Bron Afon was promoting Land at Cottage Farm, Llantarnam for residential uses through the Torfaen Replacement Local Development Plan (LDP) process. The site was proposed to be allocated for employment uses within the Torfaen LDP Preferred Strategy.
HJA was instructed by Bron Afon to consider matters relating to employment land in Torfaen to enable understanding of the potential impacts of proposed development on land at Cottage Farm, Llantarnam.
Our first report for Bron Afon provided a review of existing published information to assess the impacts on the Torfaen economy should the Cottage Farm site be developed for residential rather than employment use. In particular, the report considered whether there would be any detrimental impacts on the Torfaen economy as a result of the loss of employment land within the current LDP period, 2006-21.
HJA assessed both supply and demand-side factors of employment land to determine whether a loss of a designated employment site would negatively impact the local economy. The demand for employment land was determined from a review of the 2006 and 2011 employment land studies, the 2006–2021 Local Development Plan and Annual Monitoring Reports 2015–2019. HJA found low take-up of employment land, well below the LDP target, but broadly in line with the minimum target set out in the ELS. The supply of employment land was considered using the LDP 2006-2021 information, Llantarnam Development Framework (2011) and Annual Monitoring Reports (2015-2019).
In comparing supply and demand, HJA found that if the subject site was permitted for residential development, there would remain a minimum of 28.6ha of allocated land that had not been taken up, with a further 35ha on the two regional employment sites allocated within the plan. Further, outline consent remained for c4,000 sqm of office space on an estimated 0.8ha site. On the basis of recent take up of allocated sites from 2013–2019 allocated supply was thus estimated to meet needs for 22 years. HJA concluded that on the basis of recent patterns of take up outlined, there remained ample supply of allocated employment land to meet needs across Torfaen and within the Llantarnam area for the remainder of the LDP period, and likely far beyond. Therefore, the loss of the subject site was assessed not to have any detrimental effect on the potential performance of the local economy.
HJA’s second report reviewed BE Group’s 2020 employment land study to provide a more up-to-date assessment of whether losing the Cottage Farm site for employment uses would have damaging effects for the local economy. Similar to the findings set out in the first report, the analysis found clear evidence of a vast quantitative over-supply of employment sites across Torfaen. Site-specific analysis of the Cottage Farm site also found it not to be suitable for commercial property development and not attractive to occupiers. Based on these findings, HJA concluded there would be no detrimental economic impact on Torfaen if the site was considered for alternative uses.