Edition 10 of Planning Policy Wales has been published, following a year-long consultation, with a simpler set of guidance aimed at making the policy easier to implement, both in its design and content. The new Edition also sites self build and custom build as a viable route to ownership, in line with its central theme of placemaking.
The new policy requests authorities to consider the contribution that all sectors can make to housing delivery, including custom and self build. This includes maintaining of a small-sites register to facilitate this, and also consider the sub-division of large sites, in line with Sir Oliver Letwin’s Review into Build Out Rate findings in England.:
“To assist in broadening the housing delivery options and enable the provision of housing by RSLs, SMEs and the custom and self-build sector, planning authorities should set a locally determined target for the delivery of housing on small sites.”
In addition, Edition 10 advocates authorities considering all relevant policy options for bringing on custom and self build developments, including Local Development Orders and site-specific design codes to simply the planning process and speed up delivery. Both of these were used at Graven Hill, the UK’s largest custom and self build site.
Wales also has a new first minister, Mark Drakeford, appointed in December, who is tasked with taking Wales through the Brexit process, and the associated risk of no deal.
Recently, the Law Commission published a report containing 193 recommendations for Welsh Government to consider to reform planning law. This is in response to planning law in Wales being complicated and difficult to understand due to its piecemeal nature.
The new report was made at the request of Welsh Government to examine the operation of the development management system, and make it more appropriate to the current environment. An interim response to the report is expected in May 2019.