Pre-Deposit Plan (Preferred Strategy)

Ended on the 30 November 2022
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7 The Preferred Strategy

Refining the Preferred Strategy

7.1 The preferred Strategy for the 2RLDP is a hybrid between 3 different options. Consequently, it is necessary to refine the strategy to identify the elements from each strategy option that will be combined to deliver a cohesive overall strategy for the plan.

Areas of Growth

7.2 The Preferred Strategy is heavily influenced by two specific strategy options that that adhere to policy considerations outlined in Future Wales, namely Option 4: Metro Investment Focus (Future Wales Policy 12 - Regional Connectivity, Policy 36 – South East Metro), and Option 5 – Town Centre First (Future Wales Policy 6 – Town Centre First).

7.3 The Metro Investment Focus requires that development be located close to sustainable transport links, primarily the major bus and rail stations across the County Borough. The rail stations within the County Borough are located on the Rhymney Valley Line, which runs up the western side of the County Borough from Caerphilly to Rhymney, and the Ebbw Vale Line that runs up the eastern side of the County Borough from Risca through to Newbridge and Crumlin. It should be noted that Blackwood is not located on a rail line and Nelson, whilst on the Cwmbargoed line, does not have passenger services. However, both have bus centres that would include them within the metro focus. In addition to these two centres, Bargoed and Caerphilly also have bus stations.

7.4 The Town Centre First Policy seeks to locate development within and close to existing towns and cities across the region. In terms of the County Borough this translates to locating development in close proximity to both the County Borough's Principal Town Centres and its Local Centres.

7.5 The Principal Town Centres and the Local Centres all have rail or major bus stations, with the exception of Bedwas which is in close proximity to Caerphilly, and, as such, both options indicate a requirement to identify new growth and development in proximity to those centres.

7.6 Normally the plan would identify strategy areas within which certain levels of growth and development would be expected. However, the linear nature of the metro stations and the distribution of the Principal and Local centres do not lend themselves to forming cohesive spatial strategy areas. Consequently the Preferred Strategy does not identify spatial strategy areas within the County Borough.

7.7 In the absence of defined spatial strategy areas the distribution of new development will be defined around the Principal and Local Centres, which are identified in the Settlement Hierarchy.

Policy PS3: Settlement Hierarchy

PS3 The following settlement hierarchy is identified for the County Borough. New development and growth will be focussed on the Principal and Local Centres identified in the following settlement Hierarchy to support their role and function:

Principal Centres

  • Bargoed
  • Blackwood
  • Ystrad Mynach
  • Risca/Pontymister
  • Caerphilly

Local Centres

  • Rhymney
  • Nelson
  • Newbridge
  • Bedwas

Residential Settlements

  • All other settlements located within defined settlement boundaries

Rural Settlements

  • All other settlements located outside defined settlement boundaries

Policy PS4: Areas of Growth

PS4 Growth and new development will be targeted towards the Principal and Local Centres

Development in Residential Settlements will be allowed where it accords with the role and function of the settlement and is based on sound placemaking principles and promotes sustainable transport

Development in Rural Settlements will not normally be permitted unless the development is small scale and comprises infilling of an otherwise built-up frontage or constitutes logical rounding off.

The Strategic Site

7.8 The next issue is to consider whether the strategy should identify a strategic site, i.e. a site that, because of its size, would be essential to the delivery of the strategy and any failure in delivery would undermine the delivery of the strategy. Only 1 site of significance has been submitted to the Council for consideration under the Candidate Sites process, and that is the Parc Gwernau site at Maesycwmmer. The site is comprised of 212 hectares of land to the south of the existing settlement of Maesycwmmer and is capable of accommodating approximately 2,700 dwellings with ancillary infrastructure and community facilities. The key element of the site is the provision of a new access road that will also provide a strategic highway improvement to alleviate congestion issues on the A472 through Maesycwmmer.

7.9 The Maesycwmmer site is a very large site in respect of development within the County Borough and it would be unrealistic to propose that the whole development would be delivered within the 2RLDP plan period. Consequently the site would need to be delivered across two development plan periods. This will mean that, if identified in the plan the 2RLDP will need to identify the proportion of the site that will be delivered up to 2035, with the remainder being delivered under a subsequent plan.

