supported the aspiration to grow the City and acknowledged the need for a significant amount of new homes. However, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has been clear the provision of adequate infrastructure for these new developments is critical to the economy of this part of the region. Rhondda Cynon Taf Council made representations to that effect, to the Cardiff LDP Public Examination and as a result the Inspector made changes to the relevant Strategic Site and Infrastructure policies. It is important to note that the Inspector clarified that ‘linkages into Rhondda Cynon Taf’ are needed as part of the housing developments. 32 A number of planning applications have now been considered by Cardiff Council for these sites and some are still under consideration. At present, over 2700 dwellings have been approved but no contributions or measures secured by Cardiff for the critical improvements for linkages into Rhondda Cynon Taf. A table showing those planning applications and their current stage is attached. Cardiff Council will consider a further planning application this Wednesday, 15th March. 6000 houses are proposed, and again no improvements within Rhondda Cynon Taf are proposed. There are a number of critical objections to this planning application, including one from Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. The reason that it is absolutely critical for improvements to key transport junctions is illustrated on the diagram below and in more detail on the plan attached. The diagram below shows the application site for the recent 1500 new homes at Junction 33, together with Strategic Site C of Cardiff’s LDP, which includes the current application for a further 6000 houses being considered this week. No cars from this development will be able to access the motorway at Junction 33 and therefore the nearest point of access is Junction 34. As you can see from the orange line on the diagram, the access to Junction 34 of the motorway from these 10,000 will have to be via the Castle Mynach junction on the A4119. It is obvious that the vehicle trips from the 10,000 new homes will have a crippling impact on this junction, yet Cardiff Council does not consider it necessary to deal with this impact. Of particular concern is that Cardiff’s Planning Committee has been advised by its Chief Planning Officer that there is nothing in the LDP strategic site policies that requires infrastructure to be delivered in Rhondda Cynon Taf (see webcast of the 8 February 2017 Planning Committee). At best this is misleading as there is a clear requirement in the adopted policy to implement ‘measures to improve linkages into Rhondda Cynon Taf’. Within the Planning Officer’s report for the Cardiff Planning Committee this Wednesday, again there are no measures proposed to deal with this major issue which will create gridlock on the key regional road network just above the M4. This is particularly worrying as a Cardiff Council report last December for a smaller site said “...the issue of cross boundary transport improvements connecting to RCT will be revisited when considering the main Strategic Site C in the 33 whole as officers have stated previously in the case of ‘Land North & South of Llantrisant Road’ and ‘Land South of Pentrebane Road’ planning applications. This would then involve the relevant officers from both Cardiff and RCT working together in order that any schemes / mitigation measures identified by RCT can be fully considered.” I have been reluctant to ask for these applications to be “called in”, however this situation is absolutely critical to the economic wellbeing of the region. This important travel to work route will grind to a halt having a fundamental negative impact on the SE Wales economy. Cardiff Council needs to decide planning applications in line with the LDP polices, which require improvements to the linkages into Rhondda Cynon Taf. In summary, through a series of planning applications 8000 to 10,000 homes are proposed in NW Cardiff. The LDP requires that linkages within Rhondda Cynon Taf are provided. However, Cardiff Council is progressively approving planning applications, with a further 6000 houses recommended this week, without the linkages being considered. This will result in gridlock at critical junctions resulting in damage to the SE Wales economy. This is very clearly a matter of more than local significance which is the test for calling in applications. Given that Cardiff Council is considering a further 6000 house proposal this Wednesday, I would very much appreciate your urgent assistance, possibly through calling in these applications.
The report to Planning Committee sets out comments received from RCT CBC (para 6.34) and provides a detailed narrative on the transportation and other infrastructure proposed to be secured from the scheme and which is considered compliant with the policy context. The report also explains why it is not considered appropriate to include the provision of infrastructure within RCT as part of the wider package of proposed measures (paras 5.26 xi on p. 229 and within the analysis section in para 8.127 on p. 325). However, it should be noted that the enhancements proposed to be provided as part of this application along the North West corridor will improve linkages into RCT, in accordance with policy KP2(C), and, together with infrastructure secured on other schemes, such as the Park & Ride as part of the Junction 33 proposals, will bring about further benefits to residents of RCT. There is, of course, no infinite capacity to secure 34 infrastructure from development proposals. However, Cardiff is committed to working closely in partnership with RCT to explore the full range of funding streams to secure financial support for mutually beneficial sustainable transportation infrastructure with cross-boundary benefits including works within RCT. In respect of the call-in request, Members should be reassured that they can proceed to make a decision without the outcome of the call-in request being known to them. This can been confirmed in advice received 14/03/2017 from the Decisions Branch, Planning Directorate, Welsh Government, who advised that their previous advice set out below is also applicable to this application. The committee can proceed to make a decision without the outcome of the call in request being known to them. The Welsh Ministers can consider call in at any time up until the final decision notice is issued. The call in request should not be considered as a third party representation as it is not a matter for the LPA, it is solely a matter for the Welsh Ministers to consider. If Welsh Government wishes to prevent the Council from making the decision then they will issue a holding direction. They have not done so in this case