Members of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority have given the green light for consultation period of new Interim Supplementary Planning Guidance relating to the National Park’s Retail Cores (Local Development Plan Policy 42, Development in Retail Centres, criterion C).
The draft interim guidance is a direct response to the current pandemic which has caused a devastating effect to the retail industry.
Welsh Government recognises the need for the planning system to respond to the situation by ensuring that retail and commercial centres can operate as flexibly as possible. This Interim Supplementary Planning Guidance seeks to assist flexibility of applications of the retail policy within the 4 identified retail centres in the Brecon Beacons National Park (Brecon, Hay-on-Wye, Talgarth and Crickhowell).
This new interim guidance would support applicants to temporarily change the use of an A1 premises for an alternative retail use, excluding residential dwelling use, for a period of up to 12 months without the need to demonstrate a lack of retail market demand for the unit. The extensive marketing currently required could be perceived as a barrier to more temporary forms of retailing such a ‘pop ups’ which is supported and endorsed by Welsh Government within their Technical Advice Note 4.
Should the applicant wish to permanently change the use from A1, then a robust marketing exercise is still required to demonstrate that the retail market has been tested through a period of marketing, however the interim Supplementary Planning Guidance proposes to reduce the length of such marketing from 12 months currently required to 3 months. In addition to this, the interim Supplementary Planning Guidance permits the applicant to undertake this marketing exercise within the 12 months period of grace enabled for ‘temporary changes’.
Gareth Ratcliffe, Chair, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said “This is a great opportunity through COVID-19 to move ahead with this policy. This interim guidance seeks to ensure that the National Park Authority have a continued ‘retail first’ approach within our historic market towns. Supported by Welsh Government this gives the Authority and our communities the flexibility required to sustain the buoyancy and vibrancy of our towns and their retail cores at this difficult time”
The consultation is open until Thursday 15th April 2021.
The full consultation document can be found on our website here – www.beacons-npa.gov.uk/planning/draft-strategy-and-policy/consultations/
We encourage you to send any comments you may have to us via this email address LDP@beacons-npa.gov.uk