Pre-Deposit Plan (Preferred Strategy)

Ended on the 30 November 2022
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5 Strategic Growth and Strategy Options


5.1 A key part of the preferred strategy is the consideration of the level of population that the County Borough will accommodate at the end of the plan period. The difference between the current population and the population at the end of the plan period will provide the basis for identifying the number of dwellings that will need to be provided, the number of jobs that are likely to be required, and the likely infrastructure, services and community facilities that will be needed to meet the needs of all residents.

5.2 In order to consider the implications of the changes not only in population levels, but also in the population structure for the County Borough, a number of alternative growth options have been assessed. Population change is comprised of a mixture of two factors, natural change (the difference between the numbers of births and deaths in a year) and migration rates (the difference between those who move into the County Borough and those who move out). Options for population change are projected using altered information or assumptions in respect of one, or both, of natural change and migration rates.

5.3 Overall, 11 population options were considered for the 2RLDP strategy, 3 based on the 2018 Welsh Government population projections, 4 based on migration assumptions, 2 based on housebuilding rates, 1 based on economic population and 1 employment based. A full summary of the options and their consideration are set out in the Council's Evidence Base Document: "Population and Housing Growth Options".

Key issues in considering the Population and Housing Projections

5.4 Both the LDP Manual and PPW advise that the latest Welsh Government Projections be considered first in this process. For this process the Council has considered the 2018 based Welsh Government Principal Projection (Principal Projection).

5.5 Population change is a derivative of the birth rate, death rate and migration levels in the County Borough. The 2018 based Welsh Government Principal Projection projects, for the first time, a higher number of deaths than births, which results in negative natural change, i.e. population loss. This has not happened previously in the County Borough's history, with all previous years seeing positive natural change contributing to population growth. Negative natural change means that the County Borough would reduce in population if there was no net migration.

5.6 Despite the negative natural change the Principal Projection identifies an increase in population due to migration over the plan period (2020 to 2035) of just over 1800 people, representing a 1% increase. Despite the increase in overall population, analysis of the population structure at the start and end of the plan period identifies that the economic population (working-age people) would decline by nearly 2,900 people, and the comparison also identifies a decline in children (0-15) over the plan period of approximately 2,700 children.

5.7 The loss of economic population and of the child age population would have very significant implications for the economy of the County Borough, with a reducing workforce and fewer younger people coming through to employment age. This means that the County Borough could easily be planning for economic contraction rather than growth. The loss in population in these age groups could also have very significant implications for services and infrastructure, particularly schools, with significantly reducing levels of school age children.

5.8 Caerphilly County Borough is located within the Cardiff Capital Region which, through its City Deal, is seeking to increase the number of jobs in the region by 25,000. In addition it is also located within the National Growth Area identified in Future Wales, which seeks a commensurate level of growth to be catered for in this area. A fundamental part of any strategy that seeks to satisfy these requirements is a population that exhibits growth, with growth in the economic population in particular in order to achieve the jobs targets. Consequently, a strategy will only meet the requirements of Future Wales and CCR aspiration if it identifies an appropriate level of growth in population (including economic population).

Household Projections

5.9 Household projections provide estimates of the future numbers of households and of the numbers of people who live in them. They are based on population projections and a range of assumptions about household composition and characteristics. The number of households is converted into a number of dwellings by applying a vacancy rate, to allow for vacant properties and churn in the market.

5.10 This has been undertaken for all 11 of the projections and housing options identified. The full projections are set out in the Population and Housing Growth Options document.

Assessment of the Alternative Growth Scenarios

5.11 A total of 11 growth options have been considered for the 2RLDP. The summaries of each of the outcomes of each of the options is set out in Table 1:

Table 1: Summary of the outcomes of the Growth Options considered for 2RLDP

Scenarios (incorporating Membership Rate adjustments and adjusted for latest MYEs)

Population Change 2020-2035

% Population Change 2020-2035

HH Change 2020-2035 2020-2035

% HH Change

Dwellings per annum

Total Dwellings

Change in working age population


WG 2018-based Principal Projection









WG 2018-based High Population









WG 2018-based Low Population









Zero Net Migration









Long Term Average Migration (19 Year)









Long Term Average Migration (10 Year)









South-East Wales average migration









Continuation of adopted LDP









Long term housebuilding rates









CCR Growth in Working age population









Oxford Economics Employment Forecast scenario








5.12 The expectation arising from Caerphilly's inclusion within Future Wales's National Growth Area designation and the economic aspiration of CCR mean that any strategy proposed for 2RLDP will need to ensure a viable and sustainable economic population and demonstrate growth. As a result of this only four of the options have been considered for the 2RLDP strategy. These 4 Options are:

  • Option A - WG 2018 based Principal Projection;
  • Option H - Continuation of adopted LDP;
  • Option I - Long term housebuilding rates; and
  • Option J - CCR Working Age Population Growth.

