Neath Port Talbot Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) and Candidate Sites Frequently Asked Questions 2023
What is the Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP)?
The Council has a statutory requirement to produce a Local Development Plan (LDP) for the County Borough. The Councils existing LDP sets out the scale and location of development in the county borough over the period of 2011-2026.
The Council’s RLDP will replace the existing LDP. The RLDP will help shape NPT for the next 15 years (2023-2038) ensuring the right development happens in the right place at the right time, benefitting communities and the economy and setting out which areas need to be protected.
Why has the Council re-started the preparation of the RLDP?
As the first stage of preparation of the RLDP, the Council is required to prepare a Delivery Agreement (DA) setting out the timetable, Community Involvement Scheme (CIS) and procedures for plan delivery. Once formally agreed, the DA commits the Council to producing the RLDP in accordance with the timetable and CIS.
Following Welsh Government (WG) approval of the DA on 11th January 2022, NPT Council formally commenced the preparation of the NPT RLDP (2021-2036). In line with the DA, a Call for Candidate Site was held between 1st March 2022 and 31st May 2022. In total 229 sites were submitted.
Preliminary findings from the Call for Sites, alongside information obtained from our AMRs and growth projections, indicated that there is a requirement for additional housing land to be identified in addition to existing infrastructure and viability matters that required additional time to overcome.
Given this, the Council decided to stop the preparation of the RLDP and start again. The Council approved a new DA in October 2023 which was subsequently approved by the WG. The new DA outlines the timeframes for the reparation of the new RLDP which will cover the Plan period of 2023 to 2038, starting with a Call for Sites in November 2023.
What is a Candidate Site?
A Candidate Site is a site submitted to the Council by an interested party (e.g. developer or landowner) for potential inclusion as an allocation in the RLDP.
The site promoter has put forward the site for it to be considered and assessed as to whether it is appropriate to be developed for the suggested use in principle, subject to detail.
The site promoter wants the site to be developed at some point during the Plan period (2023 to 2038).
What is a Candidate Site not?
A Candidate Site is not a planning application. A planning application will still be required to assess the details of the planning proposal even if the proposer is successful in having the piece of land allocated in the RLDP.
What is the Call for Candidate Sites?
The Call for Candidate Sites is the first step in the preparation of the RLDP.
As part of the Call for Candidate Sites, the Council will invite site promoters to submit Candidate Sites for consideration.
The Call for Candidate Sites is an important first step in the Council’s evidence gathering process to inform future drafting of the RLDP.
Site promoters will be required to provide suitable evidence to robustly demonstrate the sustainability, deliverability and financial viability of sites.
When can Candidate Sites be submitted?
Candidate Sites should be submitted to the Council during the Call for Candidate Sites. This will take place noon 6th November to 18th December 2023.
What happens if sites are submitted after this deadline?
Sites which are promoted after this deadline will not be accepted.
Sites can be submitted at the Preferred Strategy and Deposit Plan stages, however, this will likely cost more as sites will need to submit more detailed information. Sites will also need to align with the Preferred Strategy rather than help to influence the Preferred Strategy.
What uses can Candidate Sites be submitted for?
Sites can be submitted for a variety of uses including, but not limited to:
- Community facilities;
- Green Infrastructure;
- Social care;
- Gypsy and travellers pitch provision;
- Renewable Energy;
- Transport Infrastructure;
- Minerals; and
Who can submit a Candidate Site?
Anyone can put forward a piece of land to be considered for inclusion in the RLDP.
Site promoters should however have the landowner’s permission as they will need to demonstrate that the proposal is deliverable.
What do we mean by ‘deliverable’?
Site promoters will need to demonstrate that the site is capable of being delivered.
In order to assess the site for deliverability, consideration will be given to the following. Whether:
- The site is being presented in its entirety;
- The site is in more than one ownership and whether all of the landowners are promoting the site for the type and scale of development envisaged?
- The site is being promoted by the current landowner(s)/ on their behalf. Or whether the site promoter/their client has an option agreement or equivalent to purchase the site from the landowner(s);
- There are any constraints to development such as ransom strips or covenants that are not in the process of being resolved/ removed;
- The site will be brought forward for development within the Plan period;
- Viability information has been provided to accompany the Candidate Site submission); and
- If the site is in public ownership, it has been identified in a published disposal strategy and/or through Council resolution if the land is to be retained/ sold by the Council.
