Pre-Deposit Plan (Preferred Strategy)

Ended on the 30 November 2022
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2 National, Regional and Local Context

2.1 This section provides a broad introduction to the Plan area, outlining the key economic, social, environmental and cultural characteristics of the County Borough. It also sets out the policy context for the plan and, due to the requirement for the Preferred Strategy to have regard to a wide range of other plans, policies and programmes, it also sets out the wider context at national, regional and local level. It should be noted that, as a statutory requirement, the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report (Scoping Report) sets out a list of policies, plans, programmes and strategies relevant to the 2RLDP.

Geographical Context

2.2 Caerphilly County Borough covers an area stretching from Powys and the Brecon Beacons National Park in the north, to Cardiff and Newport in the south. It is bordered to the west by Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf and to the east by Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen and thus it lies in the heart of the South Wales Valleys and the Cardiff Capital Region.

2.3 Caerphilly County Borough is made up of 3 main valleys, the Rhymney, Sirhowy and Ebbw, covering an area of approximately 28,000 ha with a mixture of urban, semi-urban and rural communities. The County Borough has the fifth highest population of all local authorities in Wales, with a population of approximately 181,731 (2020 mid-year estimate). Notwithstanding this 75% of the County Borough is used for agriculture and forestry (countryside/rural). It has both an expanding economy and an attractive environment and benefits from excellent transport links with good access to the public transport network including the metro stations on the Rhymney Valley and Ebbw Valley railway lines, whilst having a network of active travel routes that increase accessibility throughout the County Borough. The south of the County Borough has good links to the M4 motorway, whilst the north of the County Borough lies on the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road with its excellent links to the Midlands and West Wales/Ireland.

Figure 3 - Caerphilly County Borough Context Plan

Map of Caerphilly marked with the administrative boundary, settlement areas, rail stations and lines, and Strategic Highway Network

Policy Context

2.4 The Preferred Strategy has been prepared in the context of a wide-ranging suite of national, regional and local policy and legislative documents. These documents set the parameters within which the Preferred Strategy has been prepared and also sets the policy context that the plan needs to be in general conformity with. The principal elements of this context and how they relate to the Preferred Strategy are considered below.

National Context

2.5 The documents considered in this section are national documents that apply across the whole of Wales.

Well-being of Future Generations Act (Wales) 2015 (Well-Being Act)

2.6 The Well-being Act sets the framework for improving the well-being of Wales by ensuring that sustainable development is at the heart of government and public bodies. It aims to make a difference to the lives of people in Wales in relation to seven well-being goals:

Figure 4 - The 7 well-being goals

Circular diagram separated into seven slices: A prosperous Wales, A resilient Wales, A Healthier Wales, A More Equal Wales, A Wales of Cohesive Communities, A Wales of Vibrant Culture and Thriving Welsh Language, A Globally Responsible Wales

2.7 The Well-being Act puts in place a 'sustainable development principle' and places a well-being duty on public bodies, including local authorities, to 'act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs'. Sustainable development is at the heart of the 2RLDP and is a fundamental part of the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal (ISA) that is prepared as part of the process.

2.8 The Well-being Act also requires all public bodies to apply the sustainable development principle in decision making through the adoption of 5-ways of working. These are:

  • Taking account of the long term;
  • Helping to prevent problems occurring or getting worse;
  • Taking an integrated approach;
  • Taking a collaborative approach; and
  • Considering and involving people of all ages and diversity.

2.9 The five ways of working have formed and will continue to form an intrinsic part of the 2RLDP's development.

Planning (Wales) Act 2015

2.10 The Planning (Wales) Act (Planning Act) came into force in July 2015. It sets out a series of legislative changes to deliver reform of the planning system in Wales, to ensure that it is fair, resilient and enables development. The Planning Act addresses 5 key objectives which includes strengthening the Plan-led approach to planning. The Planning Act also introduces a legal basis for the preparation of a National Development Framework (NDF) and Strategic Development Plans (SDP), which are discussed in further detail below.