7.10 The question is whether the Preferred Strategy should identify a significant level of development that would constitute a strategic site, an amount that, if not delivered, would undermine the delivery of the strategy, or whether to identify a reduced level of development that would mean that the delivery of the strategy is not wholly reliant on the allocation coming forward during the plan period. The hybrid strategy includes the Strategic Site Option as part of the overall Preferred Strategy and as such the site at Maesycwmmer should be included in the 2RLDP.

7.11 The method of funding the road has significant implications in how the development is phased and progressed and, critically, what point in the development the access road is delivered in full. The first option, with the Council providing funding to deliver the road at the start of the development would enable the development to be delivered in a general north-south progression, with the benefit of the road being in place from the beginning of the development, delivering the strategic improvement from the outset.

7.12 The second option, with the funding for the road being solely derived from the development, would mean that a significant proportion of the development would need to be delivered before the necessary capital is generated from the scheme to deliver the road in its entirety. In this option it is likely that development would commence at both the northern and southern ends of the proposed development and development would progress from both ends and meet in the centre of the site at the end of the development. This would have particular implications for the provision of the road as it would be unlikely to be delivered until the latter stages of the development, possibly beyond the plan period for the 2RLDP. It would also mean that the additional traffic generated by the development would need to be accommodated on the existing transport network, placing additional strain on the existing network, which would require improvements to be made to the strategic highway network.

7.13 Identifying the Maesycwmmer site as a Strategic Site would enable the 2RLDP to identify a significantly greater level of development on the site than if the site were included as a normal allocation. The provision of a greater level of development means that more of the community and infrastructure benefit will be delivered during the plan period, benefitting the existing and new residents of Maesycwmmer earlier in the development.

7.14 On balance the best approach for the site is to deliver as much of the development as is reasonable during the plan period. This scenario provides the maximum benefit from the site during the plan period, contributing significantly towards the delivery of the dwelling requirement as well as providing infrastructure and an improvement to the strategic highway network that will assist with bus movements through Maesycwmmer. Therefore the 2RLDP will allocate the Maesycwmmer site as a Strategic Site to deliver approximately 1,200 dwellings (out of a total of approximately 2,700 dwellings) during the plan period. In addition the site will be identified in the Preferred Strategy as a Strategic Site.

Policy PS5: Strategic Site, Maesycwmmer

PS5 Land at Parc Gwernau

A housing-led site that will deliver 1,200 of a total of 2,700 dwellings during the plan period with ancillary and associated infrastructure, including the provision of a new access road that will provide a strategic highway network improvement for the A472.

Key Land Use Issues

7.15 Chapter 3 sets out the key land use issues that the 2RLDP will need to address in order for the plan to be successful. The Policies that follow reflect the main strategic issues that are facing the County Borough and provide the overarching policy framework for addressing them.

7.16 The issue of climate change and its implications are a key consideration for any development plan and mitigating for climate change effects as well as reducing emissions contributing toward climate change are fundamental elements in any development strategy.

Policy PS6: Climate Change

PS6 All development proposals must make a positive contribution towards addressing the causes of, and adapting to the impacts of, climate change by demonstrating that the design of the development has taken account of the following:

A The proposals maximise resource efficiency and utilise sustainable construction techniques using local materials;

B The proposals promote low/zero carbon energy requirements through reducing energy use and promoting energy efficiency;

C The proposals maximise the opportunities for renewable energy technology and repowering;

D The proposals maximise the opportunities for co-locating developments and promote sustainable transport, in accordance with the sustainable transport hierarchy;

E The proposals are designed to be resilient to, and mitigate for, the impacts of climate change;

F The proposals promote decarbonisation;

G The development is not in an area at risk of flooding arising from watercourses, groundwater or surface water, whilst maximising water efficiency and minimising adverse impacts upon the quality of water resources;

H The proposals promote resilience through maximising the opportunities for enhancing green infrastructure as part of the design of the development.