Will existing site allocations automatically be rolled forward?
Site currently allocated for development in the existing LDP which have not been developed will need to be re-promoted and more evidence will be required to demonstrate that the site will be developed over the Plan period.
Will sites promoted March – May 2022 need to be re-promoted?
Sites promoted as part of the March – May 2022 Call for Candidate Sites will not need to be re-promoted as part of this Call for Candidate Sites.
Site promoters can however provide additional information.
There is however no need for site promoters to provide any additional information. Should the Council require any specific additional information, we will be in contact.
What information do I need to submit?
Site promoters will need to submit the following:
- Candidate Sites Submission Form (available on our website npt.gov.uk/cs); and
- OS Map of the
Residential and employment-led sites of 50 or more houses or 1.0ha+ are required to submit:
- A high-level viability appraisal using the Mid and South West Wales Development Viability Model (DVM); and
- An accompanying high level viability statement as part of the CfS.. Site promoters should include the assumptions detailed within the Viability Guidance Document ,or provide supporting evidence to justify alternative values.
Residential and employment sites below the thresholds above will be required to:
- Complete a viability questionnaire as part of the Call for Candidate Sites; and
- Provide further information including a completed DVM and High Level Viability Statement later in the process as part of the Stage 2: Candidate Site Assessment.
Sites being promoted for other uses, should provide:
- A proportionate amount of viability evidence as part of the Call for Sites, taking into consideration the assumptions detailed within the Viablity Guidance Document; and
- A detailed viability appraisal will be required later in the assessment process.
Will all Candidate Sites be developed?
Not all sites promoted will be allocated for development in the final RLDP. The Council will assess the sites submitted taking into consideration identified needs and sustainability considerations, and potentially allocate a number of sites for development.
Sites which are then allocated will only come forward for development if a planning permission is granted and a developer wants to implement the decision.
What information is there available to help be submit a Candidate Site?
Ahead of the Call for Candidate Sites, the Council has put the following documents on its website (www.npt.gov.uk/cs):
- Candidate Sites Assessment Methodology and Guidance Notes;
- Interactive constraints map;
- Candidate Site Submission Form;
- Viability Guidance Notes;
- Viability Questionnaire; and
- High Level Viability Template
I do not have access to the internet, are these documents available in paper form?
The documents are available to view at the following deposit venues:
- Neath Civic Centre, Neath, SA11 3QZ
- Port Talbot Civic Centre, Port Talbot, SA13 1PJ
The documents can also be viewed on publicly available computers in the libraries – please check the following website for information on libraries opening hours.
The documents are also available to purchase from the Council’s Planning Policy team. If you would like to purchase a copy, please:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 01639 686 821
What is the Candidate Sites Assessment Methodology and Guidance Notes?
The document sets out the methodology the Council will use to assess sites and provides background information for the submission of Candidate Sites.
What is the Viability Guidance Notes?
The document provides:
- Background information and evidence to aid the submission of viability appraisals and accompanying high-level viability statements;
- Information on how to obtain a copy of the Development Viability Model (DVM); and
- Fees required for copies of the DVM.
What is the interactive constraints map?
The interactive constraints map provides information on the following fundamental constraints:
- Ramsar (Wetlands of International Importance)
- Special Area of Conservation (SAC);
- Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI);
- National Nature Reserve (NNR);
- Class 1 Agricultural Land Classification (ALC);
- Scheduled Monument (SM);
- Historic Park and Gardens;
- Common land; and
It also includes information on the current LDP policies. These have been included for background reference and they will be removed as the RLDP progresses.
What is the Viability Questionnaire?
The Viability Questionnaire will need to be completed by residential and employment led sites of less than 50 dwellings and less than 1.0ha of employment land.
The Viability Questionnaire includes a series of questions which relate to the assumptions in the Council’s Viability Guidance Note. Site promoters are required to review the assumptions detailed in the Document and determine whether they would be suitable for the type and scale of development envisaged.
What is the High Level Viability Template?
The high level template needs to be completed for sites providing 50 or more residential dwellings or more than 1.0ha of employment land.
