BRIDGEND Council has clarified how it intends to protect open space located at Brackla Hill.
Following the results of a feasibility study which saw the site discounted as a potential location for the site of a new primary school, the ‘Save our Fields’ community group approached the council to ask if the authority would work with the organisation Fields In Trust to legally protect this and other local sites through a deed of dedication.
Responding to the group, Councillor Richard Young, Cabinet Member for Communities, said:
“The council has recently made a commitment to preserve Brackla Hill as a green open space, as it fully recognises the value of open space to the emotional and physical wellbeing of its residents and communities.
“This open space will be afforded protection through the Bridgend Local Development Plan (LDP) as it is the principal strategic land use planning document that guides future development within the county borough.
“It is also the principal consideration in the determination of planning applications, as planning law requires that the planning decisions must take into account the provision of the development plan.
“The Brackla Hill area is already protected in the current LDP and is specifically allocated under Policy COM13 (5) – Provision of Accessible Natural Greenspace as well as a number of other key open spaces within the county borough.
“Any development on these areas of land would potentially depart from the development plan, and as such would be resisted in planning terms.
“The draft replacement LDP is due to be published later this year and will include allocated accessible open space provision based on up-to-date evidence and open space audits.
“The plan will be open for public consultation, and any comments taken into consideration before being scrutinised by an outside Planning Inspector with a view to eventual adoption in 2022.
“The provision and importance of open space within communities is outlined in national planning policy such as Future Wales 2040 and Planning Policy Wales, both of which are material to the emerging plan.
“While understanding the Fields in Trust concept, the council prefers to work in partnership where possible with the town and community councils.
“To protect future use, but also to enhance and invest in the provision of amenities at Brackla Hill, the area could be possibly handed over via a community asset transfer to the local Brackla Community Council.
“As such, the Save Our Fields group may wish to consider approaching the local community council in this regards.”