7.17 Decarbonisation, as a measure to tackle the contributors towards global warming and to mitigate against its effects, is a key strand in Welsh Government policy on development. The generation of energy from renewable and zero carbon sources is an essential part of delivering decarbonisation. Future Wales requires Council's to be proactive in delivering renewable energy generation and identifies Pre-Assessed Areas throughout Wales where large scale wind energy is, in principle, acceptable and where the principle of landscape change is accepted. On a more local scale the Council will support and encourage appropriate schemes for renewable energy generation and will also work together with energy providers to deliver appropriate schemes. To reflect this the Preferred Strategy includes a policy to support the delivery of renewable energy.

Policy PS7: Renewable Energy Generation

PS7 The Council will support and promote schemes for the generation of energy from renewable and zero carbon sources.

7.18 The delivery of Sustainable Development is a duty on all local authorities throughout Wales. Sustainable development and the creation of sustainable places promotes active and healthy lifestyles and contributes significantly to well-being. Delivery of sustainable development is underpinned by placemaking, and the plan will be underpinned by sound placemaking principles.

Policy PS8: Placemaking Principles

PS8 All development proposals must enhance well-being through the protection and enhancement of the economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of the County Borough and contribute towards the following strategic placemaking principles:

A creating a rich mix of uses;

B providing a variety of housing types and tenures;

C building places at a walkable scale, with homes, local facilities and public transport within walking distance of each other;

D increasing population density, with development built at urban densities that can support public transport and local facilities;

E establishing a permeable network of streets, with a hierarchy that informs the nature of development;

F promoting a plotbased approach to development, which provides opportunities for the development of small plots, including for custom and selfbuilders; and

G integrating green infrastructure, informed by the planning authority's Green Infrastructure Assessment.

7.19 The requirements for Councils to deliver both the biodiversity duty and the duty to deliver sustainable development means that green and blue infrastructure is an important consideration in any development proposals and must be a fundamental element of their design. The Council must maintain and enhance green and blue infrastructure in their decisions and the 2RLDP will need to ensure that green and blue infrastructure enhancement is at the very heart of the plan. Consequently the Preferred Strategy sets out an overarching policy under which detailed policies will be introduced through the Deposit 2RLDP to deliver the Council's duties. Developers will, therefore, need to show that opportunities for green and blue infrastructure have been maximised as part of any development proposals.

Policy PS9: Green and Blue Infrastructure

PS9 All development proposals must protect, maintain, and enhance green and blue infrastructure assets by promoting the following key functions:

A) Biodiversity, Ecosystems & Habitat;

B) Landscape & Quality of Place;

C) Greenspace Provision;

D) Connectivity;

E) Water Management and embedding SuDS principles into development proposals from the outset.

7.20 Employment is the principal issue that the 2RLDP will need to address to deliver the Preferred Strategy, which is based upon the County Borough achieving a growth in population and, in particular, economic population, to be in a position to deliver the CCR targets of delivering 3.7% growth in jobs (amounting 25,000 new jobs in the region). To do this the 2RLDP will need to identify land for employment development that will assist in addressing the economic pressures that have arisen from the impacts of Covid-19, Brexit and natural changes in the economy which are predicted to adversely impact on the County Borough's largest employment sector, namely manufacturing. In addition the 2RLDP will also seek to expand and enhance the town centre and visitor offer to assist in generating economic growth for the County Borough.

Policy PS10: Managing Employment Growth

PS10 Provision will be made for 44.5 hectares of land to be identified for employment use in order to meet the employment requirements of the plan period. This provision will be met from existing and new sites that accord with the principle of locating development in close proximity to Principal and Local Centres and Metro nodes

7.21 Tourism makes an important contribution to the local economy, and there is significant investment planned to enhance the tourist offer in the County Borough. Regeneration activities are focussing on the enhancement of tourism generally, along with widening and encouraging tourist related activities and the development of visitor accommodation. A key element in delivering an improved visitor offer is increasing accessibility through sustainable transport, including metro improvements and local active improvements which link tourist assets together.

