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HOW the city should be shaped in future is the main question asked as Cardiff begins the long journey of replacing its local development plan.

People who live and work in the city, as well as landowners and developers, are asked for their views on how land in Cardiff should be used up until 2036.

Cardiff’s current local development plan (LDP) is gradually becoming out of date, and work is beginning on Friday, May 28 to replace it.

The key council document will guide how the city grows over the next decade, such as where and how many houses will be built.

Councillor Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said: “Cardiff is a vibrant, exciting and growing city, which has witnessed some incredible changes over the past 25 years and is on its way to becoming a thriving European capital.

“Now, facing the twin challenges of the climate emergency and the post-pandemic recovery, we are at a crucial point in our city’s development. The decisions we take now will shape the city we become.”

Protesters gathered outside City Hall in 2014 when councillors voted to approve the current LDP. According to this plan, Cardiff needed 41,100 new homes up until 2026, meaning thousands of houses were given planning permission on countryside surrounding the city.

The reason so many new homes were needed was partly because the population of Cardiff was expected to grow rapidly. However, Welsh Government forecasts recently revised this figure and now the city is expected to grow by less than a quarter of previous predictions Also, Cardiff didn’t have an LDP then, so fewer permissions for homes were in the ‘bank’.

Now that the population is set to grow more slowly, and with thousands of homes being built or permitted to be built, the replacement LDP is expected to say Cardiff needs far fewer homes than last time. This could reduce the need to build on farmland on the city’s outskirts.

As well as catering for a changing population, the replacement LDP will look at how best Cardiff can respond to challenges like climate change and how the local economy can recover as the coronavirus pandemic eventually ends.

Cllr Wild said: “We want our residents to help us design the Cardiff of the future: a sustainable city which will play its part in tackling the climate emergency, a city that will continue to fuel the Welsh economy in a post-Covid world, and a city where people can live healthy, happy and fulfilling lives in a clean and affordable environment.

“So today we are starting to refresh how we plan for the future of our city, and consider what sort of policies we can put in place to shape existing areas and manage future growth in a sustainable way. If you don’t like a policy — this is where it can be changed. This replacement LDP will shape the look and feel of the city up until 2036, so it is vitally important that Cardiff residents get involved.

“We are committed to an extensive open and honest conversation with everyone who engages in this process about the future of our city, in particular the choices that must be balanced in terms of the social, economic, environmental and cultural issues which will undoubtedly shape the plan.”

The new LDP will aim to guide how the city can accommodate new homes, jobs and infrastructure; and become a more sustainable and healthy city, which is easier to walk or cycle around. The plan will also aim to recover the local economy including in the city centre and the Bay after the pandemic, and protect biodiversity and historic and cultural heritage.

An online survey is seeking to weigh up how important these goals are for the public, and what the priorities should be for the city. All the details of the consultation, which starts on Friday, May 28, can be found on the website www.cardiffldp.gov.uk including a link to the online survey.

There is a big push within the council to make the replacement LDP more user-friendly, accessible and interesting, especially for younger people who tend to respond less to the public consultations about the plan. A long Twitter thread on Thursday, May 27, explained the planning system in an easy-to-understand way, albeit with some cheesy jokes and gifs.

The eight-week consultation will look at the main issues and objectives of the new plan. Landowners and developers are also being called to suggest candidate sites that could be included in the new LDP. A third consultation also launching on Friday explores the equality and environmental impacts of the new LDP, as well as its impact on the Welsh language.

Then follows three later stages of consultation. Next winter a 10-week consultation will look at ‘strategic options’, responses to which will feed into the draft LDP. That will be followed in autumn in 2022 by an eight-week consultation on the draft plan. The final draft will then be consulted on again, before being approved by the Welsh Government planning inspectors.

The final plan is expected to be approved in October 2024.

Cllr Wild said: “Preparing the new LDP will involve making choices, so we can prioritise what is important for our residents; but it is important for everyone to understand that this process will always involve a degree of compromise.

“The city’s current LDP had to respond to an extremely limited local housing supply which meant it needed to bring forward a high number of new homes to meet the city’s needs. Without this housebuilding, and associated affordable and social housing, our housing crisis would be far worse, with even more people unable to afford to buy or rent a home.

“As these homes are now being built, we expect our new LDP to have a different starting point, with a stronger housing supply in place at the outset. But it will have to respond to new challenges that we face, such as tackling the climate emergency, poor air quality, maximising the wellbeing of future generations and responding to the issues raised by the ongoing pandemic.”

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