Our local Assembly member Eluned Parrott has recently questioned the so-called ‘master plan’ in the Vale of Glamorgan’s LDP.
ASSEMBLY Member for South Wales Central, Eluned Parrott, has challenged the First Minister to publish his Master Plan for Cardiff Airport, which the Vale of Glamorgan’s Local Development Plan states is being produced by the Welsh Labour Government.
The Local Development Plan (LDP) sets out how land within the Vale of Glamorgan will be used between 2011 and 2026, and allocates significant areas of land in the Rhoose area to developments that form part of a Cardiff Airport Master Plan.
When asked if and when the Airport Master Plan would be published, the First Minister replied that he would liaise with Cardiff Airport’s Board but claimed that it was their plan and not the Welsh Government’s.
Eluned Parrott said: “In the Vale of Glamorgan Local Development Plan, several pieces of land have been allocated for the development of an Airport Master Plan, but no-one seems to know what that plan is, nor who is driving it. The LDP specifically states that the Welsh Government are developing these plans, and yet the First Minister categorically denied it today.
“This is a shambles. If the Vale Council are able to set aside specific parcels of land to deliver the Master Plan, they must at least know in outline form what developments are planned.
“Local residents are now extremely concerned that they can’t effectively respond to the Draft LDP consultation if the information it is based on isn’t in the public domain.
“We need to see the Airport Master Plan before the LDP consultation closes. Local residents deserve the facts, so they’re not left responding in the dark.”
If you’d like to see the relevant sections, the LDP is available as a PDF file from the Vale Council’s website. From pages 70 and 71 of the LDP:
6.62 This site is not allocated to meet local market demand for general industrial or office uses, but rather to accommodate business and employment uses catering specifically for the needs of the aerospace industry and high tech manufacturing. There are plans to create an ‘airport city’, taking the form of a business destination for local and international businesses including quality office accommodation, specialist education, training facilities and leisure developments. […]
6.63. In order to deliver a high quality, comprehensive and sustainable development on this strategically important site, a Masterplan must be produced to include the following elements:
c. The provision of an energy centre, such as a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant, to ensure the development has high sustainable credentials.
Now that the LDP is under consultation, residents of the Vale of Glamorgan may want to have more detail on these proposals – preferably before the deadline for responses which is on 20th December 2013.
What exactly is the airport city? What kind of energy plant are we talking about here?
Who exactly is responsible for the master plan? Is it appropriate that this consultation is taking place while we remain in the dark about the master plan, in effect while the LDP has this huge hole in it?
This part is especially unsettling for Vale residents:
d. Safeguarding of a route for a potential rail link to Cardiff Airport across the site to ensure the development does not compromise future proposals to enhance sustainable access to the airport.
As we’ve shown before, a spur would not be ‘sustainable’ – it would have a detrimental impact on Vale line services. The mass of local opinion against the spur and FOR the Vale line, as evidenced by the 481 signatories to the Stop the Spur – Protect the Vale Line petition, plus the extraordinary costs of such little-needed infrastructure, have been reason enough for the planners to drop the spur entirely from all plans and concentrate on improvements to road networks, and to the bus service to the Airport.
The Airport Express bus service is so much more cost effective and immediate than building a costly railway line – even though initial teething problems including levels of use have needed to be addressed.
Now all it takes is for the airport to get cracking and partner with airlines in order to produce the customer numbers needed to make it viable. The bus service has a relatively modest subsidy cost from the Welsh Government, at ‘only’ £470k compared to a conservative estimate of £15m for a rail spur, not to mention the damage to the commuter services to/from Rhoose and Llantwit Major. At least the Vale line remains intact. If and when we get the half-hourly service it will finally start to be a good commuter service for our communities.