2.11 The Welsh Government published Future Wales - The National Plan 2040 (Future Wales) which replaced the Wales Spatial Plan. This is considered further in paragraphs 2.22 to 2.24.

2.12 The Planning Act also provides the legal framework for the preparation of SDPs which are intended to provide a regional spatial framework for the future development and use of land within a defined region. The preparation of the SDP for the region is the responsibility of the South-East Wales Corporate Joint Committee, which is currently in its formation stages. The preparation of the 2RLDP is progressing ahead of the preparation of the SDP, although all efforts will be made to ensure that it is in general conformity with the emerging SDP as it is prepared. However a review of the 2RLDP will be required once the SDP is adopted.

Environment (Wales) Act 2016

2.13 The Environment (Wales) Act (Environment Act) legislation to plan for and manage the natural resources of Wales in a more proactive, sustainable and joined up way, providing an iterative framework which ensures that the natural resources are managed in a sustainable manner, and this will be a core consideration in decision-making. It includes an enhanced biodiversity duty which requires public authorities to maintain and enhance biodiversity and to promote the resilience of ecosystems.

2.14 The Environment Act also introduced a requirement for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to produce Area Statements. Caerphilly County Borough is included in the Area Statement for South East Wales and this forms part of the evidence base that underpins the 2RLDP.

Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013

2.15 The Active Travel (Wales) Act (Active Travel Act) aims to promote walking and cycling as an attractive mode of transport for purposeful journeys (i.e. to access work, school or shops and services). It seeks to instil a lasting transformation on how developments are planned to incorporate walking and cycling infrastructure from the outset as well as encouraging long term behavioural change.

2.16 The Active Travel Act makes provision for the mapping of active travel routes and related facilities through the Active Travel Network Maps (ATNM). The ATNM for Caerphilly County Borough forms part of the evidence base for the 2RLDP. The Active Travel Act also requires local authorities in Wales to deliver year on year improvements in active travel routes and facilities to enhance opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to make meaningful journeys without relying on the car.

A More Equal Wales - The Socio-economic Duty Equality Act 2010 (2021)

2.17 The Socio-economic Duty came into force in Wales on the 31 March 2021. The Socio-economic Duty requires specified public bodies, when making strategic decisions such as 'deciding priorities and setting objectives', to consider how their decisions might help to reduce the inequalities associated with socio-economic disadvantage. The Duty requires that 'Due Regard' be given to the need to reduce the inequalities of outcomes resulting from socio- economic disadvantage. The Duty applies to strategic policy development and as such applies to the 2RLDP. The Socio-economic Duty falls within the scope of the ISA undertaken in respect of the 2RLDP and the findings of the appraisal are set out in the ISA documents.

Planning Policy Wales Edition 11 (2021)

2.18 Edition 11 of Planning Policy Wales (PPW) sets out the land use planning policies and overarching sustainable development goals for Wales, revised to contribute towards the statutory well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. PPW sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development and considers a Plan-led approach to be the most effective means of securing sustainable development through the planning system. PPW has a strong focus on promoting placemaking, which is considered instrumental to achieving sustainable places, delivering socially inclusive development and promoting more cohesive communities. Placemaking is deemed to be a holistic approach that 'considers the context, function and relationships between a development site and its wider surroundings'.

2.19 At a strategic level there are four themes which contribute individually to placemaking:

  • Strategic & Spatial Choices;
  • Active & Social Places;
  • Productive & Enterprising Places;
  • Distinctive & Natural Places

2.20 In order to inform the spatial strategy, PPW requires development plans to 'include a spatial strategy covering the lifetime of the plan which establishes a pattern of development improving social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being'. The link between the number of homes due to be provided and the expected job opportunities is clearly emphasised, as is the location of any new development in relation to existing or planned infrastructure. This is important to minimise the need to travel, reduce private car reliance and increase opportunities for cycling, walking and the use of public transport. Development Plans are deemed to 'provide the main means for achieving integration between land use and transport planning'.