The high level template provides guiding questions which are needed to be completed. Additional supporting evidence should be provided where relevant.
What is the Development Viability Model (DVM)?
The DVM is a regional viability appraisal tool. It is essentially a site-specific spreadsheet to detail anticipated costs and profit.
Site promoters of sites providing 50 or more residential units or 1.0+ha if employment land will be required to submit a completed DVM.
To obtain a copy of the DVM the site promoter will need to email the Planning Policy Team on email@example.com providing the telephone number of a person the Council can ring to take payment for the DVM.
The Council will charge £50 for an initial site-specific copy of the DVM (each site is required to submit a separate site-specific DVM).
The Council will issue the site promoter with:
- A copy of the site-specific DVM; and
- Instructions on how to use the DVM.
What happens if my Candidate Site submission is incomplete?
Site promoters will have a responsibility to ensure that the information they submitted is comprehensively and accurately completed as sites which are not will likely be filtered out.
Will the information I submit remain confidential?
No, whilst the Council may or may not choose to make all information submitted available (depending on the nature of the information/ its relevance etc.).
All information submitted will be subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) and/ or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests.
Will Viability Information Submitted Remain Confidential?
Following discussions with the Council’s Legal Team and the development industry, in accordance with national planning guidance (Development Plans Manual, Edition 3, 2020, Paragraph 5.95), the Council will apply an ‘open book’ approach to viability information submitted to ensure transparency of evidence.
How much does it cost to submit a Candidate Site?
Whilst it does not cost anything to promote a Candidate Site as part of the Call for Candidate Sites, residential and employment-led sites of 50 or more residential units or 1.0+ha of employment accommodation will need to purchase a copy of the DVM (See above).
Whilst not required as part of the Call for Sites, site promoters of residential and employment sites below 50 residential units and 1.0ha of employment land should be aware that if their sites are successfully filtered they will need to purchase a copy of the DVM/
As sites progress through the process, site promoters will need to provide more detailed information and supporting evidence and may wish to engage the services of a planning consultant.
Why do I need to provide all of the information on the Candidate Sites Submission Form?
Site promoters need to provide all of the information on the Candidate Sites Submission Form to help the Council assess whether the site is:
- In a sustainable location (can be freed from all constraints, near to existing services etc.);
- Capable of being delivered; and
- Is viable.
Can existing planning permissions be submitted as a Candidate Site?
Yes. Existing planning applications can be submitted as Candidate Sites.
What happens following the Call for Candidate Sites?
The Candidate Sites Assessment Methodology and Guidance Notes outlines the following step-by-step approach and timeframes:
Following the Call for Candidate Sites, the Council will undertake an initial filter of sites. Sites will be filtered according to:
- Their size;
- Whether they are within any of the fundamental constraints identified above; and
- Their deliverability.
The Council will then write to site promoters of successfully filtered sites and ask them to provide additional information. This will be done on a site-by-site specific basis.
Candidate Sites Register
Following the close of the Call for Sites, the Council will prepare a Candidate Sites Register. The Candidate Sites Register is a list of all sites submitted to the Council during the Call for Candidate Sites. The Candidate Sites Register will be available for public consultation as part of the Preferred Strategy Consultation.
If a site is included on the Candidate Sites Register it does not mean that it is suitable for development. The inclusion of a site on the Candidate Sites Register does not imply a commitment to its suitability for inclusion within the RLDP.
Who do I contact if I have queries about the RLDP or Call for Candidate Sites?
Please contact the Planning Policy team at Neath Port Talbot Council on the following contact details:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 01639 686 821
How can I be kept informed about the RLDP?
If you would like to be kept informed about the RLDP, you can be added to our consultation database so that we will keep you informed of developments on the RLDP.
If you want to be added to our database you will need to tell us in writing and provide us with your contact details, name and address and if applicable email address. It would also be helpful if you could tell us your language preference (i.e. whether you want correspondence in English or Welsh).
Please write to:
- Post: Mr Ceri Morris, Head of Planning and Public Protection, Neath Port Talbot Council, The Quays, Brunel Way, Baglan Energy Park, Neath. SA11 2GG.
- Email: email@example.com