New guidance for development in the National Park

Earlier today (Friday 27th March) Members of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority were presented with seven Supplementary Planning Guidance notes intended to ensure that future developments relating to protecting Dark Skies, enabling glamping and appropriate development in the countryside enhance and protect the rich character of the National Park.  Members accepted all the guidance notes which they hope will make a positive contribution to the planning process, bar one element relating to barn conversions which was deferred to allow Members more time to explore the guidance in detail.

Today at a Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Committee meeting, Members deferred the ‘Conversion of farm and other buildings to dwellings’ element of the Supplementary Planning Guidance entitled ‘Enabling appropriate development in the open countryside’ until a later date, but approved the rest of guidance notes relating to a wide range of planning issues including:

  • Obtrusive Lighting
  • Low Impact Tourism Accommodation
  • Biodiversity in the Towns of the National Park
  • Minerals Safeguarding
  • Farm Diversification
  • Sustainable Development in the National Parks of Wales

‘Enabling appropriate development in the countryside’ was made up of four elements including ‘replacement dwellings’, ‘extension to dwellings’, ‘reinstatement of former dwellings’ and the ‘conversion of farm and other buildings into dwellings’.  Members approved the first three elements, however they felt that ‘conversion of farm and other buildings into dwellings’ needed more debate.  The committee heard from four members of the public who were concerned about the proposals being put forward in the guidance and considered the written responses from members of the public received during the consultation.  Authority Members decided to defer their decision to allow time for debate and consideration of the detail and impact of this guidance.  The consultation on this particular guidance note has drawn concerns particularly in relation to the sum being requested for affordable housing from developing barns to become residential properties.

Cllr Geraint Hopkins, Chairman of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority commented:  “I am pleased that we have been able to respond to the issues raised by not only our Members but also the speakers at today’s meeting and those that have expressed their views to us.   As Members, we always try to balance the needs of people who live, work and visit the Park while working within the confines of Welsh Government Policy and those policies outlined in our adopted Local Development Plan.  I think today’s decision to allow Members more time to discuss the full implications of rural barn conversions was a wise one and it shows that we are a listening and progressive Authority.”

Supplementary Planning Guidance provides supporting information and advice on the policies contained within the adopted Local Development Plan (December 2013).   Essentially, they are designed to help anyone thinking about applying for a development in the National Park to know exactly what they would have to do to get approval for their application.  Whilst in its draft formats, the guidance notes were widely consulted upon – being issued to 47 community councils across the Park and over 1000 individuals and organisations on our consultation database.  With 519 planning applications submitted in 2014 (of which 91% were approved), Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority’s Supplementary Planning Guidance Notes aim to ensure that the National Park can continue to grow sustainably without losing its distinctive and much-loved rural character.