2.21 PPW specifies a well-defined search process to identify development land. Sustainable previously developed land and/or underutilised sites within existing settlements should be reviewed first before suitable, sustainable greenfield sites within or on the edge of settlements are considered. In either case, 'a broad balance between housing, community facilities, services and employment opportunities should be promoted. Significant weight is attached to developing active and social places in the form of well-connected cohesive communities.

Future Wales - The National Plan 2040 (Welsh Government, February 2021) (Future Wales)

2.22 Future Wales sets out the 20-year spatial framework for land use in Wales, providing a context for the provision of new infrastructure and growth. Future Wales is the highest tier of development plan in Wales and is focused on solutions to issues and challenges at a national scale. Future Wales sets out where nationally important growth and infrastructure is needed and how the planning system at a national, regional and local level can deliver it. It provides direction for SDPs and LDPs and supports the determination of Developments of National Significance and sits alongside PPW.

2.23 Future Wales 2040 sets out 11 outcomes which collectively are a statement of where the Welsh Government wants Wales to be in 20 years' time. The outcomes are:

A Wales where people live….

  • and work in connected, inclusive and healthy places
  • in vibrant rural places with access to homes, jobs and services
  • in distinctive regions that tackle health and socio-economic inequality through sustainable growth
  • in places with a thriving Welsh Language
  • and work in towns and cities which are a focus and springboard for sustainable growth
  • in places where prosperity, innovation and culture are promoted
  • in places where travel is sustainable
  • in places with world-class digital infrastructure
  • in places that sustainably manage their natural resources and reduce pollution
  • in places with biodiverse, resilient and connected ecosystems
  • in places which are decarbonised and climate resilient.

2.24 Future Wales sets out 18 national policies that apply across the whole of Wales, and 4 regional policies that apply across the South-East Region. Whilst all of the policies will need to be addressed in the 2RLDP, the following policies have particular importance for the Preferred Strategy:

Policy 1 - Where Wales will Grow

Defines the South-East Region as an area of national growth, requiring authorities in the Region to make provision for a level of growth commensurate to the national growth area status. This is re-affirmed in the regional Policy 33 - National Growth Area – Cardiff, Newport and the Valleys, which addresses the development requirements in the region.

Policy 2 - Shaping Urban Growth and Regeneration - Strategic Placemaking,

Sets out the national policy requiring Placemaking to be at th eheart of every development.

Policy 6 - Town Centre First

Sets out a town centre first approach to the delivery of large scale development.

Policy 7- Delivering Affordable Homes

Re-affirms Welsh Government's aspiration to deliver significant levels of affordable housing, including through the planning system.

Policy 8 – Flooding

Supports flood risk management that facilitates sustainable economic and national growth, promoting nature based solutions and seeking to maximise social, economic and environmental benefits from flood risk management infrastructure.

Policy 12 - Regional Connectivity

Sets out the Welsh Government's commitment to improving and eincreasing sustainable transport and requires authorities in the national growth area to plan gorwth to maximise opportunities arising from investment in public transport. In addition Regional Policy 36 – South East Metro provide regional policy basis for the development of the Metro and for Metro focussed developments.

Policy 16 - Heat Networks

Specifically identifies Caerphilly town as a location for the consideration of a district heat network.

Policy 17 - Renewable and Low Carbon Energy and Associated Infrastructure
Policy 18 - Renewable and Low Carbon Energy developments of National Significance

Future Wales has identified Pre-Assessed Areas for Wind Energy, which are areas that have been assessed for landscape and general impact and are considered to be acceptable, in principle, for renewable energy development.