5.13 The Growth Options have been subject of engagement through the LDP seminar series. As a consequence of this work the LDP Focus Group (the group with the responsibility for making recommendations to Council in respect of the 2RLDP matters) recommended that Option J - CCR Working Age Population Growth scenario be used as the basis for the emerging plan.

Economic Requirements

5.14 Given that the Growth Option chosen for the emerging plan is based upon the CCR aspirations for economic growth, it is important that the plan makes provision to accommodate a sufficient level of growth from an employment perspective. The Council commissioned 2 studies, a larger than local study that considers the regional market and a local employment land review that considers the availability of existing sites and the amount of new land that would need to be identified through the emerging plan. These documents have informed the employment land requirements for the 2RLDP having regard for Growth Option J. The studies identify a requirement for the provision of an additional 39.6 hectares of employment land to be allocated to meet the employment requirements, although an additional 4.9 hectares of land is being identified to address the shortage of available land in the south of the County Borough. Consequently, a total of 44.5 hectares of land are identified to meet the overall employment requirement for the County Borough.

Policy PS1: The Level of Growth for the 2RLDP

PS1 The 2RLDP adopts the growth levels set out in the Option J - CCR Working Age Population Growth scenario.

The 2RLDP will plan for an increase in population of approximately 10,700 people, with an increase in the economic population of around 4,100 people.

Strategy Options

5.15 Having identified the level of growth the next step was to consider how the level of growth could be appropriately distributed throughout the County Borough. A total of 6 alternative strategy options have been considered as part of the process, reflecting the issues facing the County Borough and the national and regional policy framework. The consideration and assessment of the strategy options is set out in the Evidence Base Document "Strategy Options Assessment". The six strategy options considered were:

Strategy Option 1: Continuation of the LDP Strategy

5.16 This would see the continuation of the strategy currently contained within the Adopted LDP. The strategy guides development within a broad strategic framework underpinning the principles of sustainable development. The County Borough was divided into three strategic areas, each with their own strategic development policies. These strategic areas are the Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area (HoVRA), Northern Connections Corridor (NCC) and the Southern Connections Corridor (SCC).

Strategy Option 2: Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area Focus

5.17 This strategy seeks to maximise development opportunities in the Heads of the Valleys Regeneration Area to promote economic growth, broaden the range and choice of housing and to maximise the benefits from the major investment and improvement in the Metro and the A465.

Strategy Option 3: Key Strategic Site

5.18 This strategy option would see the allocation of a strategic site at Maesycwmmer to accommodate a significant proportion of new housing development, alongside the development of an access road and improved strategic transport link. Additional new development would be primarily focused on the Greater Blackwood and Greater Ystrad Mynach areas, together with the Lower Ebbw and Sirhowy Valleys, on the most appropriate and sustainable sites that are well related to the rail network and public transport interchanges.

Strategy Option 4: Metro Investment Focus

5.19 This strategy option would see the allocation of land aimed at maximising the benefits arising from the significant investment in the South-East Wales Metro, maximising opportunities arising in and around key public transport nodes including the rail stations along the Rhymney and Ebbw Rail Lines and the major bus stations at Blackwood and Nelson.

Strategy Option 5: Town Centre First

5.20 This strategy option would focus new development close to the Principal Towns of Caerphilly, Ystrad Mynach, Blackwood Risca/Pontymister and Bargoed and the Local Centres of Bedwas, Newbridge, Nelson and Rhymney, the proximity to one of the centres being the principal consideration in allocating new development sites.

Strategy Option 6: Caerphilly Basin Focus

5.21 This strategy seeks to maximise development opportunities in the Southern Connections Corridor to promote economic growth and maximise the benefits of the significant investment in the regeneration of Caerphilly town.

5.22 The 6 strategy options were the subject of the LDP engagement process through the seminar series, where the options were discussed. The outcome from the engagement was reported to the LDP Focus Group. The LDP Focus Group considered the outcomes of the engagement process and recommended that the following be used as the preferred strategy for the 2RLDP.             

Policy PS2: The Preferred Strategy for the 2RLDP

PS2 The 2RLDP adopts a hybrid strategy, comprised of elements of Strategy Option 3: Key Strategic Site; Strategy Option 4: The Metro Investment Focus and Strategy Option 5: Town Centre First.

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