Policy PS11: Managing Tourism Growth

PS11 The Council will seek to expand and enhance the tourist potential of the County Borough through:

A The identification of appropriate land for tourism related uses

B Facilitating the development of visitor accommodation in appropriate locations

C Improving accessibility to visitor attractions through sustainable transport and active travel

D The protection and enhancement of the County Borough's natural and historic assets that give the County Borough its unique identity

7.22 It is essential that the 2RLDP makes provision for sufficient housing, of the appropriate type, size and affordability, and in the right places to enable the County Borough to attract and sustain the level of population growth that will support and deliver the economic aspirations of the plan.

7.23 The 2RLDP must make provision for sufficient residential land to meet the future needs of communities for both market and affordable housing. The Preferred Strategy supports a housing requirement of 6,750 dwellings over the plan period, or 450 dwellings per annum, based on the CCR Working age population growth scenario. This is a dwelling led scenario, which would support growth in the working age population at a level that would accord with the economic growth aspirations of the Cardiff Capital Region and would require a level of housing that is realistic but ambitious in respect of past trends, reinforcing Caerphilly County Borough's position within a National Growth Area in Future Wales and assisting in the delivery of affordable housing. The Population and Housing Growth Options Paper provides a more detailed assessment of the scenarios considered and the justification for the preferred growth option.

7.24 As required by the Development Plans Manual (Edition 3), an allowance of 10% has been added to the housing requirement to allow for choice and flexibility, as there may be unforeseen circumstances that affect the delivery of housing allocations. This flexibility allowance may be subject to change in the Deposit 2RLDP following the allocation of sites in accordance with the Preferred Strategy.

7.25 The provision of 7,425 new dwellings will be delivered by a number of components of the Housing Land Supply, as set out within Table 3 below. Detailed information on how each of the components has been derived can be found in the Housing Land Supply and Affordable Housing Target Evidence Base Paper.

Table 3: Housing Requirement Calculation

Component of Supply


Number of units

Total Completions

Large and small completions in 2020/21


Units under construction

As of base date of 1st April 2021


Units with planning permission

Only those sites considered deliverable in the plan period (large sites only)


Applications awaiting determination

Only those sites acceptable in principle (large sites only)


Large windfall sites

Based on 73 units per annum average for the last 10 years of the plan period


Small windfall sites

Based on 60 units per annum for the remaining 14 years of the plan period




Housing Requirement


Housing Provision

Housing Requirement plus Flexibility Allowance(10%)


New allocations required

(Housing Provision – Total)


7.26 The Deposit 2RLDP will include a housing trajectory, which will set out the anticipated housing delivery rates over the plan period. This will form the basis for the future monitoring of the delivery of the components of housing supply against targets.

Policy PS12: Managing Housing Growth

PS12 Provision will be made for land to be allocated to accommodate a total of 7,425 dwellings to meet a housing requirement of 6,750 dwellings for the plan period, including an appropriate flexibility allowance.

7.27 The Council aims to ensure that everyone in the County Borough has access to a good quality home that meets their housing requirements and the provision of a range of housing that is affordable to the local population is vital in achieving this. A shortfall of affordable housing is a significant issue facing residents in the County Borough. Indeed, the 2018 Local Housing Market Assessment (LHMA) indicates that there is a shortfall of 282 affordable units per annum for the five-year period 2018-2023.

7.28 The target of at least 1,360 affordable dwellings reflects the number of units that it is expected can be delivered across the County Borough through the use of planning obligations and conditions. The components that contribute to the affordable housing target are summarised in Table 4 below. Further details can be found in the Housing Land Supply and Affordable Housing Target Evidence Base Paper.

Table 4: Affordable Housing Target Contribution

Components of Affordable Housing Target

Number of units


Total Completions (up to 31st March 2021)



Units under construction



Units with planning permission



Applications awaiting determination



Potential contribution from new allocations



Potential contribution from windfall sites




7.29 A policy setting out site size thresholds and area specific targets based on a robust assessment of viability will be included within the Deposit 2RLDP following the completion of an update to the Affordable Housing Viability Assessment. The Deposit 2RLDP will also be supported by an updated LHMA, reflecting recent changes to the LHMA methodology.

Policy PS13: Affordable Housing Target

PS13 The Council will seek to deliver at least 1,360 affordable dwellings* through the planning system during the plan period up to 2035 in order to contribute to balanced and sustainable communities

*This target is based on the viability area specific affordable housing targets in the adopted LDP and may be subject to change following the completion of detailed viability work and the outcomes of the candidate site assessment process and the completion of the new LHMA.