Policy 34 – Green Belts in South Wales

Policy 34 introduces the requirement for a greenbelt in the South-East Wales Region to the north of Cardiff and Newport and the eastern part of the region. The policy requires that the greenbelt and their boundaries be established through the SDP, meaning that LDPs cannot determine the boundaries of the greenbelt within their area. However, the policy also includes the requirement that local authorities should not permit or allocate development in areas shown for consideration for greenbelts until the SDP is Adopted. Whilst Future Wales does include an annotated regional plan that includes an area for the greenbelt, this plan is not on an ordnance survey base and is not to scale so the boundaries associated with this plan cannot be literally interpreted. In addition one of the first considerations that is given in determining greenbelt boundaries is to ensure that settlements affected by the greenbelt have sufficient space to grow in the future, as greenbelts are permanent features that once identified are very difficult to change or rescind.

Building Better Places - The Planning System Delivering Resilient and Brighter Futures: Placemaking and the Covid-19 recovery (WG, July 2020)

2.25 This document sets out the Welsh Government's planning policy priorities to assist in the recovery period after the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. It states that the planning system should be centre stage in the consideration of built and natural environment issues that have arisen from the pandemic. The document highlights the key existing planning policies and tools which should be used by all sectors in the environmental, social, cultural and economic recovery of Wales, recognising the continuing need for Planners to operate within a wider context of priorities and action at all scales. Local Development Plans should actively embrace the placemaking agenda set out in PPW, with each plan unique to an area, identifying its character, strengths and areas which need improving and set out policies on how these areas will be improved.

2.26 The document reinforces Welsh Government's commitment to better places, placemaking, quality outcomes and good design and identifies policy areas that should be the focus of consideration and action, in order to act as a catalyst for a recovery. It identifies key issues which bring individual policy areas together to ensure that action is the most effective. The 2RLDP as a key tool for addressing these issues will play an important role in supporting the post-covid recovery of the County Borough. The 8 issues are:

  • Staying local: creating neighbourhoods;
  • Active travel: exercise and rediscovered transport methods;
  • Revitalising our town centres;
  • Digital places: the lockdown lifeline;
  • Changing working practices: our future need for employment land;
  • Reawakening Wales' tourism and cultural sectors;
  • Green infrastructure, health and well-being and ecological resilience;
  • Improving air quality and soundscapes for better health and well-being;
Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales (2019)

2.27 This Plan sets the foundations for Wales to transition to a low carbon nation; setting out the Welsh Government's approach to increasing efficiency and cutting emissions of greenhouse gasses by at least 80% by 2050. This is vital to meeting the requirements of the Environment Act, thereby contributing to a fairer and healthier society. The five ways of working of the WBFGA guide Wales's decarbonisation action, ensuring effective collaboration and involvement with stakeholders to integrate decarbonisation, limit further effects of climate change and maximise all seven national well-being goals.

2.28 The planning system has an important role in facilitating decarbonisation. The Focus on Placemaking in Planning Policy Wales encourages well-designed development that ensures communities have all the services they need within easy reach. A plethora of other planning related priorities also encourage lower carbon emissions whilst simultaneously creating places where people can live well. These include promoting renewable energy developments, restricting the use of fossil fuels and incorporating active travel principles (walking and cycling) into new developments. Low carbon infrastructure can ultimately help increase efficiency through the way energy is produced and transmitted, the design and construction of buildings and the transportation of people and goods. All Development Plans must ultimately support these strategic decarbonisation goals to facilitate clean energy and build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Regional Context

Cardiff Capital Region City Deal

2.29 The Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) comprises ten local authorities across the South-East Wales region, including Caerphilly CBC. These local authorities are working collaboratively on projects and plans for the area that seek to tackle issues affecting the whole of the region, such as worklessness and poor transportation links. The authorities forming the Cardiff Capital Region have entered into a City Deal to fund projects aimed at boosting the competitiveness of the region over the next 20 years. The CCR City Deal will help boost economic growth by improving transport links, increasing skills, helping people into work and giving businesses the support they need to grow. Strong governance has been established across the region through the Cardiff Capital Region Joint Cabinet. A five-year Strategic Business Plan to leverage maximum economic and social benefits out of the deal was agreed in May 2018 by all 10 local authority partners and the Welsh and Westminster Governments. The Business Plan specifies the regional strategic objectives of the CCR which are:

  • Prosperity and Opportunity - building the capacity of individuals, households, public sector and businesses to meet challenges and grasp opportunity, creating a more productive economy;
  • Inclusion and Equality - a vibrant and sustainable economy which contributes to the well-being and quality of life of the people and communities in the region now and in the future; and
  • Identity, Culture, Community and Sustainability - forging a clear identity and strong reputation as a City Region for trade, innovation and quality of life.

2.30 The CCR are developing a range of funding mechanisms to assist in the development of the region, seeking to address issues of infrastructure and viability. These mechanisms include:

  • Wider Investment Fund, which is broken down into sub-funds specially targeted at specific categories;
  • Challenge Fund, aimed at finding solutions to challenges associated with decarbonisation, improving health and well-being, and transforming communities;
  • Strategic Sites and Premises Fund, to support the region's Industrial and Economic Plan, targeting key projects to deliver the regions objectives;
  • SME Finance Fund, to target projects associate with SME businesses;
  • Innovation Investment Fund, to provide growth capital to innovative businesses in key industry sectors.
Corporate Joint Committees

2.31 Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs) are regional corporate bodies, with broadly similar powers, duties, governance and administration to local authorities. CJCs are made up of the local authorities that constitute their areas and membership of the CJC is made up of the executive leaders of the local authorities within that region. In February 2021 the Welsh Ministers laid Regulations establishing four CJCs, one of which is the south-east region comprising the CCR. The CJC for the south-east region is currently in the process of being set up.

2.32 The CJCs are responsible for strategic development planning (preparing the SDP), regional transport planning (preparing the Regional Transport Plan (RTP)) and promoting the economic well-being of their area.

South Wales Metro

2.33 The Metro was part of the original CCR City Deal, with over half of the City Deal total funding being committed to it. Welsh Government, through Transport for Wales (TfW), operate the metro rail services within the region, whilst local authorities are responsible for bis services and active travel. The Metro is an ambitious project aimed at providing an integrated network of active, bus and rail travel that will improve accessibility and make sustainable transport across and throughout the region easier and faster. The Metro is a key element in Welsh Government policy, with Future Wales setting out the requirement for LDPs to plan for growth that will maximise the benefit of the Metro funding.

2.34 Metro improvements have taken place and the second phase of improvements to the Core Valley Line shas commenced. These improvements include track and station improvements to accommodate longer and more frequent trains along the Rhymney Valley line. The improvements are now expected to be completed in 2024.

2.35 Whilst the 2 phases of improvements have exhausted most of the funding for the Metro, there are a large number of additional projects that have been put forward for consideration for future tranches of Metro funding, should these be made available. These projects are collectively referred to as Metro Plus schemes and a number of schemes in the County Borough have been proposed.

Regional Collaboration

2.36 Due to its location at the heart of the CCR it is important that Caerphilly CBC collaborates with its adjoining authorities, as well as with the other three authorities that comprise the Cardiff Capital Region. Following the abolition of the County Council's as part of the 1996 local government reorganisation, the 10 local authorities of the CCR set up the South-East Wales Strategic Planning Group (SEWSPG) that has continued up to the present day. SEWSPG's role was to consider policy issues that affected the region and provide feedback to Welsh Government on a variety of issues. Consequently it is clear that the whole region has a track record of working collaboratively from a planning policy perspective.