7.30 A move towards sustainable modes of transport is essential in tackling the issues of climate change, congestion and air quality issues. In order to maximise these opportunities all development proposals will need to demonstrate that the sustainable transport hierarchy has been adhered to.

Policy PS14: Sustainable Transport Hierarchy

PS14 All proposals must demonstrate that accessibility and movement have been based upon the following sustainable transport hierarchy as a fundamental part of the design of the proposed development:

1 Walking

2 Cycling

3 Sustainable public transport

4 Electric vehicles and ULEVs

5 Other vehicles

7.31 Llwybr Newydd, the new Wales Transport Strategy 2021, sets an ambitious target of 45% of all trips to be made by sustainable modes by 2045. To get anywhere near achieving this modal shift target it is essential that development plans include ambitious policies addressing this issue. Currently, however, there is a lack of readily available information to inform where we are currently and how far we are down the road to modal shift change. Consequently the Preferred Strategy does not include a specific County Borough based target, rather it seeks deliver change in accordance with the national targets.

Policy PS15: Modal Shift

PS15 The Council will encourage and support proposals that will promote modal shift to assist in delivering the Welsh Government target of 45% of trips by sustainable modes by 2040

7.32 Improvements to the transport system, both for sustainable modes and in respect of the existing highway infrastructure, are required in order to enable the Preferred Strategy's proposed levels of growth to be delivered. Whilst the strategy focusses on sustainable transport and seeks to locate development close to transport and service centres, improvements in transport infrastructure will be required to ensure accessibility. In some cases this will include improvements to the existing highway network as sustainable transport uses the highway network as well as dedicated routes for bus and active travel purposes. Consequently the Preferred Strategy seeks to improve transport infrastructure where it will increase accessibility and facilitate sustainable transport.

Policy PS16: Transport Improvement

PS16 The Council will support improvements to the transport network that:

A Improve the South East Wales Metro system;

B Improve accessibility to the Principal and Local Centres and to employment opportunities;

C Improve sustainable transport provision;

D Promote and enable the use of ultra-low emission vehicles through the provision of charging infrastructure;

E Improve the active travel network increasing accessibility in local areas;

F Improve the strategic highway network where proposals will increase accessibility, mitigate against congestion, contribute towards sustainable transport reliability or enhance the resilience of the strategic highway network;

G Improve facilities associated with sustainable transport, including park measures that would increase modal shift;

7.33 As part of actions to improve the transport infrastructure, it is essential the 2RLDP maximises the opportunities to repurpose former rail lines for transport related developments, including developing them for passenger transport purposes. Consequently it is important to protect former rail routes from development that could prejudice their future transport use. In addition to this the Council continues to support the reinstatement of passenger services to 2 of its former rail lines and will seek to promote these through the Metro Plus programme.

Policy PS17: Safeguarding Former Rail Lines

PS17 The routes of former railway lines that have the potential for transport related development will be safeguarded, particularly those that facilitate walking, cycling, rail freight or passenger movements.

7.34 The Council fully supports any proposals the promote the development of the South East Wales Metro. In addition, the Council will also support proposals that make the existing transport network more resilient and more efficient for sustainable transport. It is acknowledged that transport improvements and new transport routes can take a significant period of time to come to fruition and, as such it is essential that the Council protects strategic transport improvement routes from in appropriate development that could prejudice their future use for transport purposes.

Policy PS18: Protecting Strategic Transport Improvement Routes

PS18 The Council will protect the following strategic transport improvement routes from inappropriate development and will support and promote proposals for their implementation:

PS18.1 Cwmbargoed rail line (reinstatement of passenger services)

PS18.2 Caerphilly/Machen/Newport rail line (reinstatement of passenger services)

7.35 The establishment of a road hierarchy will facilitate the efficient use of the highways network by ensuring that traffic is channelled onto the most appropriate routes in order to maintain appropriate environmental, amenity and safety conditions. Maintaining an efficient and safe highway network will assist public transport services in the form of buses, maintaining their frequency and ensuring that they run to schedule.