2.37 As part of the preparation of the 2RLDP it is a requirement that Caerphilly CBC liaises and collaborates with the CCR authorities, particularly in respect of cross-boundary issues. This continues to happen through the SEWSPG meetings and through direct liaison with all of the authorities. However, for this round of LDP reviews the local authorities have taken collaboration a step further and, where appropriate given each local authority's progress on their LDP preparation, joint collaboration and procurement of evidence base and other work has been undertaken. To date Caerphilly CBC has worked collaboratively with other authorities in respect of:

  • The development of a development viability model for site-specific and high level viability assessments (all 10 CCR authorities and local authorities in the Mid and West Wales Regions);
  • Larger than Local Regional Employment Study (Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Torfaen and Newport – looking at the regional employment market);
  • Procurement of a consultation database system for the LDP (Caerphilly, Vale of Glamorgan and RCT);
  • Regional Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Assessment (Caerphilly, Blaenau Gwent, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen);
  • Strategic Flood Consequences Assessment (All 10 CCR authorities).

2.38 Collaboration and liaison with the other local authorities will continue as the 2RLDP progresses and where opportunities occur for joint commissioning or collaboration on issues, Caerphilly CBC will continue to contribute positively towards them.

Gwent Well-being Plan

2.39 The Caerphilly Public Service Board (Caerphilly PSB) has been amalgamated with the other Public Service Boards (PSBs) in Gwent to form the Gwent Public Service Board (Gwent PSB). The Gwent PSB has the responsibility for preparing the Well-being Plan for the Gwent area, which will cover Caerphilly County Borough. The Gwent Well-being Assessment, which is the basis for preparing the Well-being Plan, was published on 5 May 2022. The Well-being Plan is currently being prepared.

Local Context

2.40 A key element in delivering national and regional targets and outcomes is the role that the Council takes in interpreting high level guidance into practical and meaningful change in the County Borough. The Council has prepared a number of corporate strategies that address how it does its business and how it seeks to deliver on the targets and requirements that are set upon it. Whilst not all of the corporate documents are relevant to planning there are a number of key documents that the 2RLDP will need to take into account as part of its preparation.

The Caerphilly We Want 2018 – 2023 (Well-being Plan)

2.41 As part of the requirements of the Well-being of Future Generations Act the Council, together with public sector partners as the Caerphilly PSB, has prepared and adopted the corporate well-being plan for the County Borough. The Well-being Plan encompasses the 7 well-being goals and provides a framework for all public sector bodies to deliver the Sustainable Development Principle through adopting the 5-ways of working.

2.42 As part of its preparation, the Well-being Plan identified a significant number of issues that needed to be addressed in the County Borough. These issues were condensed and prioritised into a set of 4 objectives, under which physical actions were identified to address the relative issues. The Well-being Plan objectives are:

  • Positive Change: This objective relates to the way in which the public sector bodies work to address the issues. This objective looks to ensure that all public sector bodies work together to deliver their own requirements;
  • Positive Start: This objective seeks to enable all children to have the best start in life, removing inequalities in education and seeking to protect children from adverse childhood experiences;
  • Positive People: This objective seeks to empower and enable all residents in the County Borough to achieve their potential, removing obstacles to development and providing lifelong education and training;
  • Positive Places: This objective seeks to build resilient and sustainable communities with access to affordable housing, jobs and meaningful open space.

2.43 This is a key document in delivering sustainable development, which is a requirement for the Council and, correspondingly, for the 2RLDP. The 2RLDP will be drafted to reflect the Well-being objectives (particularly the first, third and fourth objectives which are more directly related to planning policy).

#Team Caerphilly: Better Together 2018-2023

2.44 Team Caerphilly - Better Together is a strategic programme of "whole-authority" transformational change that will be delivered through a new operating model for the way that the Council provides its services. The core of the change is the new mantra of "Social Heart and Commercial Head" and the strategic programme will be delivered through a series of themes:

  • Creating the right organisational Culture;
  • Encouraging and supporting Innovation;
  • Embracing new technologies - Digital First;
  • Establishing a programme of structured Service Reviews;
  • Adopting a commercial approach - Commercialisation;
  • Engaging and working with our communities - Community Engagement;
  • Actively seeking opportunities for Collaboration;
  • Resources and capacity; and
  • Ensuring that the Council has a workforce that is fit for the future - Workforce Planning.

2.45 The themes will underpin the re-shaping of the County Borough's communities by an integrated and focussed programme of transformation that includes:

  • The physical improvement of council housing stock;
  • Implementing a shared ambitions strategy;
  • Implementing the second phase of the 21st Century Schools programme;
  • Delivering the Digital Strategy and introducing digital transformation;
  • Provision of a new Children's Centre;
  • Delivery of the Sports and Active Recreation Strategy;
  • Introduction of an integrated "one-stop shop";
  • A programme of economic, social and environmental investments;
  • Making best use of financial resources.

2.46 A Strategic Action Plan has been prepared that will assist in the management of the transformation journey and will also provide monitoring to assess the level of progress.

Climate Emergency and The Decarbonisation Strategy

2.47 In June 2019, in light of the increasing climate change issues that are facing us all, the Council formally declared a Climate Emergency. The Climate Emergency relates to the way that the Council itself does business, rather than specifically relating to nature of development. In declaring the Climate Emergency, the Council has committed to:

  • Becoming net carbon neutral by 2030, and
  • Developing a clear decarbonisation strategy that allows the Council to meet the carbon neutral target.

2.48 In November 2020 the Council formally adopted its decarbonisation strategy entitled Reduce, Produce, Offset and Buy. The strategy is naturally focussed on energy use and production and sets out an energy hierarchy to deliver decarbonisation:

  • REDUCE: Reducing energy use is the first step in the energy hierarchy. There are many ways in which the authority can further reduce its impact on the environment and specifically reduce the volume of carbon emissions it emits
  • PRODUCE: Generating its own "green" electricity and heat at the point of use will reduce the Council's carbon emissions and will bring the added benefit of offsetting grid demand and reducing system losses associated with grid supplied electricity.
  • OFFSET: In order to achieve net zero carbon the authority will need to offset any carbon emissions. There are a number of ways that the Council can do this, including tree planting, rewilding and sustainable drainage.
  • BUY: The new way of thinking required for the Council to achieve its net zero carbon goal will also focus on how it purchases goods and services. Everything the Council purchases has embedded carbon associated with it and this will need to be considered in the procurement process.

2.49 In order to deliver the objectives of the Decarbonisation Strategy two supporting documents have also been prepared:

  • ACTION PLAN: Implementing the objectives of the Decarbonisation Strategy will require a myriad of actions to be taken forward by a wide range of stakeholders. The Action Plan sets out these actions in more detail and focuses activity around target areas.
  • ENERGY PROSPECTUS: The Energy Prospectus sets out the key areas in which the Council will focus that could result in major reductions in carbon emissions, highlighting key energy projects that the authority is investigating.
A Foundation for Success 2018 – 2023 (Regeneration Strategy)

2.50 In July 2018 the Council Adopted its Regeneration Strategy "A Foundation for Success 2018 - 2023". This document provides the overarching framework for delivering regeneration across the County Borough by providing the platform for the continuing transformation of the County Borough. The strategy identified 4 high level objectives, namely:

  • Supporting People: This objective seeks to address issues that the residents of the County Borough face in achieving their potential;
  • Supporting Business: This objective seeks to address issues that residents have in respect of gaining employment as well as assisting existing and new businesses to develop and grow;
  • Supporting Quality of Life: This objective seeks to address the issues that affect the quality of life for residents including the provision of appropriate affordable housing, maintaining the natural environment and providing meaningful open spaces and ensuring appropriate placemaking through development;
  • Connecting People and Places: This objective seeks to address issues of accessibility and connectivity throughout the County Borough, including physical transport and digital connectivity.