Policy PS19: Road Hierarchy

PS19 The following road hierarchy is identified to ensure a safe and efficient highway network:

1 The Strategic Highway Network

2 County Routes

3 Distributor Roads

4 Access Roads

7.36 The Preferred Strategy seeks to locate development in close proximity to the main sustainable transport nodes and service centres in the County Borough. Retailing is a fundamental element of the functions that the main service centres perform and as such the retail hierarchy for the County Borough will strongly influence where growth is located in the County Borough. In addition Future Wales identifies that major retail and public sector development should be located within the main centres as the first consideration. Consequently it is important that the retail functions of the main centres are protected from inappropriate development, whilst allowing flexibility in order for the centres to continue to thrive.

Policy PS20: Retailing Hierarchy

PS20 The following hierarchy is identified for the retail centres in the County Borough. Proposals for retailing and significant public sector development should use the retailing hierarchy as the basis for a sequential approach for the location of development:

Principal Centres

  • Bargoed
  • Blackwood
  • Ystrad Mynach
  • Risca/Pontymister
  • Caerphilly

Local Centres

  • Rhymney
  • Nelson
  • Newbridge
  • Bedwas

7.37 It is a requirement that the Council takes account of the needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community in preparing their development plans. The Council is required to prepare a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) which will inform that process. Unfortunately it was not possible to complete the Council's GTAA in time for the Pre-Deposit consultation, so the Preferred Strategy includes a commitment to accommodate gypsy and traveller needs identified through the GTAA.

Policy PS21: Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation

PS18 Land will be made available to accommodate future unmet gypsy and traveller accommodation needs if a need is identified in the updated Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment.

7.38 It is a statutory requirement for the Council to maintain a 10-year land bank of permitted minerals reserves throughout the plan period. To do this the Council will protect existing reserves from inappropriate development and ensure sufficient reserves have been permitted to provide the 25-years' worth of permitted reserves that would ensure the 10-year land bank at the end of the plan period. In addition to this the Council will encourage the use and re-use of secondary aggregates as far as possible.

Policy PS22: Minerals

PS20 The Council will contribute to the regional demand for a continuous supply of minerals by:

A Safeguarding known resources of coal, sand and gravel and hard rock

B Maintaining a minimum 10-year land bank of permitted aggregate reserves throughout the plan period

C Encouraging the efficient and appropriate use of high-quality minerals and maximising the potential for the use of secondary and recycled aggregates as an alternative to primary land won resources.

7.39 The provision for waste management infrastructure is made at a sub-regional level and, as such, the Preferred Strategy does not make provision for waste infrastructure. However, it is important that the Preferred Strategy includes overarching policies that facilitate the delivery of the elements of the hierarchy.

Policy PS23: Sustainable Waste Management

PS21 To facilitate the delivery of sustainable management of waste the Plan will:

A Ensurethatproposalsconformtotheprinciplesofthewastehierarchy supportingthosethatmovewasteupthehierarchy;

B Support an integrated and adequate network of waste management installations that has regard to the nearest appropriate installation concept and self-sufficiency principles where necessary;

C Identify suitable allocated and protected Class B2 industrial sites that areappropriateforin-buildingwastemanagementtreatmentfacilities, subject to detailed planning considerations;

D Support the circular economy by encouraging the minimisation of the production of waste and the use of reused and recycled materials in the design, construction and demolition stages of development; and

E Ensurethatprovisionismadeforthesustainablemanagement, sorting, storageandcollectionofwasteinallnew development.

7.40 The Preferred Strategy Key Diagram is set out below. It should be noted that the Key Diagram is an indicative plan and that it shows the specific allocations set out within the Preferred Strategy in the context of the County Borough. The diagram is not to a specific scale or based upon an OS Map Base. Consequently the allocations identified on it are indicative and do not specific sites or routes.

Figure 5 - Preferred Strategy Key Diagram

Preferred Strategy Key Diagram. Map marked with Administrative boundary, settlement areas, principal centres, local centres, rail stations, bus interchanges, railway lines, strategic highway network, Key Strategic Transport Improvements and Strategic sites.

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