2.51 A Foundation for Success was the overarching framework for the regeneration for the County Borough and did not include detailed regeneration projects or developments. To support the Strategy, and to provide more detail of the potential projects within the County Borough a series of 5 Masterplans have been developed for specific areas within the County Borough:

  • Caerphilly Basin Masterplan (covers the Caerphilly town, the Aber Valley, Llanbradach, Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen);
  • Ystrad Mynach Masterplan (covers the greater Ystrad Mynach area including Nelson);
  • Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area Masterplan (covers the Heads of the Valleys area from Rhymney down to Bargoed);
  • Lower Ebbw and Sirhowy Valleys Masterplan (covers the lower Ebbw valley from Newbridge down to Risca/Pontymister and the Sirhowy Valley from Wyllie down to Wattsville);
  • Greater Blackwood Masterplan (covers the Blackwood Oakdale , Crumlin and Maesycwmmer areas).

2.52 The masterplans set out more detail on the projects and schemes for the regeneration of their areas that will deliver the objectives of A Foundation for Success. The Regeneration Strategy and the Masterplans are intended to cover a five-year period and will be reviewed every five years.

A Foundation for Success: Delivering Prosperity after Covid

2.53 The Strategic Vision for the Regeneration of the County Borough was clouded throughout 2020 by 2 significant events Covid-19 and Brexit and the significant economic impact of both continues to persist. In addition to the well-documented impact of the pandemic on public health, its effect combined with the impact of Brexit on the economy has been profound.

2.54 In response the Council established a Strategic Recovery Framework to support the Council and the wider County Borough to recover whilst continuing to support the Wellbeing Objectives set out in the Corporate Plan 2018 - 23. The economic recovery framework 'Delivering Prosperity after Covid' was prepared to deliver the strategic objective of Supporting Business and the framework had three, distinct phases as follows:

  • The Restart phase -an initial 'led by Government' phase;
  • The Revive phase - tied to testing, potential vaccine availability and public confidence and behaviour; and
  • The Renew phase - which builds on the Council approved Wellbeing and Place Shaping Framework which provides a list of potential civic investments across Caerphilly in excess of £231m that align explicitly with the Council's adopted Wellbeing Objectives, and which will be delivered in the short to medium term.

2.55 Long-term investments in infrastructure such as that proposed within the Place Shaping Framework, hold the potential to rebalance the local economy, enhance productivity and create jobs and opportunities across Caerphilly County Borough, which is of great importance as we support our communities to rebuild a sustainable and resilient future post Covid.

Housing Strategy: An Agenda for Change 2021 – 2026 (Housing Strategy)

2.56 The Housing Strategy sets out the intentions of the Council and its partners to meet a wide range of housing objectives. The strategy includes a long-term vision for housing in the County Borough incorporating the themes of affordability, supply, quality, management, sustainability, resilience and health and wellbeing. The vision is underpinned by 5 strategic priorities:

  • Creating better choices - focusing on person centred solutions;
  • Creating great places to live - creating sustainable and liveable places;
  • Creating healthy and vibrant communities - providing advice, support and solutions across all tenures;
  • Delivering new homes - improving the delivery of new homes; and
  • Supporting specialist housing needs - supporting independence and creating positive pathways.

2.57 In addition to the five priorities, the strategy includes the following cross-cutting themes that reflect the values and commitments of the Council and its partners:

  • Sustainable development - achieving a better and more sustainable future;
  • Health and wellbeing - improving health outcomes and promoting wellbeing; and
  • Equality, diversity and inclusion - providing services without barriers, which respect difference and promote inclusion.

2.58 The Housing Strategy is accompanied by a delivery plan, which is set over the same period as the strategy. The delivery plan outlines a range of actions developed by the Council and its partners, under each of the 5 strategic priorities, to realise the long-term housing vision. The delivery plan will be monitored and reviewed by the Caerphilly Affordable Homes Partnership.

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